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One of the worst times in a person’s life is the death of a loved one, especially when it was caused by the fault of another. Although the person who died can no longer hold the at-fault party responsible, Washington law allows that person’s estate to do so in their place.

Ride the Ducks crash
Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore was lead counsel for a group of almost 50 plaintiffs including family members of three students who were killed in the Ride the Ducks Aurora Bridge Disaster resulting in a $123M verdict.

WRONGFUL DEATH IN WASHINGTON STATE

In Washington State, what we call “wrongful death” cases have two separate components:

  1. WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM

A wrongful death action is brought to recover losses suffered by “beneficiaries” caused by a person’s death. Washington law sets out who the beneficiaries are:

  1. The spouse/registered domestic partner and children/stepchildren of the deceased, and if none, then
  2. Parents and siblings of the deceased

Beneficiaries may recover the following types of losses:

  1. Economic damages, which include money, goods, and services.
  2. Non-economic damages, which include damages such as emotional support, love, affection, care, services, companionship, assistance, and guidance.

These damages must be things the beneficiaries would have received from their loved one over their natural lifetime if they had lived.

 If the victim has no spouse or children, then surviving parents may also recover losses for the destruction of the parent-child relationship, including grief.

Related: Ride the Ducks Deaths Help Spur State Legislature to Fix Wrongful Death Laws

2. SURVIVAL ACTION CLAIM

 A survival action is brought to recover losses suffered personally by the victim. These losses include:

  • Net accumulations to the estate, which is how much the victim would have earned, reduced by how much they would have consumed, over their natural lifetime if they had lived
  • Funeral/burial costs
  • Medical bills incurred because of the fault of another
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased person because of the fault of another if the victim has wrongful death beneficiaries

OUR EXPERIENCED WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS ARE HERE TO HELP

Stritmatter has over 50 years of experience specializing in representing people in wrongful death cases. If you have a loved one who has died because of the fault of another, our attorneys want to help. Schedule your free consultation today.