Steve Andrews


The focus of this Comment will be the 1993 amendment to Washington's general survival statute. In particular, the goal is to interpret how noneconomic damages for tortious death are to be treated under the new survival statute and to answer the question of what noneconomic damages are available to the victim's survivors. Because of Washington's complex statutory scheme, each of five potentially applicable statutes will be examined for available noneconomic damages, the survivability of these damages, the beneficiaries of the action, and possible duplication of damages. In answering these questions, this comment will also address the issue of survivability of damages for loss of enjoyment of life in addition to compensation for pain, suffering, humiliation, and other personal noneconomic loss. Part One begins by examining each of Washington's wrongful death statutes to determine damage elements available under each. Then a general overview of the survival statutes is given, followed by an in-depth discussion of the 1993 amendment to the general survival statute. This Comment concludes that the 1993 amended language in the general survival statute was intended to close a loophole in the law and that the effect of the language is simply to parallel the damages already available under the special survival statute. In Part Two, specific damage elements for survival actions are examined. Workable definitions corresponding to Washington's case treatment for each of the noneconomic damages are proposed. This Comment recognizes the treatment of loss of enjoyment of life in Kirk v. Washington State University as a fair and workable definition for Washington law. In Part Three, the wrongful death and survival statutes are examined in combination. The focus here is on bringing as many causes of action and elements of damage as possible while avoiding duplication of damages.