What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death action is an action brought by the personal representative of the estate of someone who dies because of another’s wrongful act or neglect.

Who are the Beneficiaries of a Wrongful Death Claim?

Washington statutes provide that a wrongful death action may be brought on behalf of the surviving spouse or domestic partner, or children of the deceased. These statutes currently provide that if there is no spouse, domestic partner, or child, then the action may be brought on behalf of the decedent’s parents or siblings, so long as they were dependent on the decedent for support. This law was recently amended. As of July 28, 2019, parents may bring an action for the wrongful death of an unmarried adult son or daughter, so long as they had “significant involvement” in their life.

What Damages May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Damages recoverable under this statute may include medical expenses incurred, costs of burial and memorial services, the monetary contributions the decedent would have made to the beneficiaries of the action, and other intangible losses such as the loss of the decedent’s support, services, love, affection, care, and companionship.

The decedent’s pain and suffering before death cannot be recovered in a wrongful death action, because recovery under the Washington wrongful death law is for the losses the beneficiaries suffer as a result of the decedent’s death.

What is a Survival Claim?

Where a person’s injuries result in death, another Washington law, known as a survival statute, allows for the recovery of the decedent’s pain and suffering before death. A survival action is brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate on behalf of the same beneficiaries as are required to prosecute a wrongful death action.

Vancouver WA Wrongful Death Lawyers

The lawyers and staff at Baumgartner, Nelson & Wagner, PLLC, have the necessary experience to obtain full compensation in a wrongful death or survival personal injury claim.  If you have a claim as a result of the wrongful death of a loved one, please give us a call at (360) 694-4344 or send us an email at questions@bnw-law.com.