What must occur to allow a wrongful death action?

Oct 15, 2022 | Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims are made when a person dies because of someone else’s actions. Not every case may be open for a claim.

Under Washington law, a claim for wrongful death may occur when one person causes the death of another through actions that are neglectful or wrongful.

One note

Some people may think that to make a wrongful death claim, there must be a criminal element. While the death may be a result of the other person’s criminal actions, it is not a requirement. There are cases where the situation is a true accident and the other person did not mean to take a life, but there is still a grounds for a wrongful death claim.


When making a wrongful death claim, the court allows a personal representative to ask for both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are financial losses or expenses related to the death. The noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, loss of companionship and other consequences of the death that may not cost money but take a toll o the survivors.


The personal representative can take the case to court on behalf of the deceased family. The disbursement of damages follows another part of the wrongful death law in Washington, but generally, it will follow the next of kin rules. The person bringing the case will have the burden of proof for not only showing the other party is guilty of the death but also proving the grounds for the requested damages.

A wrongful death happens when one person takes another person’s life whether intentionally or unintentionally.