Three Main Types of Damages in a Washington Wrongful Death Action

Categories: Wrongful Death

Man Weeping for His Wife

Injury Lawyers Assisting Washington Families Recoup Damages after a Wrongful Death Claim

When you file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Washington, you are suing the responsible party for specific damages – typically, the money that will compensate for the loss of a loved one. You must have a negligent party that is responsible for the death of your loved one, and that person must then be responsible for the costs associated with the loss. Sometimes, this could be multiple parties; other times, it is just one defendant.

When the lawsuit is filed, your wrongful death attorney will seek compensation based on your damages. The damages that you receive will depend on the circumstances of your loved one’s death – which is why it is important that you consult with a wrongful death attorney. An attorney can adequately assess your case, and make sure that it meets the requirements under the statute. He or she can also ensure that the right damages are awarded.

Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

There are typically three types of wrongful death damages that your attorney may request:

  1. Economic Damages – These are the financial losses that you have suffered because of the death of your loved one. Economic damages can include things like medical costs, loss of future wages, loss of benefits (including medical or retirement benefits), funeral costs, and loss of inheritance (for children). If there was a stay-at-home spouse taking care of minor children who passed away, the plaintiff could sue for losing child care services that the loved one provided.
  2. Noneconomic Damages – These are not based on actual amounts lost – and they aren’t as easy to compute as damages like when you have bills and pay stubs to calculate and project. In noneconomic damages, your attorney seeks the losses that are emotional and abstract – such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of love, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, loss of care, etc. These are difficult to calculate and will depend on multiple factors.
  3. Punitive Damages – Not all wrongful death claims in the state will have punitive damages attached. Instead, punitive damages apply only in Federal Court in the Western District of Washington.  In that case, the victim’s family could request punitive damages in order to punish the defendant and deter others from committing such negligence in the future. The amount of punitive damages sought (and rewarded) can vary dramatically from claim to claim.

Understand Your Rights and the Statutes – Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney

If you are considering a wrongful death claim, you need to speak with a Washington wrongful death attorney. The statutes regarding wrongful death claims are very specific and highly complex. Not all claims will qualify for all three types of damages – and only an experienced attorney can assess your case to help determine what damages you may request.

Contact the team at Brett McCandlis Brown, PLLC now to discuss your case. We can speak with you during a free consultation – so call us toll-free at 800-925-1875, or request your consultation online.