Primary and secondary beneficiaries in wrongful death lawsuits

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2021 | Car Accident, Wrongful Death |

Washington residents who have lost loved ones due to the negligent or intentional acts of another party have valid claims to file lawsuits. If you are such a person, you should take immediate action. It’s important to know about primary and secondary beneficiaries in wrongful death lawsuits.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action a person can file against another person or entity for the death of a loved one. If another person or an entity behaved negligently, recklessly or even deliberately and directly led to the individual’s death, the surviving family members have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against them to recover damages directly related to their devastating loss.

Usually, a wrongful death suit is filed after a person dies from injuries caused by car accidents, medical malpractice, defective products or deliberate acts of violence.

Who are the primary and secondary beneficiaries in wrongful death suits?

There are two types of beneficiaries in wrongful death suits. The primary beneficiary is the person who is entitled to compensation in the lawsuit. This person is usually the decedent’s spouse or child. However, if the person who died was not married or was divorced or widowed and didn’t have any children, the secondary beneficiary would receive compensation in the lawsuit. Secondary beneficiaries are usually parents or siblings of the person who died.

If there are no primary beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit, the secondary beneficiaries will receive compensation for the damages. The Washington laws changed in 2019, allowing parents and siblings the ability to recover damages for a loved one lost due to negligence, recklessness or violent acts.

Domestic or life partners of the deceased can also be secondary beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit.