Did a loved one die due to someone’s negligence? Learn if you are eligible to file a wrongful death action and the statute of limitations to do so.

Are You Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Action After the Death of a Loved One in Washington State?


In Washington, a wrongful death action can be brought if a person's death is caused by the negligence, wrongful act, or default of a person, business, or governmental entity. The right to pursue this type of claim is pursuant to Washington’s statutory laws, and only certain people are entitled to bring a lawsuit for compensation. If a loved one died as a result of negligence, you need the assistance of an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine your eligibility to pursue a wrongful death action and to negotiate your settlement.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action?

In Washington, the individuals eligible to file a wrongful death action may be different from the people entitled to compensation due to the death of their loved one. The following parties can file a wrongful death action under Washington law:

  • Spouse or domestic partner who is registered under Washington law
  • Deceased person’s child, children, or stepchildren
  • Parents or siblings if they were financially dependent on the deceased person and the deceased person had no spouse, registered domestic partner, child, children or stepchildren
  • Personal representative of the deceased person’s estate on behalf of the heirs—which may not be the personal representative

What Is the Time Period to File a Wrongful Death Action?

Like with other personal injury actions in the state of Washington, there is a statute of limitations—or time limit—to file a wrongful death action. The statute of limitations is three years from the date of your loved one’s death. You must file your lawsuit against any negligent parties within this time period.

What happens if you wait beyond three years to file your lawsuit? The judge will almost certainly dismiss your complaint. While you can still attempt to negotiate a settlement with the negligent party’s insurance company, the reality is that it is unlikely the insurance company would be willing to pay you anything.

Do you have questions about your right to file a wrongful death action due to the death of a family member? Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to get your questions answered and learn how we can help you hold the negligent party accountable.