Washington State’s wrongful death law, which dates back to 1909, has been updated after much controversy. The legislative change comes in the wake of the 2015 “Ride the Duck’s” crash that resulted in multiple fatalities.
Prior to the changes, the wrongful death law required family members to be US citizens and financially dependent on the adult victim. Many of the victims of the “Ride the Ducks” crash were foreign students with foreign family members. Due to this, some were prevented from seeking justice due to the strict stipulations that were included in the law 100 years ago.
Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the updated language, loosening the strict requirements on the status of victim’s family members. Prior to the legislative changes, The News Tribune reported that Washington State has averaged over 80 wrongful death cases in recent years. Also cited was the belief of the Attorney General’s office that this number would increase by roughly 20% should these laws be updated as proposed. The implication being that a significant number of wrongful deaths have not been pursued due to prior legal restrictions.