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A wrongful death case is a type of personal injury case. The only big thing that makes a wrongful death case different from your typical personal injury case is that the injured party has passed away due to their injuries. This means it is up to one of their loved ones or estate to pursue a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf or rather a wrongful death lawsuit.

There are many types of wrongful death cases, as many as there are types of personal injury law. We’re going to be looking at most of them today. We’ll be starting by looking at accidents, especially auto accidents, which are fairly common. From there we’ll move into defective products. Finally, we’ll briefly cast a wide net to look at some of the types of wrongful death cases that we’ve otherwise missed.

Even smaller auto accidents have potential to become wrongful death claims.

What Are the Different Types of Wrongful Death Accidents?

Accidents are all too common. Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, plane accidents, boat accidents, scooter accidents, pedestrian accidents, and train accidents, all of these can lead to wrongful death should the accident itself be found to be caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness.

Any time somebody gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, they owe it to those around them to follow the rules regulating that vehicle and to pay attention to what is happening around them to minimize any potential harm. When an individual fails to live up to this expectation of them, they breach their duty of care. Any accident that arises is their fault by virtue of their failure.

Proving this linkage to the court can be moderately difficult, but by working with a wrongful death attorney on the matter ahead of time you can put together a strong case.

How Can Defective Products Lead to Wrongful Death?

A defective product is typically just a bummer. You spent a bit of money on something that you thought would be neat but it didn’t work out. But in some cases, a defective product can cause injuries and these can be severe enough to lead to death and following that, a wrongful death claim.

There are three ways in which a product could be said to be defective. It could be that the product is mislabeled. For example, a poisonous product may not have any warnings and so the owner didn’t feel they needed to hide it from their infant. The failure to warn led to the owner’s failure to hide the product from the child’s inquisitiveness and thereby a wrongful death occurred.

Another way a product can be defective is if there is a problem during the manufacturing of it. Say you were purchasing a railing for a staircase. It was supposed to be able to withstand up to 350lbs of pressure. But during the manufacturing of the railing, they ran out of materials and so they made the last few in the batch by doubling up the thickness of a weaker material.

Should somebody be injured due to that railing break at under 350lbs then that would be a case of a defective product due to manufacturing, and the company behind the railing could find themselves going against a personal injury claim.

These products could be the cause of wrongful death lawsuits.

The final way is through the design. There was a theme park that opened up and quickly noticed that people were coming out of their slide with cuts. It was only after it was built and opened to the public that they realized the design of the slide made it impossible not to get injured when going through. If a product is poorly designed and released to the public, and that product causes a wrongful death, then there is absolutely grounds to make sure that those effected receive financial compensation and those responsible pay for what they’ve done.

What Other Types of Wrongful Death Cases Are There?

Medical malpractice can easily lead to wrongful death. Any time you trust your health in the hands of a medical professional, you are risking malpractice. 90% of the time, people are fine. But that 10% of the time that medical malpractice occurs can lead to serious, life-long medical issues or death.

Workplace injuries tend to be quite severe or fatal, simply because if a workplace is prone to injury then chances are it’s going to be serious injuries. Construction sites especially can be deadly. There are any number of ways that an individual can be injured at their workplace but when that injury results in death it is only right that the workplace pay should it be their fault.

Dog bites can lead to death. The physical injuries themselves very well can but the infections that come from dog bites can be particularly rough. Dogs are only allowed to bite people in very specific situations, otherwise the consequences are the responsibility of their owners. Should an unlawful dog bite lead to death then you could file a wrongful death case against the dog’s owner.

Premises liability cases, like slip and fall accidents, are another type of wrongful death case. These are predicated on the fact that the accident occurred on another’s property and it was a failure to warn about hazards or upkeep the property that caused the accident. The surviving family members of the deceased person in these cases should look to file a wrongful death suit immediately.

Is an Attorney Necessary for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

You don’t technically need to hire an attorney to file a wrongful death lawsuit. But you absolutely should be working with one if you want the best possible chance at winning the case and receiving a wrongful death settlement. While you can research it on your own, wrongful death statute information is best discussed with an experienced attorney. You are going to be going into a courtroom to argue that another person is responsible for the death of your loved one. That’s an emotional experience you’re having but consider the opposition. Investing the time and money for a wrongful death lawyer can save you a lot unnecessary stress experienced during the lawsuit.

They don’t want to admit to being responsible for a death, both because that is heavy to weigh on a person’s shoulders and because it means they’re going to owe a lot of money. So they’re going to fight with everything they’ve got and hire an attorney of their own.

Consult with an attorney to find if there are grounds for a wrongful death action.

The best way to win a case is to hire an attorney, a possible option would be working with a Yakima personal injury attorney. In the case of wrongful death suits, it's important to work with them from the beginning to build a solid case, and stay on the same footing as each other. Then trust in them once you hit the courtroom. You still might not win but your chances are much, much greater than if you represented yourself throughout the wrongful death lawsuit.

