Russell & Hill, PLLC

As the surviving relative, you often feel like you should take action to provide accountability for such a grievance, and you’re sure that your loved one would champion an effort to establish justice were your circumstances reversed. However, the question remains – what do you do?

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

At Russell & Hill, PLLC, we have our clients’ best interests in mind. We work to keep you informed, handle your case with care, be respectful and understanding of the emotional aspects of your situation, and relieve you of as much work as possible throughout the process. In a wrongful death situation, it’s highly recommended and extremely beneficial to have professional, understanding legal representation.

A wrongful death claim is placed against a party that is liable for an individual’s death. Immediate family or relatives of the deceased individual’s estate bring the claim as a civil action against the individual or party responsible for the accident. As the cause of death and other variables of the accident are considered, you will find it invaluable to have a skilled attorney by your side to represent your loved one during the legal proceedings that follow the filing of a wrongful death personal injury claim.

What Happens When You File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If the accident wasn’t the individual’s fault, but rather was a result of another party’s negligence, then, by law, the at-fault party is liable to compensate the family of the deceased with monetary compensation. These damages are meant to equitably compensate the person’s family for the life that was lost and any expenses that were incurred as a result.

When filing for a wrongful death personal injury claim, we’re asking the at-fault party to compensate the deceased individual’s family for the ‘pecuniary’ (or financial injury) that resulted from that person’s death. These pecuniary damages may include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering compensation
  • Lost future earnings
  • Loss of life’s enjoyment
  • Punitive damages
  • Funeral and burial expenses

There are also non-economic damages that may be awarded as well.

Your wrongful death attorney can help you formulate a substantiated and persuasive claim and hold the at-fault party accountable for the compensation that you’re due. Together, you and your attorney can pursue justice for the life that was lost.

Who Can Claim Damages as a Beneficiary?

In the state of Washington, there is a general wrongful death statute that governs the actions that the deceased individual’s surviving family or relatives may take. Essentially, the surviving relatives (also called, “statutory beneficiaries”) are petitioning for recompense for their loved one’s death, in the same way that the individual would have done had they survived the incident.

First Tier Beneficiaries

Washington also has a ‘two-tiered’ system for beneficiaries hoping to be compensated following a wrongful death. Included in the first tier is the deceased individual’s immediate family members, which includes their:

  • Spouse
  • Registered domestic partner
  • Children

The spouse must be legally married to the individual at the time of their death, and a domestic partner must also be legally recognized as such.

Even if both first-tier and second-tier beneficiaries exist, the first-tier beneficiaries are the only party that benefit from the deceased individual’s estate.

Second Tier Beneficiaries

If there are no first-tier beneficiaries, the rights to compensation move to the second tier, which include surviving parents or siblings. However, in order for the parents and siblings to be qualified to receive compensation as a result of their family member’s death, they must have been financially dependent upon the deceased individual at the point of their accident.

This means that if the individual was single, childless, and supporting no family members financially at the time of their death, then any surviving relative will be unable to recover compensation in the case of the individual’s wrongful death.


There are several ways a person may lose their life because someone else was negligent. Examples include (but aren’t necessarily limited to) the following:

Those are just a few examples. If you’re not sure you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim in Everett based on the nature of your loved one’s passing, review your case with an attorney to learn more about your legal options. We’ll offer compassionate guidance as you struggle to navigate the claims process in the aftermath of a loved one’s untimely passing.


Coping with the passing of a loved one who would still be alive were it not for the negligence or actions of another party can be a very challenging experience. While no one can bring your loved one back, a qualified lawyer with experience representing clients like yourself could help you pursue compensation you may deserve.

Allowing a legal professional to handle your case gives you more time to devote to the emotional needs of yourself and your family during what is likely a very painful period in your life. It can also improve your chances of receiving a proper settlement or being awarded damages in court.

Specific ways in which an Everett wrongful death claims attorney can assist you include the following:

  • Conducting an investigation: You must first determine whose negligence caused your loved one’s death before you can file a wrongful death claim in Washington State. You must also gather sufficient evidence showing your loved one died as a result of their negligence. This may require investigating the circumstances of their death. Our Everett wrongful death claims law firm has the resources and experienced professionals necessary to conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf.
  • Calculating damages: When you seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim with an insurance company, be aware that the insurer’s main goal may be to settle your case for less compensation than you deserve. Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses, and like all businesses, they strive to minimize financial losses. Thus, an insurer won’t tell you how much compensation your claim may be worth. You’ll therefore benefit from having representation from an attorney who can estimate the potential value of your claim by reviewing and accounting for your various compensable losses/damages.
  • Handling correspondence with the insurance company: Corresponding with insurance adjusters and negotiating for a fair settlement can take substantial time in these circumstances. Again, you should be prioritizing your emotional recovery right now. That’s easier to do when an experienced wrongful death claims lawyer in Everett is handling all correspondence with the insurance company for you. You can always reach out to us directly whenever you need an update on the status of your case.

Contact Us

We want to help you receive the compensation that you’re due for the death of your loved one. Our qualified attorneys have a lot of experience in wrongful death cases and are more than capable of helping you through your situation. Our initial, no-obligation consultations are absolutely free, and you can schedule one today.

For more information about how a personal injury attorney can assist you with filing and settling a wrongful death claim, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Wrongful death is the most devastating of all personal injury cases. To be suffering the loss of a loved one as a result of an accident or other negligence is an extremely difficult circumstance. There are no words to describe the heartbreak that follows the loss of a loved one, especially if it comes to light that the death could have been avoided.

Date published: 2024-04-17
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Highly recommend this law firm Brandon and Annie are very knowledgeable and treat you like family they had my best interest in mind and made it totally worth it. Thank you Brandon and Annie for everything I will recommend you to everyone.

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