In Washington, a wrongful-death lawsuit can be filed by surviving relatives that are classified through the state’s two-tier system. The first tier identifies the victim’s spouse and children. The second tier includes their parents or siblings. In cases in which a spouse files to collect damages, he or she cannot be a former spouse. They must provide proof to the court that they were married to the victim when the accident occurred. Divorced parties don’t retain this right.
Are Other Relatives Identified By This System?
Yes, legally-recognized domestic partners also have the right to file. An amendment to Washington’s state laws recognizes domestic partnerships as the equivalent as married individuals. Additionally, surviving stepchildren may recover damages as well. Claimants who meet these eligibility requirements should contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Olympia WA.
Identifying Wrongful Death
In these proceedings, the petitioner must identify a fatality in which another party is accountable for direct actions or negligence. The incident should indicate that the circumstances that caused the fatality were avoidable. They should show that if the defendant chose a different action the victim would have survived.
Criminal offenses fall within these parameters and warrants a petition for civil damages. Claims for these acts can be filed during the criminal proceedings. The outcome of the criminal case could help the civil lawsuit.
What Damages are Acquired?
The damages received through a wrongful-death lawsuit cover the medical bills and funeral costs for the deceased. The wages in which the individual would have received throughout their lifetime are calculated to show an expected value for these damages. Property damage that occurred during the accident is included. Any intangible benefits that were lost as a result of the fatality are added to the total settlement value awarded to survivors.
In the state of Washington, family members of the deceased retain the legal right to file a wrongful-death lawsuit. These claims provide survivors with benefits as outlined above. However, the state could increase their award based on the circumstances in which the fatality was produced. Any relatives identified in the two-tier system should contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Olympia WA by visiting us.