Washington State Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Washington State law allows survivors to sue when another person’s wrongful act, neglect, or default causes a loved one’s death.
However, these cases are complicated, and grieving family members would benefit enormously from a lawyer’s help in bringing the case.
At Kapuza Lighty, our Washington State wrongful death attorneys receive many questions from potential clients, and many questions revolve around wrongful death attorney fees.
How does a client pay for a lawyer’s help?
Most wrongful death lawyers work on contingency. This means that clients do not pay any attorneys’ fees up front. Instead, your lawyer will take a percentage of any settlement or jury verdict that you receive.
If your lawyer loses the case, then he will take home nothing. This creates an incentive for a lawyer to only take cases that have merit and to work as hard as possible to maximize the amount of compensation awarded.
The percentage that your lawyer takes will depend on some factors, but it is something you will agree to. Generally, lawyers in wrongful death lawsuits take between 33-40% of the total amount. If you end up receiving $200,000 in a settlement, for example, then your lawyer could take anywhere between $66,000 and $80,000. You keep the rest.
Our clients are happy with our contingency fee arrangements. They do not have the money upfront to pay for an experienced attorney’s help. But they still have access to the same skilled representation as the wealthy do.
Expenses and Costs
Clients also incur other costs in addition to attorney fees.
For example, you might incur:
- Transcription fees
- Filing fees
- Medical record costs
- Fees for process servers
- Court reporter expenses
- Fees for private investigators
- Fees for expert witnesses
The total expenses will vary, sometimes significantly on a case-by-case basis. For example, an expert witness necessary for a medical malpractice case could cost tens of thousands of dollars. This amount pays for the expert to review the case, draft an expert witness report, and then testify during a deposition and/or trial. Other expenses, like copying and transcription costs, will be much more modest.
You should discuss expenses with your attorney during your initial consultation. In particular, discuss how you will pay these costs. Some lawyers will bill you every month and expect you to pay within 60 days, whereas others will keep a running total and then deduct the costs from the amount of your settlement or jury verdict.
Make sure to get your contingency fee agreement in writing so that you will know exactly what the details are.
Speak to a Washington State Wrongful Death Lawyer at Kapuza Lighty Today
After a loved one’s death, you need time to grieve and heal. Bringing a lawsuit is probably the last thing on your mind.
Nevertheless, Washington State law gives family members only three years from the date of death to bring a lawsuit. Any delay could cost you time and money, so you should reach out to a Washington State wrongful death lawyer immediately.