The civil courts provide people with justice when the criminal courts are not the appropriate venue for their situation. Those hurt by the actions, crimes or negligence of someone else can potentially ask the Washington civil courts to consider their circumstances and possibly provide justice in the form of financial compensation and a court ruling affirming blame following a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death lawsuits often start because of tragic scenarios, like a drunk driver who caused a fatal crash or someone whose negligent home maintenance resulted in a fatal injury to a visitor. Surviving family members are the ones who bring wrongful death claims against the parties responsible for their losses.
Do survivors have the option of asking for punitive compensation as part of their wrongful death claim? Punitive damages serve as a form of financial punishment and aren’t directly tied to economic losses.
The Washington courts don’t usually award punitive damages
Unfortunately for those seeking justice through the civil courts, the Washington legal system does not typically award punitive damages in personal injury and wrongful death claims. However, that doesn’t stop you from obtaining fair compensation for your losses and some measure of justice for your loved one.
You have the right to seek both economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim. Unlike other states, Washington does not have a cap on non-economic damages. Consulting with an attorney familiar with wrongful death claims and the impact that a tragic loss will have on your family — both now and in the future — can help you better determine what forms what compensation you can request and how much to ask for when you file your lawsuit.