Wrongful death lawsuits are filed in Washington in order to compensate those people were close to the deceased in a financial and emotional sense. However, not just anybody can file a wrongful death claim if someone they loved was killed.
What is considered a wrongful death?
A wrongful death happens when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another party. This party could be another individual or an entity. When this happens, an authorized person may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a civil action that seeks out compensation from the party at fault.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Just because a person who was close to you died due to another party’s misconduct or negligence doesn’t mean you’re authorized to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In the state of Washington, there are only certain individuals who are authorized by the state legislature to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit may be the deceased person’s spouse, registered domestic partner, child or stepchild. In the case where the deceased party had no spouse, registered domestic partner, children or stepchildren, the court authorizes the parents or siblings of the deceased to file a lawsuit.
Proving your case
Regardless of who files the lawsuit, they must prove that the other party was liable for the deceased person’s death. In most cases, this means the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care. They must also prove that the defendant’s breach of their duty of care is directly responsible for the death.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is a big undertaking. It’s important to start with determining whether you’re even eligible under your state’s laws to file a claim. If so, it’s highly advisable to consult an experienced attorney to help with your case.