Wrongful death is a situation where you make a legal claim against someone else for causing the death of a loved one due to negligence.

The Washington State Hospital Association explains that the wrongful death law in the state expanded in 2019. The expansions changed who can bring a case in court and the types of damages some beneficiaries may receive. It also broadens the liability of medical providers.

Who can bring a claim

The law states that the rights to sue for wrongful death start with the spouse. If there is no spouse, then the children have the right. Next in line if there is no spouse and no children are the parents and siblings. None of this changed, but the adjustment came to the previous requirement that parents or siblings must live in the U.S. to make a claim. That was stricken in the changes to the law. In addition, parents and siblings no longer have to show they were financially dependent on the deceased individual.

In the case where a child dies, there used to be a limit so that parents could only make a claim if it was a minor child or if they were financially dependent on the child. The changed law state that parents can make a claim for an adult child’s death if they were dependent on financial, mental or emotional support on the child at or around the time of the child’s death.

Types of damages

The changes in the law expand what parents may claim as damages. They may now receive money for the loss of companionship, destruction of the child-parent relationship and loss of support of any type. They can also get damages for healthcare expenses and other economic losses.