This is an extreme tragedy. My heart goes out to the victims. I personally have taken out-of-town relatives on a tour on the Ride the Ducks tour bus.
What can I do to help? I am going to post information that may make it easier for the victims to deal with things they will need to do after such a horrible tragedy.
Information for the victims
- What to do now?
For those of you who lost their loved ones from this tragic incident, you will need to find reliable funeral homes. Websites such as www.usafuneralhomesonline.com provide extensive directory of funeral homes in different states. Washington Funeral Directors Association (www.wsfda.org) can also answer questions regarding making funeral arrangements, grief resources, and other pertinent information. Please note some funeral homes may withhold billing the funeral expenses directly to the victims’ families as this tragedy was not caused by the victims themselves. However, other funeral homes may require the families to pay the expenses up front and to be reimbursed by the insurance companies later. In that case, you should check your own auto insurance to see if you have Personal Injury Protection coverage which generally provide some funds for funeral expenses.
For those of you who have been injured from this incident, you will need to get yourself examined by a medical provider to ensure prompt recovery. Medical providers may require you to pay for your treatment. However, if you have health insurance or auto insurance with Personal Injury Protection coverage, those insurance companies will pay for treatments up to the limits allowed under your insurance policy.
- Must I hire an attorney now?
No. After a tragedy such as this, you should allow yourself a period of mourning and grief. You should not rush into hiring an attorney right away thinking that would help your or your family’s claim. Laws set out specific time period for lawsuits to be filed. Such time period is called the Statute of Limitations. In Washington, the statute of limitation is three years from the date of the accident. Filing the lawsuit within days or weeks of the incident does not mean that such claims will receive more compensation than others that are filed at a later date. Considering the numbers of victims involved, the compensation for any claim in this incident will need to be carefully considered in relation to the rest of the victims involved. Furthermore, the investigation will be on-going. The Seattle Police Department and the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a thorough investigation, and the evidence will be preserved regardless of whether the victims and their families have retained attorneys or not.
I understand this information may not answer all the questions for those affected by this tragic incident. My prayers are with you in this difficult time. If you have any questions, please call James Buckley at (206) 622-1100 or 1-800-404-6200 or email me at [email protected]. (Buckley & Associates is a law firm with multilingual staff: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish, French, and Russian.)
James C. Buckley
Attorney at Law