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Wrongful Death Claims in Cross-Border Incidents

Losing a loved one can be extremely painful. When their death occurs needlessly due to the negligence or oversight of another party, it might be even worse. If you feel that you deserve compensation following the unjust loss of someone close to you, you may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death claims can become complex when the deceased experienced their accident while they were in another country or jurisdiction. Our experienced cross-border personal injury lawyers at Border Solutions Law Group are here to help you navigate your claim, bring evidence to court, and pursue damages you may be entitled to. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one and wish to seek compensation, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a civil suit that seeks compensation for surviving beneficiaries of a person who died as a result of another party’s negligence. A wrongful death may result from the negligence of an individual, company, organization or other body. It may also apply to deaths that occur as a result of an intentional act, like homicide or assault.

Wrongful death claims are often pursued as a result of:

Beneficiaries are normally immediate or close family members of the deceased who are named in a will or other official document, like a spouse, common-law partner, or children. Who is eligible to be a beneficiary is decided by the laws of individual jurisdictions. For beneficiaries to recover damages from a wrongful death, it must be found that the deceased lost their life due to negligence or deliberate cause by another party. It must also be demonstrated that surviving beneficiaries have experienced significant losses following the deceased’s passing.

Wrongful Death Claims in Washington State vs. British Columbia

When a wrongful death happens across the border, pursuing a claim may differ depending on the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. British Columbia and Washington State both have similar statutes that govern wrongful death claims. In Washington State, the Wrongful Death Statute defines who can file wrongful death claims, what damages can be recovered, and the statute of limitations that applies to each case. In British Columbia, the Family Compensations Act provides for the same material.

For a wrongful death suit to be pursued in either jurisdiction, all potential beneficiaries must select a single representative to bring their claim. This may be an executor named by the beneficiaries, or a personal representative who is appointed by a probate board and acts on behalf of the estate. It is important to note that even if multiple beneficiaries exist, they may only pursue one joint lawsuit after a wrongful death occurs. In Washington State, beneficiaries have 3 years from the date of the relevant accident to file their wrongful death claim, while in British Columbia beneficiaries have 2 years from the date of the accident to file their claim.

In British Columbia and Washington State, the eligibility of beneficiaries is decided by the relevant governing statute. In both jurisdictions, beneficiaries normally include immediate family members like spouses or children. In less frequent cases, beneficiaries might also include parents, grandparents or siblings of the deceased.

What Damages Can Be Recovered?

There are a variety of damages that may be recovered during a wrongful death claim. Types of compensation available differ significantly from regular negligence claims. This is because beneficiaries may seek restitution for both economic and non-economic losses they have experienced due to the passing of the deceased. Compensations may also differ according to the country in which the claim is being pursued. Economic damages that can be pursued by beneficiaries during a wrongful death claim might include:

  • Funeral burial expenses
  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • And more

Non-economic damages might consist of:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship (normally for a surviving spouse)
  • Loss of care and guidance
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages, if the claimants can prove that the person who caused the wrongful death acted in a malicious or vindictive way
  • And more

Damages awarded during a wrongful death claim will depend on the accident itself and the final decision of a court or judge.

Contact Our Cross-Border Injury Lawyers Today

When your family loses a loved one, it can be greatly distressing. If you believe that their death was caused by the careless actions of another, you may be entitled to compensation.

Gathering and presenting evidence of negligence in courts across the border, or dealing with multiple claimants at once, can be complex. At Border Solutions Law Group, our experienced cross-border lawyers can help you and your family file a wrongful death claim in another country and pursue the compensation you deserve. With dual-licensed lawyers in both British Columbia and Washington State, we can assist no matter what side of the border your claim is being brought on. Schedule your free initial consultation today for advice about what may be possible for you.

Disclaimer: For specific legal advice on your cross-border personal injury matter, please consult with a personal injury lawyer. The content in this article is not intended to act as legal advice and is instead intended to act as a general overview of a legal topic.