washington wrongful death statute of limitations

For most people, dealing with the death of a loved one is unimaginable. When tragedy strikes, the victim’s family is often left confused and seeking relief for their untimely loss.

Luckily, a victim’s family may have some relief through state law with a wrongful death action. However, this is all contingent upon the timeline of Washington’s wrongful death statute of limitations.

Washington state law provides that a victim’s family has 3 years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the victim’s family has not filed within that time frame, any claims the family may have had under the Washington wrongful death statute are barred.

For a free consultation with one of our wrongful death lawyers, please contact us online or call 509-866-4166 today.

Exceptions to Washington Wrongful Death Statute Of Limitations

If your wrongful death claim appears to be time barred, there may be an exception. 

The Discovery Rule

Based on the discovery rule, the wrongful death lawsuit statute of limitations can be extended if the person who has a claim did not immediately discover, and could not have discovered, that the victim’s death was wrongful.

Once the discovery of a wrongful death occurs, the time limit begins to run. Even if you believe your claim is time barred based on the Washington wrongful death statute of limitations, contact us now for a free consultation.

Absence from the State

The discovery rule is not the only rule that might toll the time limit for the statute of limitations. If a person commits an act leading to the wrongful death of another and they subsequently leave the state, the statute of limitation may toll until their return to Washington State.

A person cannot simply leave the state and wait until the victim’s family loses their opportunity to file a claim based on the statute of limitations. State law recognizes the rights of potential wrongful death claimants by, in certain circumstances, allowing the clock for the statute of limitations to begin running once the liable party returns. 

Even if you think an exception might apply, it’s essential to get started on your claim as soon as possible. The attorneys at Kapuza Lighty, PLLC can help you determine how much time you have left to file your claim.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Keep in mind that in Washington State, it is typically the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate who files the claim. Although the personal representative has the responsibility to file and pursue the claim, any damages awarded go to the person’s surviving family members.

These family members usually consist of the person’s spouse, domestic partner, children, and stepchildren. If the person did not have a partner or children, then damages would go to their parents or siblings.

We Can Help

The attorneys at Kapuza Lighty, PLLC are experienced trial lawyers with over 50 years of combined experience. We regularly deal with negligence matters just like yours in Yakima and Yakima County. Not only do we have experience, but we get results.

We have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients and seek to provide you with the same zealous representation that will achieve the best results for your case.

If you believe that you have a claim for wrongful death under the Washington wrongful death statute, reach out to our firm online or call 509-866-4166 today to schedule a free consultation. 


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5