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Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death attorneys work on cases where someone has been killed — whether the death was accidental or intentional. If a loved one dies due to someone else’s actions, a Wrrongful Death attorney can help explain what occurred, who is responsible, if anyone should be criminally charged, and whether surviving family members are warranted compensation for their loss.

The Emery | Reddy, PLLC Wrongful Death Attorneys help those who have lost loved ones due to the negligence or misconduct of another party. While no amount of money can replace a life, it can ease the financial burden on surviving family members by recovering damages for:

  • Lost wages,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Loss of future expected support,
  • Loss of projected future earnings,
  • Loss of companionship and/or protection,
  • Medical expenses, and
  • Funeral costs.

Wrongful Death Can Result From a Number of Circumstances

Laws concerning wrongful death are highly complex and require the knowledge and resources of a skillful legal counsel. Emery | Reddy will use our expertise to:

  • Establish causation,
  • Determine projected lost earnings,
  • Protect clients from the pressure tactics of the negligent party’s insurer, and
  • Negotiate claims for the highest compensation entitled by law.

Regrettably, parties at fault in wrongful death incidents often move on without being held responsible. Wrongful death lawsuits can help families feel a sense that justice has been served and can also contribute to better regulations or changes in our social, legal, and business culture to help prevent future tragedies.

Wrongful Death written at the top of a page with a gavel resting nearby.

L&I Death Benefits and Survivor Pensions

In an ideal world, every L&I claim would ultimately end with total recovery, and the injured worker able to work again. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If an injured worker dies as a result of their work-related injury or occupational illness, there are certain L&I death benefits available to their surviving loved ones.

An industrial injury or occupational illness that results in death entitles the injured worker’s spouse and dependents to L&I death benefits, also known as L&I survivor pensions, including the following:

  • A one-time immediate payment to the deceased’s spouse or registered domestic partner
  • Monthly survivor pensions
  • Burial reimbursements

What Is a One-Time Immediate Payment?

A one-time immediate payment will be made to the deceased worker’s spouse or registered domestic partner, child, or dependent when the death is related to an industrial injury or occupational illness. The amount of the immediate payment is 100% of the average monthly wage in the state.

Who Is Eligible for L&I Survivor Pensions?

If a worker dies as a result of their injury, their spouse or registered domestic partner, child, or dependent may be eligible for an L&I survivor pension.

  • If the decedent was married prior to the workplace injury or occupational illness and remained married until death, their spouse or domestic partner would be eligible to receive any L&I benefits awarded to them for the duration of their lifetime.
  • If the decedent leaves no surviving spouse, partner, or child behind, then other qualified dependents can receive benefits equal to half the average monthly support received by the dependent during the year preceding the injury. The benefit limit is 65% of the worker’s wage or maximum benefit level, whichever is less, for all dependents. The payments end when the necessity that created the dependency would have ended had the injury not occurred. Dependents eligible to receive benefits must have been dependent on the worker’s earnings prior to their death and can include parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, and/or nephews.

What Are L&I Burial Benefits?

Labor and Industries will pay burial benefits if an injured worker dies as a direct result of an injury or occupational illness. The amount awarded will depend on the date of death See Death and Burial Rates Chart.

How Do I File an L&I Claim for Workers’ Comp Death Benefits?

During this emotional time, it is important to follow the correct steps to file an L&I claim to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Hiring an experienced L&I attorney to help you will be greatly beneficial as you navigate the claims process.

If the fatality took place at work, you have three options to file a Washington state L&I claim:

Who Can File an L&I Claim for Workers’ Comp Death Benefits and an L&I Survivor Pension?

A beneficiary must file the L&I claim for workers’ comp death benefits. Qualified beneficiaries are a spouse, registered domestic partner, or child. If there are no beneficiaries, then a qualified dependent (see above) may file the claim.

To file an L&I claim for workers’ comp death benefits in Washington state, you must provide the following:

  • An application filed before the Statute of Limitations (SOL) ends
  • Marriage certificate
  • Death certificate
  • If minor children are involved, then birth certificates and custody documents (if any)

The SOL to file for death benefits is one year from the injury that led to death and two years or more for the occupational disease that led to death.

What If There Is an Open L&I Claim at the Time of Death?

If there is an open L&I claim at the time of the worker’s death, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, or other dependents can make a formal request to L&I that the benefits pass to them. Benefits included are:

  • Permanent partial disability (PPD) award: If the decedent had time-loss benefits or had received a PPD award still owed by L&I at the time of death, it should be paid to one of the aforementioned parties. If none of these parties come forward, then according to the will; if none come forward, then according to intestate distribution scheme. RCW 51.32.040(2).
  • L&I disability pension: An L&I disability pension is a special category of pension only awarded to the most severely injured If the decedent’s status immediately prior to an unrelated death was that they could never work again, then the workers’ benefits can pass to one of the aforementioned parties.
A lawyer calculates line items.