When you are involved in a car accident in Washington State, you need to call the police right away. The best way to do that is by calling 911. Once the police arrive, they will investigate the situation and try to figure out exactly what happened. This includes figuring out who was at fault in the motor vehicle collision and what, if any, violations of traffic laws occurred.

Picture of emergency vehicles on their way to a collision

These violations could include running a red light or a stop sign, driving on the wrong side of the road, or texting while driving, among other things. If any violation or crime occurred, that information will be included in the collision report, along with the name of the driver who violated any traffic laws.

This document will also include the layout of the accident scene, visibility and road conditions, and what vehicles were involved in the accident and their condition. They will also talk to any and all witnesses at the scene and get their statements and contact information.

In addition, they’ll take notes on injuries that may have occurred as well as any damage to the vehicles. If other cars, buildings, or other things have been damaged, such as mailboxes, traffic signs and so on, that will also be included in the report, along with a diagram of the site of the accident.

Of course, they will gather personal information of the involved parties, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.

Moreover, the police will ask the drivers for a statement on how the incident occurred from their perspective. Be very careful what you say, and under no circumstances admit any kind of fault when you describe the facts of the accident.

Before the officers leave, be sure to ask them for the incident report number. You can also request a phone number to get the report number or to follow up about the incident later, once it has been submitted.

Filing Your Own Police Report

What should you do if the police don’t arrive after you have called 911? You can do the next best thing and file your own police report.

In addition to gathering the above-mentioned information, you should also take pictures of the scene of the accident, any damage to the cars from different angles, and any injuries that can be seen.

Make sure you do not exaggerate any of the details of the accident when submitting your report: filing a false police report can have serious consequences!

False police report

Also use your cell phone camera to record witness statements as well as the other party’s admissions of having been at fault, with their permission and if you can get them. Furthermore, if you can, ask them to sign a statement where they admit their fault and/or provide any further information that could be helpful for your insurance claim.

Do You Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

In case you wonder whether you really have to file a police report if the police don’t show up, the answer is yes, provided there is at least $1,000 in lost property damage. Washington state law requires that you do so unless an officer at the scene files a Police Traffic Collision Report.

When it comes to the amount of property damage, keep in mind that car repairs are always far more expensive than you would expect, so be sure to err on the safe side when you decide whether to file a report.

You should always call the police if there has been an injury of any kind or even a death. If you don’t, you could risk having your license suspended, fines, or even jail time.

How to Get Your Washington State Patrol Collision Report

After your Washington State Patrol Collision Report has been filed, you can get a copy of it for your files and your lawyer. There are two ways to get it, online and by mail, and it is very easy. There is currently no option for obtaining this via another method (text message, etc.)

Note that it may take from 2 to 4 weeks until the document is actually available to be requested, but once it is available, it will be ready in minutes when you request it. Of course, you can also contact the police station that is in charge of the accident investigation.

Get Your Police Reports Filed Online

Washington state also allows citizens to file a police report online. If you're interested in online reporting, just go to the Washington State Patrol website to submit your online police report. Make sure you use the official website when submitting your report, as scams and identity theft are common online.

Crime reports can be submitted online.

All you need is a computer, internet access, and an email account. You can request your online report by providing the first and last name of the person involved in the accident as well as the date of the accident. If you have the collision report number, you can also provide that number in your search.

Once the document appears, you can add it to your cart. You will also be asked about how you were involved in the accident. After that, you get to the checkout and payment page. The report costs $10.50.

Get Your Report by Mail

You can also get your collision report by mail. Here is the link for the required form:

Fill in the form completely, including the collision information and your role in the accident. Then include a check or money order for the $10.50 fee and mail it to the address shown on the form. The form also includes a phone number and an email address, in case you have questions.

Talk to an Automobile Accident Attorney

As soon as possible after your accident, contact an experienced automobile accident attorney to get help with getting compensated for your injuries and other losses. Call us or send us an email to schedule a free case evaluation. We’ll be happy to talk with you.

If you suffer an injury in a slip-and-fall incident on another individual’s property, what are your legal rights? If a property owner’s negligence is the reason you suffered an injury, reach out to a Yakima slip-and-fall accident attorney to learn about your right to compensation.

What will you have to prove after slipping, falling, and sustaining an injury in order to prevail with a premises liability claim and recover monetary compensation?

This short introduction to slips and falls in Washington State will answer that question, but because each case is unique, if you are injured by slipping and falling on private property in the Yakima area, you’ll need personalized advice from a Yakima slip-and-fall accident lawyer.

Slips and Falls – What Are the Facts?

Thousands of people are injured every year, often catastrophically, in slip- or trip-and-fall incidents. Slips and falls, for example, cause more than four out of ten spinal cord injuries in this nation. Slips and falls are also the cause of neck, back, and potentially traumatic brain injuries along with other serious injuries.

A build up of ice on private property can show a lack of reasonable precaution by the owner.

If you’re injured in a slip- or trip-and-fall accident in or near the Yakima area because the owner of a property has been negligent, you will be entitled under Washington State law to monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, personal pain, suffering, and related losses.

