Wrongful death claims are lawsuits brought by the survivors of a deceased family member on behalf of the deceased loved one. Wrongful death lawsuits are filed when the death was caused by negligence, carelessness, recklessness, or intentional conduct that would have led to a lawsuit had the family member survived. As an example, common wrongful death cases include slip and fall fatalities, defective product fatalities, and fatal car accidents.
If you have lost a loved one and you are contemplating a wrongful death action, you should consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer. An attorney will provide support and help you advocate for your rights as a survivor and for the rights of your loved one. Hiring a Washington, DC, wrongful death lawyer ensures that you have someone to fight for your rights while your family heals.
Wrongful death claims are lawsuits brought under the wrongful death statute of your state. Washington, DC, defines wrongful death as a death following an injury that was “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or corporation.” DC Code §16-2701. Each state has its own rules on wrongful death, but generally, only immediate family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit, and the money awarded will go to the family members or the victim’s estate.
Who Can File for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Washington, DC?
When a person is killed by the wrongful act of another person, their close family may have the right to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. In Washington, DC, wrongful death lawsuits must be brought in the name of the Personal Representative of the deceased person. DC Code § 16-2702. The beneficiaries of compensation from a wrongful death claim in Washington, DC generally include:
If the victim was not married, the victim’s parents were no longer living, or the victim did not have children, another family member such as a sibling or other next of kin can recover compensation if they can prove that they were dependent on the victim financially.
How Do I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A lawyer’s role is to help you understand the legal process. The first step in filing a claim is the preliminary work, such as determining fault and calculating damages. After this phase is finished, the next step is filing the claim. Making a mistake in the filing process could cost you and making a mistake about the statute of limitations could result in losing the right to your claim. It’s important to have a lawyer coach you through this process, as the consequences of filing incorrectly can be significant. The next step is the discovery phase, where both sides gather evidence and prepare for trial. The last step is either settling with the other party ahead of trial or presenting your case to a judge or jury. The trial lawyers at Regan Zambri Long are experienced with both negotiating settlements and presenting the case at trial and have the resources to represent you well. You can call or message today to get advice about your claim and schedule a free consultation.
What are the Different Types of Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death claims can result from many types of accidents or negligence. Some of the most common types of wrongful death claims are:
How Do I Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death is a type of tort, which is a type of civil action for negligent or reckless actions brought on behalf of the deceased person. Wrongful death claims can be complicated to prove without an attorney. You must show that the accident caused the death, meaning you will need to gather evidence, understand the value of the case, and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. To prove wrongful death, you must show each element of a tort claim:
How Much Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
This will depend on the age, health, and future earning capability of the deceased loved one. If your loved one was young or had dependents, you could recover more than if the victim was older, in poor health, retired, or single with no dependents. Then, the proceeds are divided to adequately compensate each party based on their loss when it comes to the lost loved one.
How Much Do Wrongful Death Cases Usually Settle For?
There is not an average settlement number for a wrongful death claim because each claim is different and small factual differences can create very different settlement amounts. However, after an initial consultation, an attorney can predict an amount of compensation based on the specific facts of your case. Wrongful death settlements generally range from several thousand to millions.
Regan Zambri Long has significant experience litigating wrongful death claims and has been assisting clients for over forty years. Some of Regan’s most successful wrongful death verdicts and settlements are:
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Claim?
There is no set amount of time it takes to settle a wrongful death claim. Like the amount of compensation, there are many variables. When liability (duty, breach, and causation) is already established or is not in question (like in a strict product liability claim), the only variable left to decide is what compensation is reasonable. Claims like this will move much quicker than claims with complicated liability issues, evidence issues, or discovery disputes. Sometimes, a wrongful death claim will settle in just months, but most wrongful death cases take longer. Depending on the length of the discovery phase of the lawsuit and how busy the court’s schedule is, it can take years to reach a resolution.
Damages in wrongful death cases are awarded to compensate the family of the victim for any expenses from the accident and to compensate the family for future expenses or lost wages based on the loss of the loved one. Common damages in wrongful death claims are:
Statutes of limitations, or how long after the death or injury, vary by state. It is in your best interest to work with a lawyer who understands these deadlines. Regan Zambri Long practices throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. The statute of limitations in these three locations is:
If you have lost a loved one and you are thinking about filing a wrongful death action, consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer. An attorney will provide support, and they will advocate for your family’s rights. Our wrongful death lawyers have been representing survivors in wrongful death suits for over thirty years and have the experience, knowledge, and resources to secure compensation for wrongful death claims. We have recovered millions of dollars in wrongful death claims, and take pride in providing the highest quality legal representation for families who have lost loved ones. Our attorneys handle cases in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Washington DC