Watch This Video to Learn More about How Employment Law and L&I Claims Work Together

Your L&I Claim Is Worth More If You Also Have an Employment Claim

A significant number of L&I — workers’ compensation claims often involve additional legal claims such as employment or third-party claims. Many people file their claims without seeking representation from an L&I attorney and thus never discover that, in addition to their L&I claim, they may be missing out on the ability to file an employment claim or a third-party claim. Pursuing additional legal action with the help of an experienced Labor and Industries attorney has the potential to significantly increase a claim’s overall compensation. At Emery | Reddy, our experienced attorneys practice both Employment and Workers’ Compensation Law, which means we will investigate all aspects of your claim to make sure you aren’t missing out on any potential benefits.

What Is an Employment Claim?

Many injured workers find that their employer has taken, or plans to take, adverse action against them because they filed an L&I claim or they are out of work. You can file a lawsuit against your employer for several reasons, including retaliation, wrongful termination, disability discrimination, or unpaid wages. An L&I attorney who is experienced in both L&I — Workers’ Compensation Law and Employment Law can help you with your L&I claim while simultaneously filing a federal or state law claim for the violation of workers’ rights by your employer.

What Is a Third-Party Claim?

third-party claim is one in which someone other than your employer or co-worker is responsible for your injury. If you have been injured on the job due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be entitled to additional compensation through a third-party claim, which combines your L&I claim with a personal injury claim using the same facts.

Unlike workers’ compensation payments, there is no limit to the amount of compensation an injured worker may seek in third-party damages. Third-party claims are private matters and are typically litigated directly with the Washington State Superior Court.

If a loved-one’s industrial injury or occupational illness leads to their passing, you may be entitled to compensation for pain, suffering, and lost wages.

Who Is at Fault for a Workplace Injury?

L&I is a no-fault system, ensuring compensation for any workplace injury. However, if a third party is involved in causing the injury, you may be able to pursue legal action against them for additional compensation under third-party claims.

How Do I Know If I Have a Strong L&I Claim?

If you have recently lost a loved one and wonder if you should get help with your L&I claim, ask yourself the following:

If any of the above apply to you, we may be able to help you with your claim!

Navigating an L&I claim can be difficult and very time-consuming, especially when you’re ill or injured. You want to focus on healing and make sure your bills are paid, but if you don’t file things properly or on time, your health, home, and job could be in jeopardy. Many individuals miss out on much-needed L&I benefits because they don’t understand what to do or how to get the most compensation for their injuries. If you are experiencing any challenges in your case, a Labor and Industries attorney can assist you. By contacting Emery | Reddy as soon as possible after you’ve been injured, we can help you avoid the common pitfalls of filing an L&I claim. Our Seattle L&I Attorneys are here for you every step of the way.

receptionist and desk in the emery reddy office in seattle

Emery | Reddy Can Help You with Your L&I Claim

Emery | Reddy is the only law firm in Washington state that is equipped to provide comprehensive representation on your case from every angle. Our Seattle L&I Attorneys thoroughly assess every case to determine if our clients have additional claims, and at times this can extend far beyond the underlying workers’ compensation claim.

If you have been injured in the workplace, call Emery | Reddy today for a Free Case Review with an experienced Intake Specialist to learn more about how we may be able help you.

Want More Information?

To determine the value of your L&I claim, you first need to understand the different types of L&I awards offered in Washington state.

Most people suffering from a personal injury have similar questions. Read more to learn the answers to some of the most common personal injury accident questions that we hear from injured workers.

If you sustain a serious or life-changing injury and are no longer able to work, you could be entitled to a Washington state L&I disability pension.

We fight for you

Meet the Team

The Wrongful Death Attorneys at Emery | Reddy, PLLC are passionate about helping workers with L&I claims and Employment Law issues. We Help Workers®. It’s our motto and what drives us every day.

We know how L&I and big companies think, and we understand the tactics they use. Our Labor and Industries Attorneys use that knowledge coupled with over three decades of experience to help our clients get access to the L&I benefits to which they are legally entitled and hold employers accountable when they break the law.

If you’re struggling with an L&I claim, injury, or legal issue at work, call us for a Free Case Review with an experienced Intake Specialist to learn more about how Emery | Reddy may be able to help you today.

“I can not recommend the services from Emery | Reddy enough. You won’t be disappointed if they take on your case. Thanks to them, I got my life back.”

— Alyson F.

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