However, prevailing with an injury claim against the owner of a property isn’t easy, even when you’ve been seriously hurt. Property owners aren’t liable for every accident that happens on their premises. Everyone has an obligation to stay aware of our surroundings and to stay alert.

How Do You Build a Negligence Case Against a Property Owner?

Nevertheless, a premises liability lawsuit that arises from a slip- or trip-and-fall injury will claim that an injury and accident wouldn’t have occurred if the owner of the property had met his or her responsibility to maintain the property in a safe condition.

State law in Washington obligates property owners to take “reasonable” steps to keep their premises free of dangers and hazards. Lawmakers attempt to balance the obligation of a visitor to be aware and alert with an owner’s obligation to keep a property reasonably safe.

To recover compensation from fall accidents occurring on someone else's property, an injury victim – “the plaintiff” – must demonstrate that at least one of these situations was in existence when the injury and accident happened:

  •  A “reasonable” property owner or manager would have been aware of the dangerous situation and would have repaired it.

  •  The property owner or manager was in fact aware of the dangerous condition and neglected to have it repaired.

  •  The property owner or manager caused the dangerous condition.

What Issues Are Considered in Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits?

Most slip- or trip-and-fall claims deal with what a property owner “should” have been aware of and with what property repairs were or weren’t made.

Typically, the important questions in slip- or trip-and-fall cases are:

  •  For how long was the danger present before the injury took place?

  •  Did the property owner have a reasonable period of time to make the repair?

It may take a few days, for example, before a sidewalk crack or a plumbing leak can be fixed. Until that can happen, a property owner should put warning signs in place or find an alternative way to tell visitors about the danger.

If You’re Injured By Slipping and Falling

Seek medical attention at once if you’re injured by slipping or tripping and falling. Have a medical exam immediately, even if you feel fine, for a latent or hard-to-detect injury. You’ll also need the exam results as evidence if you file a premises liability lawsuit.

In the Yakima area, if you’re injured by slipping and falling on another person’s private property, after your medical exam and/or treatment, contact a Yakima slip-and-fall accident lawyer as quickly as possible, they are well versed in handling personal injury cases such as these.

Your attorney will work to help you acquire compensation for a slip- or trip-and-fall injury that happened:

  •  at a store, restaurant, hotel, or amusement park

  •  at someone else’s home

  •  because of inadequate lighting in a staircase, parking lot, or parking garage

  •  because of an uneven or cracked sidewalk or an inadequately-paved parking lot

  •  because of broken or substandard staircases or balcony railings

How Does a Property Owner Fight an Injury Claim?

If you are injured in the State of Washington in a slip-and-fall accident because of a property owner’s negligence, and should you bring a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injury, the owner of the property may attempt to shift any blame for the incident to you.

The arguments that a property owner may offer in his or her defense in a slip-and-fall case include but are not limited to:

  •  The plaintiff wasn’t paying enough attention to the situation and the surroundings.

  •  The plaintiff was injured in a restricted location or in a no trespassing zone.

  •  The plaintiff was without shoes or wore unsafe footwear.

  •  Signs and yellow warning cones were put in place to inform visitors of the danger.

  •  An average, reasonable individual would have recognized and avoided the danger.

Speak with your attorney about your options concerning personal injury claims
Speak with your attorney about your options concerning personal injury claims

How Are Premises Liability Lawsuits Settled?

Your Yakima slip-and-fall accident attorney will negotiate out-of-court with the property owner’s lawyer and insurance company. If a speedy settlement is offered, consider getting legal advice. Your attorney can usually negotiate a more generous settlement on your behalf.

Most slip-and-fall cases – about ninety percent – are resolved in out-of-court settlements when the lawyers for each side negotiate an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties. In most slip-and-fall cases, the injury victim does not even have to make a court appearance.

If your injury claim is challenged, however, or if no acceptable settlement offer is made, your attorney can take the personal injury case to court and explain to the jurors how you were injured and the extent of your injuries. Your attorney may then ask jurors to order the payment of your compensation. Compensation that will help with the resulting medical bills from your injury.

What Should You Remember About Slip-and-Fall Injuries?

You must act within three years of a slip-and-fall injury or you won’t be allowed to bring a claim under Washington State’s statute of limitations, but you can’t wait three years to contact a Yakima premises liability lawyer. Make the call as soon as you’ve been examined and/or treated.

Evidence deteriorates – or disappears – and the memories of witnesses fade over time. Your attorney should review any evidence while it’s still fresh and question the witnesses before their recollections fade.

If you are injured in a slip-and-fall incident, the physical, emotional, and financial challenges may seem overwhelming, but a Yakima slip-and-fall lawyer will protect your rights, walk you through the process, and advocate aggressively for the compensation you need and deserve. So reach out, there's no reason to let potential claims from fall accidents slip by.

Premises liability lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, so your first consultation is offered without cost or obligation, and you’ll pay no attorney’s fee unless and until your attorney recovers your compensation.

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