Published on Jan 21, 2019

Wrongful death bills are back this year

Contact: Sharon Swanson, Shannon McClelland

HB 1135, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D—Seattle), has a public hearing scheduled in the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, January 23 at 8 am. HB 1135 has a companion bill, SB 5163, sponsored by Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D–Seattle). SB 5163 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on Tuesday, January 22 at 10 am. SB 5163 is scheduled for a committee vote at 10 am on Thursday, January 24.

Both bills, as currently drafted, would significantly expand city tort liability associated with wrongful death claims. Both bills amend the current wrongful death statutes in a few important ways:

  • Removing dependency requirements for claimants;
  • Allows parents to bring an action for adult children over age 18, when that child is unmarried and has no children;
  • Expands noneconomic damages to include the decedent’s pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional distress, or humiliation; and
  • Applies retroactively to all claims that are not time barred, as well as any claims pending in any court on the effective day of the act.

AWC opposes this legislation and will testify in opposition.

 

Dates to remember


SB 5163 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on Tuesday, January 22 at 10 am.

HB 1135 has a public hearing scheduled in the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, January 23 at 8 am.

SB 5163 is scheduled for a committee vote on Thursday, January 24 at 10 am.

  • General government
  • Advocacy
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