wrongful death claim or lawsuit. In Washington, there are some specific laws that control these claims. This includes the time-frame in which you are able to file a lawsuit and which surviving relative may file a suit against the responsible party.
Who Can File a Washington Wrongful Death Lawsuit?Since the victim has passed, they cannot bring forward their own claim. Therefore, such wrongful death claims are usually brought upon by a surviving spouse, domestic partner, the children, or close relatives of the deceased. If the deceased had no surviving immediate family, close relatives may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Washington state. The individuals filing a claim must have depended on the deceased person for financial support. Furthermore, they must also be a resident within the United States at the time of the deceased passing.
Action for Death of ChildA mother or father can bring a claim for their child’s death. However, certain aspects of the claim will be different depending if the parents are married, separated, divorced, or were never married. In which case, all damages may be awarded separately. The Washington State Code states if one parent files a suit without the other, he or she must serve the other parent with the complaint.
Time Available to File a Washington Wrongful Death LawsuitThe Statute of limitations is the time available in which a Washington wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. In Washington, the claim must be filed within three years of the date of death. Each state outlines a different amount of time in which you may file. For example, California only allows you two years to file a lawsuit following a wrongful death. However, the state of Washington allows three years. In other words, failing to file a lawsuit within the specified period may make it impossible to recover the losses sustained after the death of a loved one.
Compensation Available in a Wrongful Death ClaimThe damages available for recovery depend upon which surviving relative is bringing forward the claim for their loss. General damages include:
- Medical bills (up to the time of death)
- Costs related to damaged property
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial contribution
- Loss of relationship, services, and companionship
- Emotional distress of the surviving family
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Other financial considerations