Take a moment and think about which of these four scenarios are reasonable. Assume for each case the person died in a car crash that was not their fault:

Case 1.  A jury awards $2,000,000 to the parents of a 17 year-old who died the day before she turned 18.

Case 2.  A jury awards $0.00 to the parents of an 18 year-old who died the day after she turned 18.

Case 3.  A jury awards $2,000,000 to the retired parents of a 35 year who hadn’t seen his parents in 5 years but had been helping them pay their rent

Case 4.  A jury awards $0.00 to the retired parents of a 35 year old who had been living with them, providing emotional and domestic support but not financial support.

 

What if I told you that the law in Washington does not even allow juries in scenario 2 and 4 to make a decision? In those cases, the parents are not even allowed to bring their case to a jury. The law in Washington does not allow the parents or siblings of an adult to bring a claim for wrongful death unless they were financially dependent upon the decedent. The day your child turns 18 is the day their life has no value to you under Washington law.

Just a few days ago, a local judge dismissed a case against the defendants in the Ride the Duck tragedy that killed 5 people in Seattle. Do you think the legislature should change the law to allow parents to recover damages in cases like these?