A wrongful death occurs when a person dies as a result of the negligence or misconduct of another person, company, or entity. It can be the consequence of a car crash, medical malpractice, use of dangerous products, unsafe premises, or from another fatal event.
Losing a loved one triggers grief, sadness, and sorrow, especially when the death is sudden and caused by a negligent act. During this time of grieving, your family may see income diminish and experience a large financial debt from medical bills. Unfortunately, creditors will be unsympathetic about your circumstances.
Our personal injury lawyers in Washington, DC have represented families in wrongful death lawsuits for more than 40 years. In addition to obtaining compensation for the tragic loss of a loved one, we can help families obtain a sense of justice stemming from the devastating event.
According to Washington, DC law, a wrongful death suit can be filed if the death of an individual was “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or corporation.”
Examples of wrongful death lawsuits include:
Let’s say a drunk driver gets into a car accident that kills the other driver. In order for the family of the victim to bring a valid claim against the drunk driver, a wrongful death lawyer will need to prove the following factors:
Our DC wrongful death attorneys in Washington, DC have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to investigate and prosecute wrongful death claims. Our nationally-recognized lawyers guide our clients through difficult and confusing times. We do so with an unwavering commitment to obtain just settlements and verdicts. We always offer a free consultation.
We have recovered millions of dollars in wrongful death claims, including recovering more than $17 million for the families of victims of a recent crash in Washington, DC. We urge you to consult with an attorney as soon as practical. As with most types of civil cases, an early investigation increases the potential for obtaining justice for your loved one’s death.
There are some important time limits to take into consideration with respect to a wrongful death lawsuit. Understandably, while a family mourns the loss of a loved one, filing a lawsuit is the last thing on your mind.
Generally, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is as follows:
These are the general statutes of limitations, and under certain circumstances, the statute may be shorter or longer in a particular case. Our mission is to provide the very highest level of legal representation to our clients in an effective and compassionate manner.
A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a personal representative of the victim. For example, a spouse can file a lawsuit on behalf of their deceased spouse. If the victim wasn’t married or had a partner, then the wrongful death lawsuit can be brought about by the next of kin. This includes:
In many cases, those who are the closest familial relations to the victim will receive damages, especially those who relied on the victim for financial support.
Even if criminal proceedings have begun, you can still file a wrongful death case in Washington, DC. For example, if someone is on trial for manslaughter, a lawsuit can still be filed on behalf of the family to receive damages for the death of their loved one.
The amount of money awarded to the surviving family members is based on the losses they experienced following the death of their loved one. If the deceased had a will, then the estate’s personal representative will be responsible for distributing the damages among the family members. However, if the victim died intestate (without a will) then the damages will be distributed in the following way:
One or multiple parties can be held responsible for the death of a loved one. For example, in a medical malpractice case, the family could hold the medical professional, the healthcare facility, and any of the medical staff responsible for the accident. Other examples include a restaurant or bar that overserved a drunk driver and allowed them to drive home; automobile manufacturers who created a vehicle defect that resulted in a fatal accident; and a trucking company that didn’t train a truck driver properly.
Damages can be awarded to the survivors to cover any expenses that arose from the accident. These expenses include:
In some rare cases, punitive damages may be rewarded as an attempt to punish the defendant for their conduct and prevent any other individual or organization for acting in a similar way.
However, in Washington, DC, beneficiaries are not awarded any damages for grief, mental distress, or the loss of affection. Also, there is no set limit on how much money can be awarded in damages for a wrongful death lawsuit.