Washington, DC Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death cases can be some of the most sensitive cases we deal with. Especially when the death is due to another party’s negligence, it can be a tough pill to swallow. Tragically, a wrongful death claim may be the result of a vehicular accident, a medical mistake, or even a fall case. In any case, the most important thing to do is to make sure you’re not going through this emotional time alone. Having an attorney that has decades of experience handling wrongful death cases can be the difference between a devastating loss, and having everything crumble under the stress of having to do everything yourself. When the death results from the negligence of someone else, Gelb & Gelb, P.C., and experienced personal injury attorney Roger Gelb is available to help.
When you lose a loved one due to the carelessness of others, you may have a wrongful death claim under state law. Surviving family members may qualify for compensation from the parties who are responsible for the fatal accident. Discuss your rights and legal options with a Washington, DC wrongful death lawyer.
Suing for Wrongful Death
A wrongful death case involves any form of unnatural death due to someone else’s negligence. The personal representative of the estate of the deceased person is the appropriate person to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Various people may qualify as the personal representative of the estate if the deceased individuals die intestate, or without a will, such as spouses, domestic partners, or children.
Filing deadlines exist for wrongful death suits, regardless of whom is named as representative of the estate of the deceased party. Under DC Code § 16-2702, personal representatives generally have two years from the date of the death of their loved one in which to file their claims. Although there are some exceptions, individuals should take care to meet this deadline to avoid losing their chance to seek compensation for the wrongful death from the responsible parties.
Proving Liability in Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims can arise from various situations, including car accidents, slips and falls, and workplace accidents. To prove liability in a wrongful death claim, individuals must prove that the death resulted from an incident involving negligence or recklessness. This misconduct must play a substantial role in causing the death. More specifically, four elements must generally be present for a legally valid wrongful claim to exist under D.C. Code § 16-2701:
- The wrongful actions caused the death, whether in whole or in part
- Negligent or wrongful behavior led to the death
- The deceased person has surviving dependents, such as a spouse, children, or others
- The death has resulted in financial damages to the surviving dependents
Liability in a wrongful death case may include intentional misconduct, but also momentary carelessness. Individuals, businesses, and government entities all can be liable for wrongful death claims. Due to the potential complexity of these claims, however, individuals may wish to get the advice of a wrongful death lawyer in Washington, DC.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
Many relatives of the deceased persons may be eligible to obtain compensation through wrongful death claims. In most cases, the closest immediate relatives to the deceased qualify for damages. However, if some immediate relatives do not exist, then others may be eligible.
Examples of relatives that may qualify for damages in wrongful death cases include the surviving spouse, children, parents, and grandparents, among other relatives. Typically, the relatives who relied on the deceased person for financial support are entitled to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. The potential damages in a wrongful death claim can include:
- Funeral and burial costs for the deceased
- Loss of future income
- Loss of companionship, consortium, and parental training and guidance
- Punitive damages if the misconduct was particularly egregious
No amount of money can replace the lost life. However, a settlement award from a wrongful death claim can provide financial security in a time of considerable uncertainty for the family of the deceased. A wrongful death attorney may assist surviving family members with seeking compensation for the death of their loved one.
Consult a Washington, DC Wrongful Death Attorney for Advice
The death of a close family member can be an overwhelming and traumatic experience. From heart-breaking instances of children dying as a result of a car accident, to the elderly who ultimately succumbed to their injuries caused by another’s mistake, the death of a loved one is difficult. When that death results from the preventable misconduct of others, however, the loss can be even more devastating. These cases require an experienced attorney to make sure those loved ones left behind are compensated for their over-whelming loss.
Consulting a Washington, DC wrongful death lawyer about your legal options may allow you to hold the negligent parties accountable for their conduct. Roger Gelb could investigate the circumstances surrounding the death and gather the evidence necessary to build a robust wrongful death claim. While you focus on healing your family, we could work toward getting a settlement that eases some of your financial concerns. When you are ready, our dedicated and compassionate legal team is here to help.