Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you have lost somebody that you love as a result of the negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity in Washington, you need to turn to an attorney for help as soon as possible. Washington law is very specific about who can file wrongful death claims in court. Here, we want to discuss who can file these claims as well as how an attorney can help you recover the closure and compensation your family is entitled to.

What is Wrongful Death in Washington?

When we turn directly to Washington law, we can see that wrongful death occurs when “the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another” (Wash. Rev. Code § 4.20.010 (2021)).

There are a variety of ways that these cases arise throughout this state, including vehicle accidents in Seattle, caused by negligent drivers, medical malpractice, intentional acts of violence, premises liability accidents, and more.

Who Can File These Lawsuits?

In many states around the country, surviving family members of the deceased are the ones responsible for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. However, Washington law acquires that the personal representative, often referred to as the executor, of the deceased person’s estate filed the wrongful death claim in civil court.

If the deceased individual had a will, they would likely have named the personal representative of their estate there. If there was no will or if the person named as the personal representative cannot serve, the court will appoint someone to act as the personal representative.

It is important to understand that even though the personal representative is responsible for filing the wrongful death lawsuit, any damages awarded in the case are for the benefit of the deceased’s survivors.

Washington law says that every action brought under the wrongful death laws will be for the benefit of the spouse, domestic partner, or children of the deceased. In the event there is no spouse, domestic partner, or children, the wrongful death compensation can go to the parents or siblings of the deceased.

There may be various types of compensation available for wrongful death claims in Washington. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Coverage of the deceased’s medical bills pertaining to the incident in question
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family
  • Loss of household services the deceased would have provided
  • Loss of the deceased’s care, love, companionship, and affection

Contact an Attorney for Help Immediately

If you have lost somebody that you love as a result of the negligent or wrongful actions of another individual, business, or entity, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. A wrongful death lawyer in Washington can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the incident. They will determine liability, handle negotiations with aggressive insurance carriers, and work diligently to recover full compensation for your losses. You deserve closure, so let an attorney help you hold the at-fault party responsible.