Request Free Assessment

How Are Wrongful Death Lawsuits Paid Out?

  1. Who Receives Money From a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
  2. Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
  3. What Damages Are Included in a Wrongful Death Settlement?
  4. What Is a Wrongful Death?
  5. Building a Compelling Wrongful Death Case With Help From Our Team
  6. Discuss Your Wrongful Death Case With Our Team Today for Free

Generally, wrongful death lawsuits are paid out by the at-fault party’s insurance company. Occasionally, the liable party pays this money out of pocket, although this is rare. A wrongful death payout can come as a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement. A structured settlement pays compensation over a certain period, while with a lump-sum settlement, you get compensation all at once. 

The wrongful death lawyers from Herschensohn Law help grieving families better understand their options and how these cases work. If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence in Washington State, call (206) 588-4344 for a free consultation with our team. 

Who Receives Money From a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death lawsuits are paid according to state law. Generally, the proceeds go to the immediate family. They are usually the ones who endure the most financial distress because of the death and loss of the decedent’s income. They could include: 

  • A surviving spouse
  • A surviving spouse and minor children
  • Minor and/or adult children
  • Parents of the deceased person (if there isn’t a spouse or children)

When there is no immediate family, the money could go to the estate to be distributed according to the victim’s will or other estate documents. This could mean the money would go to siblings, grandparents, or friends. 

In some cases, others experienced expenses or losses because of the death. When this occurs, some money could go to the estate to compensate these individuals. For example, imagine the grandparents paid the end-of-life medical expenses for the victim. They should be reimbursed for the money spent, and a lawyer could explain their options. 

Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Washington State, RCW 4.20.010 notes that only a personal representative of the decedent’s estate can pursue damages via a wrongful death claim. But what is a personal representative? 

The personal representative is generally the executor of the will or administrator of the estate. If there is not one, the court will name one during the probate process. In many cases, the personal representative is an immediate family member and one of the parties likely to receive money from the claim or lawsuit. 

However, this is not always true. Exceptions exist and could make a difference in your case. Our attorneys help families identify who can file the lawsuit and represent them accordingly. 

People we’ve helped

What Damages Are Included in a Wrongful Death Settlement?

The damages in a wrongful death lawsuit depend greatly on the recoverable damages. Most damages in these cases are economic, although some non-economic losses are recoverable under certain circumstances. 

Based on your circumstances (including where you live), the recoverable damages in a wrongful death settlement could comprise:  

  • Loss of income
  • Loss of household services
  • Medical expenses and related costs
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Mental anguish 

Often, the law allows families to recover non-economic damages for any conscious, pre-death pain and suffering their loved one endured. This could be possible if your loved one survived the initial incident and was conscious for several hours, days, or weeks before succumbing to their injuries. 

Many factors play a role in the value of a wrongful death case. This includes the victim’s age, career, earning capacity, and more. Our attorneys help clients develop compelling cases to document a wide range of losses and expenses, seeking financial compensation through a negotiated settlement or lawsuit. 

What Is a Wrongful Death?

When one party causes someone’s death by neglect or an intentional act, it will likely support a wrongful death case. In general, if your loved one could have filed a personal injury lawsuit had they survived, your family can pursue wrongful death damages. Our team can assess your case and determine your legal options. 

Wrongful deaths can occur in many ways, resulting from:  

If you believe your loved one’s death happened because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, our team can help. We will discuss their incident and your options during your free case review. 

Building a Compelling Wrongful Death Case With Help From Our Team

Like personal injuries, wrongful deaths generally occur because of negligence. One party owes the other a duty of care. They breach that duty, causing an accident. The victim suffers fatal injuries as a result. 

If we can document this happened to your loved one, we can often hold the negligent party accountable. Let us investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death and build a compelling case to support an insurance settlement or court award. 

Your Wrongful Death Case Comes With a Filing Deadline 

The deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Washington State is complex. Under RCW 4.16.080, families generally have three years to sue. However, there are additional statutes to determine when the clock begins ticking and other factors that determine the timeline in these cases. We recommend contacting us about your case as soon as possible to ensure we meet the deadline. 

Discuss Your Wrongful Death Case With Our Team Today for Free

Herschensohn Law offers free initial case consultations for families who lost loved ones due to someone else’s negligence. We can help your family understand your next steps and manage them for you. Our service areas include Kent, Auburn, Bellevue, Graham, Ellensburg, Puyallup, Covington, Seattle, and more.

Our team has the experience and knowledge you want to pursue fair compensation and get justice for your loved one. We are a contingency-fee law firm, so you will never pay upfront fees or owe us attorney’s fees unless we win the case. 

Call (206) 588-4344 to learn more about working with a wrongful death attorney.  

Our results speak for themselves


Hurt? Let our law firm handle the details

When you request your free consultation, Kent personal injury attorney Zach Herschensohn will listen to you, answer your questions, lay out your legal options, and give you down-to-earth legal advice.

When you work with our law office, there are no obligations, hidden fees, or fine print. It’s that simple.

Request your free case evaluation

We’ll meet with you to help you understand your legal options and what to do next.

Enter your contact information:

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’re proud to fight—and win—for injured people in Kent, Washington. View our case results to learn more.