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Kent Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

Man dies after oxygen equipment malfunctions

While the death of a loved one is never something easy to process, it can be significantly more traumatizing when it comes suddenly and unexpectedly. Situations, where a person's death was caused by the negligence, ignorance or recklessness of another, are extra complicated for families in Washington. 

For one family in South Carolina, the pain of losing their loved one has been excruciating. The family claims the incident began when their loved one had received treatment at a local medical facility for a stroke. As part of treatment, it was determined that the man would be set up with oxygen in his home so he could have assistance breathing. The family claims that the apparatus that should have been carefully checked and monitored before the caretakers had left, was improperly connected. As a result, the man was not getting adequate oxygen and ultimately ended up suffocating which resulted in his death. 

What is negligent entrustment?

As the owner of a vehicle in Kent, you (and others) owe a duty of care to each other that your cars, trucks or SUV's not cause them any harm out on the road. That duty is typically fulfilled by you and other vehicle owners driving safely. Yet does it also extend to vehicle owners permitting others to use their vehicles? If you are involved in an accident caused by a driver who was using another's vehicle, then you might wonder what sort of liability the vehicle owner may face. That all depends on whether negligent entrustment applies to your case. 

The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment allows vicarious liability to be assigned to third parties for damages caused by one to whom they entrusted with a potentially dangerous instrument (such as a car). There are two key elements that must be present in order to apply negligent entrustment to your case: knowledge and consent. First, the vehicle owner must have known (or should have known) that the person they were loaning their car to was an incompetent or reckless driver. Indeed, when establishing the state's standard for negligent entrustment, Washington State Superior Court rulings adhere to the following definition: "A person entrusting a vehicle to another may be liable under a theory of negligent entrustment only if that person knew, or should have known in the exercise of ordinary care, that the person to whom the vehicle was entrusted is reckless, heedless, or incompetent."

Does Washington have a fetal homicide law?

When a pregnant woman is murdered or killed due to someone else's negligence, the news is quick to make sure everyone knows the woman was pregnant. In some states, this is irrelevant from a legal standpoint because those states do not have fetal homicide laws. In Washington, though, there is such a law.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, fetal homicide laws are very controversial. On the surface, you may wonder why anyone would be mad about prosecuting someone for killing a mother and her unborn child. However, looking deeper, you can see how this may be an issue for pro-choice advocates. They feel fetal homicide laws are a slippery slope towards criminalizing abortion.

Drug addiction and reckless driving

People behave dangerously on the roads for countless reasons, from isolated instances of drunk driving to surpassing the speed limit in an attempt to get to work on time when one is running late. Other people may frequently behave recklessly on the road, such as some drivers who are struggling with a long-term addiction to mind-altering substances. Unfortunately, some people who are addicted to drugs get behind the wheel while they are heavily intoxicated, and this can place the lives of many people in danger.

From meth to prescription pain pills and crack cocaine, there are many different types of powerful substances that some people become addicted to. Drug addiction can make life hard in so many ways, but it can bring other hardships as well, such as a higher likelihood of causing a motor vehicle collision. Some drivers, such as those who are in the early stages of addiction, may not be very familiar with the countless ways in which the substance(s) they take adversely impact their driving abilities, and they may exhibit various forms of dangerous behavior on the road.

What requirements do truck drivers have to meet to get a license?

Being a truck driver is a huge responsibility. You are the largest vehicles on the roadway, so you need to drive carefully and safely to protect yourself and everyone else on Washington roads with you. There is a process for getting a license to drive a large truck. You must obtain a commercial driver's license, which has some set requirements.

According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, the process is similar to getting a regular driver's license in that you have to meet basic criteria, get a permit and pass a final driving test. It begins with your age. You need to be at least 18 years old to get a CDL. You also have to have a valid driver's license in the state.

What damages are available in wrongful death suits?

If you lose a loved one to someone else's negligence or misconduct in Washington, you may wish to file a wrongful death claim. Though no amount of money can bring your loved one back, a fair settlement can allow you to focus on grieving and healing instead of the financial loss caused by your loved one's death. FindLaw outlines the type of damages you may be able to recover. 

According to FindLaw, there are two types of damages you may recover in a wrongful death claim: pecuniary damages and punitive damages. The courts award pecuniary damages to compensate for financial injury caused by a person's unexpected death. Pecuniary injuries may include the loss of services (home maintenance, childcare, etc.), loss of support, lost prospect of inheritance and medical and funeral expenses. Most courts offer a damage award that includes interest from the date of the deceased's death.

Auto accidents and burn injuries

While there are many ways in which people are injured during motor vehicle crashes, every accident is unique, and some involve less common injuries. For example, someone may be burned in a motor vehicle collision, which could shatter their life in all sorts of ways. For a burn victim, life may unravel in many ways, whether they are upset by permanent scarring as a result of the burn or they have to take time off of work due to their injury. Sadly, many lives have been ruined due to burns and other injuries, all because a reckless driver caused a crash.

People are burned in various ways when it comes to auto collisions. From vehicle explosions to exposure to hot accident debris, steam, toxic chemicals, an electrical current or even gasoline that catches on fire, there are many ways in which people may sustain a burn during a crash and immediately following a collision. We know how painful and emotionally difficult burns and other auto accident injuries can be, and we believe that the victims of these crashes deserve justice.

What is happening with the truck driver shortage?

It has been in the news quite a bit lately because it has a huge impact on the economy. That is the truck driver shortage being seen across the country. Washington is not immune from this issue either. Every state has its struggles. Even with hugely increased salaries, there seems to be no end in sight for the driver shortage, according to Trucks.

Not only is there a shortage of drivers but also a shortage of trucks. This does not look good overall. Truck drivers help keep our economy alive through delivery and transporting goods. While there are other methods of delivery, trucks remain the solid standby because they are efficient and effective. They can go wherever the need is unlike other delivery options while also providing the ability to deliver large loads.

Are self-driving cars safe?

The idea of a car that drives itself was once a thing only found in science fiction, but it is now a reality. Self-driving cars seem to pop up a lot in the news in Washington. However, many of those stories focus on accidents involving these cars. You may wonder if they are really safe or if they pose a risk to everyone on the road and even to pedestrians.

According to CNN, self-driving cars are safe. Studies have even indicated they may be safer than human drivers. Part of the reason is a self-driving car does not have the flaws of a human. It cannot get distracted. It does not have blind spots because it can scan all around the car. It also is programmed to adjust to traffic and road conditions. A self-driving car also has the ability to detect objects in the roadway or obstacles at a speed much higher than a human. This means it can react more quickly.

Who can sue for wrongful death?

The untimely death of a loved one is never easy. It can be especially difficult when the death was due to the negligence of someone else. The law in Washington provides you with the chance for some recourse through a wrongful death claim. You may file a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the death of your loved one and receive financial compensation if you win the case.

The law is strict on wrongful death cases, though. The Washington State Legislature explains that you may not have the right to file a lawsuit in every situation where a loved one dies due to the wrongful actions of someone else. There are very specific rules outlining who can and cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a loved one.

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Greaney Scudder Law Firm
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Kent, WA 98032

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