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Wrongful death suit?

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Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Designated beneficiaries and/or estate of the deceased have standing.
The representative of the estate brings the action on behalf of the beneficiaries of the action.

https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.20.010
Wrongful death—Right of action.
When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another his or her personal representative may maintain an action for damages against the person causing the death; and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount, in law, to a felony.

https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.20.020
Wrongful death—Beneficiaries of action.
Every such action shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, child or children, including stepchildren, of the person whose death shall have been so caused. If there be no wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, or such child or children, such action may be maintained for the benefit of the parents, sisters, or brothers, who may be dependent upon the deceased person for support, and who are resident within the United States at the time of his or her death.
In every such action the jury may give such damages as, under all circumstances of the case, may to them seem just.
 


quincy

Senior Member
I previously added that a personal representative should be appointed. You might have missed the addition. I apparently completed my edit at the same time you posted. :)
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
Oh, and your Dad's widow is the one who should have standing for a lawsuit, not you.
That's not correct. Under Washington state law, a child also has standing to bring a wrongful death claim:

Every such action shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, child or children, including stepchildren, of the person whose death shall have been so caused. If there be no wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, or such child or children, such action may be maintained for the benefit of the parents, sisters, or brothers, who may be dependent upon the deceased person for support, and who are resident within the United States at the time of his or her death.

In every such action the jury may give such damages as, under all circumstances of the case, may to them seem just.

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.20.020. The wrongful death statute allows the plaintiff to seek noneconomic damages against the defendant. In addition to that, the estate may also sue for economic damages under Washington's general survival statute even though the estate is not named as a party that may sue for wrongful death. The Washington Court of Appeals explained:

The general survival statute preserves all causes of action that a decedent could have brought had he or she survived. Otani ex rel. Shigaki v. Broudy, 151 Wash.2d 750, 755–56, 92 P.3d 192 (2004). The purpose of awarding damages under the survival statute is to remedy the common law anomaly that allowed tort victims to sue if they survived, but barred their claims if they died. Otani, 151 Wash.2d at 755, 92 P.3d 192. The general survival statute provides in part,

All causes of action by a person or persons against another person or persons shall survive to the personal representatives of the former and against the personal representatives of the latter, whether such actions arise on contract or otherwise, and whether or not such actions would have survived at the common law or prior to the date of enactment of this section: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That the personal representative shall only be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional distress, or humiliation personal to and suffered by a deceased on behalf of those beneficiaries enumerated in RCW 4.20.020, and such damages are recoverable regardless of whether or not the death was occasioned by the injury that is the basis for the action.

RCW 4.20.046(1) (emphasis added). By its language, the general survival statute adopts the “two-tiered” system of beneficiaries featured in the wrongful death statute for noneconomic damages.
¶ 16 But the statute's plain language does not preclude David's estate from recovering purely economic damages despite the fact that Earl is not a statutory beneficiary. Accordingly, we agree that the superior court erred when it dismissed Earl's claim for economic damages.

Vernon v. Aacres Allvest, LLC, 183 Wash. App. 422, 430–31, 333 P.3d 534, 538 (2014)(Italics in original).
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
That's not correct. Under Washington state law, a child also has standing to bring a wrongful death claim:
4.20.10 seems to allow the representative of the estate the standing to bring the claim for the benefit of the beneficiaries. I'm not sure that means that the child has standing, unless the child is also the representative of the estate, of course.
 
Yes, it's pretty sucky. A man gets randomly shot by a "recovering alcoholic" who is blotto to the point of blacking out, and all one of his kids can think of is, how to sue.

How about, how to prevent the murderer from murdering ever again? Or, how to help the wounded?
The shooter is already in custody facing 110 years as stated, what more do you want me to do with him exactly?

