Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

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Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against the City of Seattle

Posted Friday, December 29, 2017 by Chris Thayer

In June 2017, two Seattle police officers shot and killed 30-year-old Charleena Lyles after responding to a 911 call at her apartment. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging both racial discrimination and that the shooting could have been avoided.

Lyles, who was African American and four months pregnant, called 911 to report a residential burglary at her home in Magnuson Park. When the two officers (both white) arrived, they found no evidence of a burglary. They had already been warned that Lyles had a history of being aggressive toward police, and the officers said Lyles threatened them with a knife. Three of Lyles’ four children were present when she died.

An autopsy found that Lyles was shot seven times and did not have drugs or alcohol in her system. She also had a history of mental illness, including depression.

Because the officers are city employees and the charges involve actions taken in the course of their employment, any damages would be paid by the city of Seattle. But a recently added defendant, a nonprofit social services agency that provided housing to Lyles, would not be indemnified by the city. The lawsuit alleges that Solid Ground failed to report to police that Lyles had previously threatened children with a knife.

Filing a Damages Claim Against Seattle

Here are a few things you need to know about filing a lawsuit against the city. The first step is filing an official claim for damages with the City Clerk. The form must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations, which varies depending on the specifics of your claim.

Claims must include the following information:

The claimant may also submit supporting evidence, such as receipts and photos. After the City Clerk receives your claim, it will be sent to the Risk Management Office. A claims adjuster will investigate and recommend a resolution. Options include paying the claimant a sum of money, transferring the claim to another entity or denying the claim altogether.

Claims typically take about 60 days to resolve, but more complicated cases can take longer. The adjuster will consider the particular facts resulting in the injury or damage, the applicable law, the claimant’s role and whether the city should be held responsible.

If the city denies your claim then litigation might be your next option. An experienced attorney can help determine your best course of action.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of municipal negligence or misconduct. Our experienced attorneys will help recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.