Are Parents Entitled to a Settlement after a Child Dies in an Accident?

Categories: Wrongful Death

attorney talking with parents

Injury Attorneys Helping Grieving Parents in Wrongful Death Suits in Washington

After a child dies in a motor vehicle accident, parents are distraught and might feel as though there is nothing in the world that could make up for the loss of their child. While it is true that no monetary settlement would replace the loss of a child, as grieving parents, you have a right under Washington law to receive damages in such tragic events.

Parents filing a wrongful death claim may receive damages for medical costs, loss of consortium, hospital bills, and funeral costs. Parents in Washington might also qualify for compensation for the loss of financial support received from the child and up until the child would have reached the age of majority. To receive financial support, parents must show that they received support from the child before his or her death – which is very rare.

What About a Loss of Companionship?

The loss of love and companionship from a child are valid damages. Also, the destruction of the parent-child relationship might qualify for compensation. Any unreasonable costs associated with the child’s death, such as funeral and burial costs, time away from work, and so forth might also be eligible for compensation.

When the Child is Legally an Adult

As parents, you might lose an adult child in a car accident. In this case, the Wrongful Death of an Adult Child statute would apply. This permits parents of a child over the age of majority (18 years in Washington) to recover compensation, but not the same as a child under the age of majority. Instead, two tiers of the wrongful death statute would apply.

The First Tier of Wrongful Death

The first tier is a wrongful death action brought against the defendant for the benefit of surviving children or spouses.

The Second Tier of Wrongful Death

The second tier in Washington is a wrongful death action brought against the respondent on behalf of a surviving parent or sibling that was dependent on the adult child for support. Therefore, a parent would only recover in the second tier if they depended on their adult child for financial support.

Also, if the surviving parents are not married, the courts may separate the tier compensation accordingly.

The Statute of Limitations Applies

The statute of limitations is a strict law that limits how much time parents and loved ones have to take a wrongful death action to court. In the state of Washington, the statute of limitations requires that you bring your claim against the responsible party within three years from the date of the death.

Faster Action is Recommended

While you do need time to grieve, the longer you wait to file a wrongful death action, the harder it might be to seek compensation. This is because evidence disappears, witnesses forget, and the defendant may be harder to locate.

Speak with a Wrongful Death Advocate in Washington Today

If you lost a child in an accident, you have rights. Hold the person responsible for taking your child away accountable for their actions.

Speak with a wrongful death attorney today from Brett McCandlis Brown, PLLC. We offer free, no-obligation consultations. Schedule yours today at 800-925-1875 or request more information online.