Recently, Washington State’s legislature considered making changes to Washington’s wrongful death statutes which could have significant impact on the recovery by family members. Currently the statutes limit recovery to certain family members. Recovery is allowed to spouses and children of the deceased for economic and non-economic damages. However, if the deceased did not have a spouse or children, then the parents or siblings could recover but only if they were “financially dependent” on the deceased. The parents or siblings did not have to be completely dependent, but there had to be a showing of at least “substantial” dependency.
Under the proposed legislation, a parent or sibling would have been allowed recovery even without a showing of financial dependency. However, this proposal not make it to the House of Representative for a vote before the deadline for this legislative session.
Washington’s wrongful death statutes can be confusing. If you have any questions regarding the current laws or the proposed changes in the wrongful death statute, please feel free to contact the attorneys at Kirkpatrick and Startzel.
By: Paul Kirkpatrick