Time to Fix the Wrongful Death Law in Washington

Some of our firm’s clients were featured on this story about an issue currently being debated by the Washington legislature. It’s a really important issue.  A friend of mine (and an excellent medmal lawyer) shared the video on Facebook and described the issue this way:


I completely agree with him. I’ve had to explain this to potential clients several times. Nobody cares about it until it’s their family. But the law is unfair and needs to change. It’s also perverse. Under the current law, it is almost always cheaper to kill an adult who is unmarried and has no kids than it is to simply injure them. The same is true of someone with parents who live in another country. Why do we want to make it cheaper to kill these people?

The law is also wildly, and unnecessarily, complex. For example, this is a diagram I made of the current law.

wrongful death

All of this is to say — I think it’s great the Washington legislature is finally working to improve this law.

For those of you who care about patient safety and live in Washington, I would really appreciate it if you’d place a short call to your state legislator saying just: “I support the proposed changes to the wrongful death law.”  The laws in question are SB 5747 and HB 2262. You can get the phone number/email for your reps and senator here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

I’ve spoken to legislators, and I can assure you these phone calls make a difference when they come from the legislator’s district. So please, make the effort. It may make the difference someday between someone you care about getting justice or getting shut out of the courthouse.