Losing someone you love and care about can be devastating. The grief becomes unbearable if your loved one’s death could have been prevented. When someone’s negligent actions lead to your loved one’s death, you may consider pursuing the reckless party for damages through a wrongful death claim.
To receive the damages you are entitled to, however, you need to take certain steps. Firstly, you need to be certain that you can file the claim under Washington laws. And, secondly, you must act within the statute of limitations period.
But first, what is wrongful death?
Wrongful death arises when another party’s actions (or inaction) result in your loved one’s fatal injuries. In other words, were the victim to survive their injuries, they would have filed personal injury claims against the responsible party. Some of the wrongful acts that can lead to wrongful death include medical malpractice, intentional killing, a car accident or a fatal animal attack.
So can you sue for wrongful death in Washington?
Washington’s wrongful death claims are governed by a statute. Per this, the following people can bring a wrongful death claim:
- The decedent’s spouse or registered domestic partner
- The decedent’s children (biological or adopted)
If the decedent had no spouse or children, however, then the parents or siblings can recover damages in a wrongful death claim if they depended on the victim for financial support.
Special rules apply if the victim was a child
Under Washington statute, a parent or a legal guardian can file a claim under the following circumstances:
- If the child was a minor, the parent or the legal guardian can file a wrongful death claim if they actively contributed to the victim’s support.
- If the child was above 18, the parent of the legal guardian can file a wrongful death claim if they were significantly involved in the victim’s life.
A loved one’s sudden, yet preventable death, can leave you distraught with grief. Find out how you can hold the liable party accountable for your loved one’s wrongful death.