Would you not want to sue someone that shot your dad, if you could?
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
4.20.10 seems to allow the representative of the estate the standing to bring the claim for the benefit of the beneficiaries. I'm not sure that means that the child has standing, unless the child is also the representative of the estate, of course.
If there is an estate then the Washington case law seems clear it must be the personal representative that must sue. But if there isn't an estate, the court in Vernon seems to imply a child or one of the other listed persons might be able to bring suit, referring to § 4.20.20:

But the statutory framework also places limitations on who may bring such an action. RCW 4.20.020. RCW 4.20.020 provides in part,

Every such action shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, child or children, including stepchildren, of the person whose death shall have been so caused. If there be no wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, or such child or children, such action may be maintained for the benefit of the parents, sisters, or brothers, who may be dependent upon the deceased person for support, and who are resident within the United States at the time of his or her death
Vernon v. Aacres Allvest, LLC, 183 Wash. App. 422, 428, 333 P.3d 534, 537 (2014). So I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility that a child might be able to bring a suit in this instance. That's something to discuss with a Washington personal injury lawyer.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Aside from the fact there is always an estate ( ;) ), in this instance, there is an estate worth ~$2,000,000, and there is a will (per the OP).

EDIT: I'm sorry - this information is spelled out in the OP's other thread about contesting the will because the OP was disinherited.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
The shooter is already in custody facing 110 years as stated, what more do you want me to do with him exactly?
You show up and make a victim impact statement. You make sure any time he tries to appeal or get parole, that someone from the family is there.

Would you not want to sue someone that shot your dad, if you could?
I'd want to use my time productively. My Dad is elderly, so a wrongful death suit wouldn't yield much $ to the family. But, moreover, I'd want to know what happened to lead a formerly law abiding person to randomly murder my father, and I would want to prevent others from choosing such a destructive life path.
If there is an estate then the Washington case law seems clear it must be the personal representative that must sue. But if there isn't an estate, the court in Vernon seems to imply a child or one of the other listed persons might be able to bring suit, referring to § 4.20.20:

But the statutory framework also places limitations on who may bring such an action. RCW 4.20.020. RCW 4.20.020 provides in part,

Every such action shall be for the benefit of the wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, child or children, including stepchildren, of the person whose death shall have been so caused. If there be no wife, husband, state registered domestic partner, or such child or children, such action may be maintained for the benefit of the parents, sisters, or brothers, who may be dependent upon the deceased person for support, and who are resident within the United States at the time of his or her death
Vernon v. Aacres Allvest, LLC, 183 Wash. App. 422, 428, 333 P.3d 534, 537 (2014). So I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility that a child might be able to bring a suit in this instance. That's something to discuss with a Washington personal injury lawyer.
TM, there is a new will. Everything goes to the new wife (<1 year). OP only learned of this after Dad's passing. The other 4 children knew that the will had been changed. OP is also upset about that; OP had expected to inherit $600K.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Anger can be (and usually is) a part of the grieving process when a loved one dies (regardless of what caused the death).

Anger over being disinherited is a totally separate issue ... and is sad on a whole different level of sadness.

I hope that the family finds justice in court, that the drunk driver is convicted and sentenced to a long prison term, and that the family finds comfort together rather than fighting over money. Money is such a stupid thing to fight over.
 
I have no idea what a wrongful death case is worth, I am merely asking you guys what you think as I am exploring my options.
I tried to talk with some lawyers and they want $300 to talk...

I would like to hire a private investigator to look into this guy but, I am not rich, and I am not getting an inheritance so perhaps that is not a good idea for me to do financially. It will most likely end fruitless anyways, since it appears to be random.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
I have no idea what a wrongful death case is worth, I am merely asking you guys what you think as I am exploring my options.
I tried to talk with some lawyers and they want $300 to talk...

I would like to hire a private investigator to look into this guy but, I am not rich, and I am not getting an inheritance so perhaps that is not a good idea for me to do financially. It will most likely end fruitless anyways, since it appears to be random.
As far as I can tell, your father passed just about 2 weeks ago. It is really far too early to worry about this type of thing. Once the representative of the estate is established in his/her role, speak to him/her about filing this case, as s/he is the one who will be filing any wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate for your benefit.
 
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