Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim for a Loved One in Washington?

Accidents happen every day, but we don’t usually anticipate an accident resulting in someone we love losing their life. We are never fully prepared for the heartbreak. Understandably, we wouldn’t be prepared for the numerous expenses that follow, either. Recovering compensation through a wrongful death claim may be the best way to cover these expenses. 

When someone loses their life due to injuries sustained in an accident, it can be difficult to determine who has the right to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Each state has rules for determining who exactly is eligible to carry this right. Consider discussing your situation with an experienced Washington wrongful death lawyer who may be able to help you and your family find some relief and recover compensation for all that you have suffered.

How Does Washington State Define Wrongful Death?

When someone passes away due to someone else’s legal misconduct, that is wrongful death. Washington’s “wrongful death” statutes apply when someone dies as a result of the wrongdoing, negligence, or default of another person. These claims frequently arise from cases involving acts such as criminal activity, negligent medical care, and auto accidents. 

A wrongful death lawsuit is essentially a personal injury case in which the deceased victim cannot pursue their own claim. Instead, the beneficiaries of the deceased may intervene and bring a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for the death for economic and noneconomic losses.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington?

In many states, the law allows the deceased’s surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim. In Washington State, however, most wrongful death lawsuits must be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, sometimes known as the executor. Personal representatives are more common in cases where the decedent has executed a will. The court may appoint a representative to act if there is no will or the designated personal representative cannot do so. 

Even though the personal representative must file the wrongful death suit, any compensation granted will go to the deceased’s surviving family members. Under Washington state law, wrongful death claims may go to the deceased’s spouse, state-registered domestic partner, and child or children, including stepchildren. If they have no spouse, partner, or children, legal action can be maintained for the benefit of their parents or siblings. 

How Long Does Someone Have to File a Washington Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Washington legislation, pursuing compensation for wrongful death would be considered an action with a three-year statute of limitations. If a wrongful death lawsuit is not brought within the allotted three years, the court will likely decline to hear it.

Although it may seem cruel for a law to outright prevent an injured party from suing for damages, a statute of limitations is necessary. A statute of limitations ensures legal matters are resolved timely, court determinations are accurate, and the defendant’s due process rights are protected.

Consult an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer From a Top-Rated Firm in Washington State

Rarely are we ever prepared to lose a loved one. Finding closure after the death of a loved one is an emotionally exhausting experience, and fighting for compensation can be overwhelming. Discussing your wrongful death case with an experienced attorney may be helpful.

At Premier Law Group, we have assisted numerous families of wrongful death victims in pursuing their claims and negotiating the just compensation they were due. You can rest assured we will provide you with the proper legal guidance. Call (206) 880-7518 or use our contact form to arrange a free consultation with the legal team at PLG and learn more about your legal options following a wrongful death accident.

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