Any unexpected turn of events that rips a loved one away from you will feel wrongful. People often feel intense grief after losing a family member to cancer or a cardiac event. However, the term wrongful death specifically refers to situations where someone else is legally culpable for the death of a person.
Wrongful death can be the fault of either an individual, like someone who decides to drive while drunk, or a business, like a company that releases a defective product. Those who have lost a loved one in a wrongful death situation may be able to bring a civil claim against the other party to seek reimbursement for their family’s losses.
When will the death of a loved one qualify as a wrongful death under Washington state law?
3 types of behavior can lead to wrongful death claims in Washington
People driving on public roads or operating a business have certain duties to other people and the general public. Those duties include taking necessary care and complying with the law. They also have to fulfill any obligations they have to another party under a contract.
In Washington, someone who causes the death of another person through a wrongful act could face a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful acts include violations of the law. Drunk driving is a perfect example of a wrongful act that might lead to a wrongful death claim.
Negligence can also lead to wrongful death claims. Failing to properly maintain a building or a piece of machinery could be negligence, as could behaving in a way that puts others at risk. Finally, defaults can lead to wrongful death claims. Defaults involve not following through with an obligation.
If you have proof that a default, criminal behavior or negligence directly contributed to the death of your loved one, then you may be in a position to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against either an individual or a business whose failings caused your loss.
Wrongful death claims are an alternative form of justice
Many people turn to the criminal justice system to hold someone accountable for a tragic loss. However, criminal charges aren’t always possible after a wrongful death. Even if the state does bring charges, it’s possible that the other party could defend against those charges.
A wrongful death claim can lead to the courts declaring someone responsible for your loss and also ordering them to compensate your family for the practical implications of the tragedy. Knowing your rights under Washington’s wrongful death laws can help you push for justice in the wake of a tragedy.