The Washington survival statutes are found at RCW 4.20.046 and .060. RCW 4.20.046 is known as the general survival statute. It purports to preserve all claims the decedent could have brought had he or she survived. RCW 4.20.060 is known as the special survival statute, since it specifically relates to injuries that cause death. Together, the statutes purport to preserve the claims the decedent would have had had he or she not died.
A large body of Washington case law has developed describing this statutory scheme, explaining the distinctions between wrongful death and survival claims, and otherwise analyzing the permutations and nuances of the wrongful death and survival statutes.
In reviewing the case law, it is important to keep in mind that the 2019 amendments to the wrongful death and survival laws have, fortunately, liberalized previous limitations to recovery and that the limits discussed in the case law preceding the statute’s amendment may no longer be applicable.
At Budge & Heipt, we largely focus on cases involving wrongful death and sometimes assert state law claims independently or as supplemental claims associated with federal causes of action. Please feel free to contact us if you have a potential case to discuss. The remarks above are no substitute for independent legal research and do not replace the need for lawyers to review the statutes and the case law independently and to advise potential clients accordingly. Periodic reference to the statutes and case law is a must for any attorney who wishes to practice in this area on a regular basis.
If you are a potential client with a case arising from the death of a loved one, please call our office for a free consultation. If you are an attorney considering a potential case and want to discuss a potential case or arrangement regarding co-representation, please feel free contact us here, and we’ll be happy to take the time to talk with you.