Updated on: 6/14/2021
An off-duty officer from the Seattle Police Department was tragically killed while attempting to help victims of a crash on I-5 early Sunday morning.
The accident took place around 1:15 a.m. near South Forest Street. It was reported that the off-duty officer had just finished her shift when she happened upon a three-car collision. She pulled over to assist victims of the crash when a car that was not involved struck her. Authorities said that she died at the scene.
The crash that the officer was assisting with was a result of traffic backup due to a multi-car pileup a little further south near the Spokane Street onramp. Washington State Patrol said that the person who struck the officer remained at the scene and has been cooperative in the investigation.
Legal Rights for Families of Wrongful Death Victims
Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult, but can be even more emotionally taxing if the loss comes as a result of someone else’s negligence. As this case is still under investigation, it is unclear whether it would be determined to be a wrongful death. However, in cases like these, there is usually some sort of recovery option for the aggrieved family members of the victim.
An update in Washington state law, sparked by the Ride the Ducks crash on the Aurora bridge in 2015, loosened restrictions on wrongful death claims and made it more accessible for the families of victims to recover compensation for the loss of their loved one. According to RCW 4.20.010, a wrongful death is one caused by “the wrongful act, neglect or default of another person”. The most important change came to RCW 4.20.020 which expanded the beneficiary list to include parents and siblings.
In this case, the officer’s father was mentioned as having given an interview to The Seattle Times, so he may be able to bring a claim against one or more policies depending on how the investigation goes.
Consulting with an Attorney After a Serious Accident
Another important piece to consider in a situation like this is that Washington is a contributory negligence state. That means that even if the victim is found to be at-fault by any percentage, a claim can still be made. Determining whether contributory negligence is a relevant factor can be complicated, and cnosulting with an attorney may be in the best interests of victims and their loved ones.
Because cases like these can be so complicated, it may be best to meet with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can go over the details of the case and help determine what claims to make. Davis Law Group has an excellent record representing victims of serious accidents. Contact our office at (206) 727-4000 or use the confidential contact form on this page to request a free case review.