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4.24.005  <<  4.24.010 >>   4.24.020

RCW 4.24.010

Action for injury or death of child.

A mother or father, or both, who has regularly contributed to the support of his or her minor child, and the mother or father, or both, of a child on whom either, or both, are dependent for support may maintain or join as a party an action as plaintiff for the injury or death of the child.

     This section creates only one cause of action, but if the parents of the child are not married, are separated, or not married to each other damages may be awarded to each plaintiff separately, as the trier of fact finds just and equitable.

     If one parent brings an action under this section and the other parent is not named as a plaintiff, notice of the institution of the suit, together with a copy of the complaint, shall be served upon the other parent: PROVIDED, That notice shall be required only if parentage has been duly established.

     Such notice shall be in compliance with the statutory requirements for a summons. Such notice shall state that the other parent must join as a party to the suit within twenty days or the right to recover damages under this section shall be barred. Failure of the other parent to timely appear shall bar such parent's action to recover any part of an award made to the party instituting the suit.

     In such an action, in addition to damages for medical, hospital, medication expenses, and loss of services and support, damages may be recovered for the loss of love and companionship of the child and for injury to or destruction of the parent-child relationship in such amount as, under all the circumstances of the case, may be just.

[1998 c 237 § 2; 1973 1st ex.s. c 154 § 4; 1967 ex.s. c 81 § 1; 1927 c 191 § 1; Code 1881 § 9; 1877 p 5 § 9; 1873 p 5 § 10; 1869 p 4 § 9; RRS § 184.]

Notes:

     Intent -- 1998 c 237: "It is the intent of this act to address the constitutional issue of equal protection addressed by the Washington state supreme court in Guard v. Jackson, 132 Wn.2d 660 (1997). The legislature intends to provide a civil cause of action for wrongful injury or death of a minor child to a mother or father, or both, if the mother or father has had significant involvement in the child's life, including but not limited to, emotional, psychological, or financial support." [1998 c 237 § 1.]

     Severability -- 1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.