Serious Washington car accidents can result in the deaths of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and other parties on the roads. Some accident victims are pronounced dead at the scene, while some succumb to their injuries days or weeks later.
Family members of the deceased may find it difficult to pay their bills and household expenses after the loss of a loved one. A recovery in a wrongful death lawsuit can provide families with the support they need. However, not all family members are entitled to wrongful death damages.
Who can file a wrongful death suit?
In Washington, only certain parties can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These parties include:
- Personal estate representative of the decedent’s estate
- Spouse of the deceased
- Child of the deceased
- Parent of the deceased (only if deceased had no spouse or children)
- Siblings of the deceased (only if deceased had no spouse or children)
Filing a wrongful death claim is similar to filing a negligence claim following a non-fatal accident. The purpose of your suit will likely be proving that another party’s negligence caused your loved one’s accident and death.
Negligent drivers often cause accidents by failing to adhere to traffic laws. Speeding, failing to merge safely, failing to stop at a res light, and failing to yield are common forms of driver negligence.
If your wrongful death claim is successful, you can recover damages to help you and your family rebuild after losing such an important person in your family. Damages may cover:
- Loss of household services
- Medical expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of income
- Emotional distress
A personal injury attorney can help you file your claim and help protect yourself and your family financially after a loved one passes unexpectedly.