Can you pursue a wrongful death claim in Washington state?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | Wrongful Death |

Wrongful deaths refer to unnatural death that occurs due to the acts or negligence of another person. If you can prove that another person’s conduct or negligence caused the death of your loved one, you may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.

Wrongful death qualifications

Washington Revised Code § 4.20.010 defines wrongful death as a death that results from “the wrongful act, neglect or default” of someone else. Examples of wrongful death causes include:

• Incident caused by negligence, such as a car accident

• Intentional criminal acts

• Medical malpractice

Common wrongful death causes

Some accidents and injuries may result in a wrongful death more often than others. The greatest number of wrongful death accidents occur because of these reasons:

• Motor vehicle accidents

• Pedestrian accidents

• Animal attacks

• Electrical shock

• Slip and fall

• Nursing home accidents

• Product defects

• Drowning

Wrongful death defendants

A common question asked by survivors in a wrongful death lawsuit involves who the courts will hold accountable. You may file lawsuits against both individuals and corporations. Your lawsuit may include multiple parties, especially in product liability cases. Common examples of parties you can file a lawsuit against include:

• Workers or employers

• Manufacturers

• Motor vehicle companies

• Property owners

• Automobile drivers

Eligibility for filing a lawsuit

In most cases, only a personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a lawsuit. However, parents who enjoy a significant relationship with their child may file wrongful death lawsuits without being a personal representative. For adult children, the parents may only file a claim if their child did not leave behind a spouse, domestic partner or children of their own.

Financial and emotional loss

In Washington state, wrongful death lawsuits may result in compensation for loss of direct monetary damages, such as loss of earnings or funeral costs. However, the courts in wrongful death lawsuits also consider emotional suffering and might include those damages into the compensation amount.