Losing a loved one under any circumstance is always an emotionally taxing experience. And if this loss is attributed to another person’s negligent or reckless actions, the pain can be unbearable. If your loved one dies as a result of negligence, you may pursue the liable party for compensation through a wrongful death claim.
While grieving your loved one’s untimely death, you may be feeling overwhelmed but still committed to holding the responsible party to account. Amidst the emotional tumult, however, it’s important that you understand some basics. And one of these is how wrongful death laws work.
Filing a wrongful death claim
In Washington, like other states, not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. Rather, this lawsuit can be filed by the estate representative on behalf of “real parties of interest.” Basically, these are individuals financially dependent on the victim and are, thus, bound to suffer economic and non-economic losses following the victim’s death. These include the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, siblings or any other person who was financially dependent on the victim.
Subject to the circumstances of the case, these individuals may claim both economic and non-economic damages. And sometimes, punitive damages may apply.
The time limit for filing your claim
While a loved one’s wrongful death can leave you devastated, it’s important to understand that you cannot bring a lawsuit at your convenience. In Washington state, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is three years. You risk forfeiting your right to compensation if you do not act within this timeframe.
A loved one’s sudden death can be unbelievably stressful and devastating. Understanding the state’s personal injury and wrongful death laws can help you protect your rights and interests while pursuing justice.