Three teens die in a fiery gas pipeline explosion. Two are minors; their grief-stricken parents sue for the pain and suffering of losing their children. Another is 18, however. And under the law, his equally grief-stricken parents are left unable to do the same thing.
That's one of several real-life tragedies that Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, says underscores the need for his HB 1873. It would allow parents of children as old as 25 or those who are developmentally disabled to sue for pain and suffering when someone's responsible for their child's wrongful death.
"The bill rights what has been an ignorance of the family relationship," Ormsby argued this week. Largely gone are the days, he said, when children were fully-independent, launched adults at 18.
Some lawmakers disagree. Eighteen is the age when you can vote, can be sued, and become legally responsible for yourself, pointed out Rep. Jay Rodne, R-Snoqualmie.
It's impossible to value a human life, Rodne said. Yet he said he didn't feel Ormsby and the bill's other proponents had made a good case for extending the age limit.
"There's been no catastrophe in our system of civil justice," he said.
The bill passed, 64 to 32.