Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

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Can Parents File a Wrongful Death Claim on Behalf of Adult Children?

Posted Friday, February 2, 2018 by Chris Thayer

On his second day of work for a landscaping company in 2014, 19-year-old Bradley Hogue died when he got caught in the augur of a bark-blower truck. Pacific Topsoils pleaded guilty to violating worker safety regulations and received a $100,000 fine, which is the maximum penalty under Washington law. The state Department of Labor and Industries also agreed to lower the fine it originally imposed on the company in 2014 from $199,000 to $100,000.

But what about the Hogue family?

The 19-year-old was not married, and he did not have any children. Neither his parents nor his siblings were financially dependent on him. Under those circumstances, Washington law does not permit a family to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Washington is one of only three states that does not allow financially independent parents to file wrongful death claims on behalf of adult children. Lawmakers and advocacy groups hope to change this law so that families like the Hogues can seek the compensation they deserve.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington

Under current law, certain family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against anyone whose negligence or wrongful act results in their loved one’s death. Eligible survivors are:

The statute of limitations (time limit) for filing a wrongful death claim in Washington is three years from the date of the death.

Eligible survivors may seek the following damages:

Proposed Changes to Washington’s Wrongful Death Law

There are currently two companion bills pending in the state House and Senate that would allow parents to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of an adult child who is not married and does not have any children, whether or not they were financially dependent on that child. The legislation would also, among other provisions, allow out-of-state parents to file claims for adult children who are killed in Washington.

There is still a long way to go before this bill could become law. It is currently under committee review in both chambers. The bill would then have to be considered by the full legislative chambers. If it passes both the House and Senate, any differences would have to be reconciled before making its way to the governor’s desk for signature or veto.

Our attorneys will keep abreast of any developments that affect your rights under the law.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if your loved one was killed because of another person’s negligence or wrongful act. Our experienced attorneys will help recover the fullest extent of compensation to which you are entitled under Washington law, including medical costs, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and other related damages.