Sean Heldt had been laying in a coma for almost six months at Harborview Medical Center when he passed away on November 7th, a few weeks shy of his 25th birthday. Heldt’s died as a result of a May 25, 2007 accident on Interstate-90 when the car he was driving was hit head-on by a man with a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit.
The intoxicated driver and his 2-year old son were killed instantly. Hedt’s girlfriend, Christina Grimsley, 26, was also killed instantly. The only survivor of the crash was Grimsley’s infant daughter, who was in a car seat during the crash.
When a person is killed as a result of an accident the ensuing claim is characterized under Washington law as “wrongful death”. Even though a substantial amount of time passed between the time Sean Heldt was injured and eventually died, the claim against the estate of the at-fault driver would still be characterized as a wrongful death claim.
Under Washington law wrongful death claims have dramatically different values depending on a number of factors. One of the biggest factors is whether the person who died has statutory beneficiaries. Statutory beneficiaries can include spouses, children and parents that were dependent financially on the deceased person.
For more information on this subject, pleqase refer to the section on wrongful death.