A wrongful death action can be taken in Washington when someone dies following the negligence of another person. It doesn’t require the defendant’s criminal conviction for a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed (or to be successful) in the case.
If your loved one has died because of the negligent, reckless or intentional act of someone else, the person in charge of their estate can generally file suit and ask the court to award the victim’s survivors fair compensation for their losses and suffering.
When a wrongful death case is successful, an award typically will follow that recognizes damages, or “pecuniary injuries.” The estate can receive compensation for medical and funeral costs, as well as the loss of financial support and services, as well as the payment for loss of a prospective inheritance.
As a jury considers a pecuniary loss, the members look at the circumstances of the deceased: their age and life expectancy; their future earning capacity; and their health and physical condition before death. Other intangibles also are taken into account, such as the loss of parental guidance if the deceased was a parent with minor children.
Still, the jury’s award can be modified if the court determines the factors were not properly applied. Additionally, a court can set aside the pecuniary award altogether and order a new trial if the plaintiff didn’t present proper evidence to support the claims made at trial.
A wrongful death case is difficult because it conjures up memories of your lost loved one. That’s why you need a compassionate, strong and experienced attorney at your side as you consider going through the process.