Wrongful death laws vary from state to state. What is applicable in California may not hold in New York. Likewise, Washington State has its own set of laws regarding wrongful death cases.
Washington wrongful death laws are designed to give surviving family members compensation when they lose a productive member of the family due to the negligence of another person.
Washington law allows representatives, such as attorneys, to seek compensation for a deceased’s spouse and children if there are any present.
If a death occurs and there is no surviving spouse or children, the law allows an attorney to make a claim for surviving parents or siblings.
Under certain circumstances, claims may also be made for wrongful death actions against an unborn child.
Under the law, family members claiming wrongful death may be entitled to receive payments for loss of companionship, love, income, and child care expenses, among others. Children are allowed additional benefits to compensate for the loss of daily attention, potential physical and moral upbringing, and education.
For the full range of potential benefits, consult with your Washington wrongful death attorney about your specific case.
Work with attorneys who know the ins and outs of Washington wrongful death laws. At the Peterson Law Offices, our lawyers have been helping people receive fair settlements for their claims for many years.
We strive to treat all of our clients with the utmost courtesy and respect.
Contact attorney Todd Peterson today for a free consultation about your individual needs. All calls received at our offices will be returned as promptly as possible.
Continue reading for more information regarding Washington wrongful death laws and statutes.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit claims that the victim died due to the negligence of someone else, so the family is entitled to compensation as a result of the improper conduct.
Washington wrongful death laws have been put into place to help provide this compensation for the family and those who may have been damaged as a result of the death of their loved one. The laws act as an incentive to try and prevent these types of cases from happening in the first place.
Furthermore, they are in place to help curb negligence and wrongful activity that could result in such horrible consequences. Over the years, wrongful death laws have changed from state to state.
However, as long as the claim has the state’s statutes and legislature as has been interpreted by the court, then they are a legal case in the state of Washington.
Pecuniary Losses in Washington State
Pecuniary losses, also known as financial injury, are one of the most common and primary types of damages that are often sought out in a wrongful death case.
Financial injury, or Pecuniary losses, include the loss of support and inheritance, services, and medical and funeral expenses. In the state of Washington, the court will determine the loss based on the age, character, and condition of the decedent, as well as their life expectancy, earning capacity, and other factors.
In addition, the courts will also take a closer look at the beneficiaries who would receive the damages and other circumstances revolved around the estate.
What is a Personal Representative?
A personal representative is a person who may be a beneficiary of the estate or an uninterested person who is chosen to act upon the estate with no personal bias or conflict of interest.
Also, the personal representative is tasked with the job of settling the estate as quickly as they possibly can and typically, they are the one who would hire the wrongful death attorney on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Cases in Washington
The statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim in Washington is approximately three years. If the beneficiaries of the estate are minors, it does not mean the statute of limitations will be delayed or stalled.
Personal representatives of the estate would be bringing the action upon the estate, not the minor beneficiaries. Therefore, the three years stands as stated in Washington’s statutes.
Survival Statute in Washington State
The Survival Statute, or RCW 4.20.060, in Washington is what allows the action for personal injury to survive.The Survival Statute allows the estate of the decedent to seek injuries or damages that may have been suffered immediately before the decedent passed.
General Survival Statute
The General Survival Statute, or RCW 4.20.046, in Washington allows the personal representative of the estate to assert all actions; just as if the decedent hadn’t died.
Furthermore, they can seek economic accumulations of the estate. However, they cannot recover noneconomic damages for the decedent’s prior pain and suffering.
Who Can Recover Damages According to Washington Wrongful Death Laws?
The wrongful death statute in the state of Washington includes two different tiers of beneficiaries. The first tier includes the spouse and children of the decedent. The second tier includes the parents and siblings.
If there is no spouse or children, then there likely will not be a statutory beneficiary. Unless the parents or siblings were dependent upon the decedent.
When there is no beneficiary, then there are no recoverable damages for the pain and suffering of the decedent.
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