Potential Wrongful Death Damages
RCW 4.20.020 states that in any wrongful death action, the jury may give such damages as they believe just. This can include compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, including but not limited to:
- Remaining medical expenses
- Funeral costs
- Loss of decedent’s financial support
- Loss of decedent’s employment benefits, including health insurance
- Loss of decedent’s retirement benefits
- Loss of decedent’s companionship and society
- Relative’s emotional distress
- Spouse’s loss of an intimate relationship
Beneficiaries of Wrongful Death Compensation
If a personal representative obtains compensation through a wrongful death action, then according to RCW 4.20.020, the compensation is intended to benefit the surviving spouse, lawful domestic partner, and children. Spouses and children do not have to prove they were financially dependent on the decedent to obtain damages.
If your relative who passed away did not have a spouse, domestic partner, or any children, then the compensation is for the benefit of their any parent or sibling who was dependent on them for financial support. If a parent or sibling was not financially dependent on the decedent, then they cannot recover damages.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
You typically have three years in Washington to file a wrongful death claim. When this three-year period begins and ends can depend on a few factors. The clock almost always begins to run on the date of your loved one’s death. However, if your family did not learn that your relative’s death may have been the result of negligence or intentional misconduct until later, then the clock may begin to run on the date you learned you may have the right to file a legal claim.
Wrongful Death Claims Differ from Survival Actions
Wrongful death claims are different from survival actions. A wrongful death claim is about pursing compensation for you and your relative’s injuries, which you have suffered because of your loved one’s death. A survival action is a legal action based on your loved one’s rights and seeks compensation for their injuries.
If your loved one was hurt in an accident because of someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then a personal injury claim arises out of that situation. If your loved one had survived the accident, then they would have had the right to file this wrongful death claim. However, since they passed away, this cause of action survives and goes to the estate.
The personal representative for your loved one’s estate decides whether to continue with the personal injury action on behalf of your loved one. If the representative moves forward with the claim, they can pursue compensation for your relative’s pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional distress, and humiliation.
Let Our Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyers Help
Heading into a difficult insurance claim process or lawsuit is likely the last thing you want to do in the wake of a loved one’s passing. However, it may be the right step for you and your family. While a successful claim cannot bring your loved one back, it can provide the financial assistance you need to get through this difficult period in your life. A wrongful death lawsuit may also be the only way to hold the other party responsible and possibly save someone else from experiencing the same fate.
At Emerald City Law Group, our goal is to lift the burden of the legal process from your shoulders. We will be your representatives to the insurance company and your voice in court. When you contact us today, our Seattle wrongful death lawyers will handle the legal tasks and stressful communications so that you can concentrate on taking care of yourself and your family.
Start With a 100% Free Wrongful Death Case Evaluation Today
To discuss how our Seattle personal injury lawyer can help you and your family, contact us today at 206-973-0407 to schedule a free, initial case consultation.