Can I File a Claim After a Fatal Car Accident?

If you lose your loved one in a fatal car accident, you may have legal options. Sometimes an accident is just that, an accident, but in other cases someone else’s negligence is the obvious reason for a crash. When you want to hold someone responsible for the pain that they have caused, a Washington, D.C. wrongful death lawyer can help you file a claim and seek out the compensation that you and your family deserve.

Who Can File a Claim After a Fatal Accident?

Depending on where you are located, the answer to this question can differ slightly. In Washington, D.C. and Virginia, the executor of the deceased’s estate will be the one to file a claim on behalf of a living family member. The surviving spouse gets first priority, with children, parents, and siblings of the deceased getting next priority in that order.

In Maryland, the surviving spouse can file a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, children and then parents can file a claim. If there are no surviving parents or children, anyone related to the deceased by marriage or blood may be able to sue if they can demonstrate their dependence on the deceased.

Can I Sue For Punitive Damages After an Accident?

When you sue for wrongful death damages, your compensation is meant to make up for the economic costs of the accident along with the psychological trauma you and your family have experienced as a result of losing a loved one. Damages are typically designed to account for:

  • The medical expenses of your loved one
  • The deceased’s economic contribution to the household
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased and their loved ones
  • Loss of companionship, mentorship, or consortium

Sometimes there is the chance to pursue additional punitive damages. Unlike wrongful death damages, these are not meant to make you “whole” after a tragedy. Instead, these damages are meant to punish someone who acted with extreme recklessness or negligence.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File My Claim?

You do not need a lawyer to file a claim, but an attorney can do a lot to help you build an effective case. Let one of our experienced lawyers gather evidence, consult with expert witnesses, and negotiate with insurers and other parties on your behalf. You focus on your own health and your family.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

You do not have an unlimited time to sue for damages. In Washington, D.C. and Virginia, you have two years to file a claim. Maryland gives you three years. This statute of limitations starts to run out on the day that your loved one passes away, not on the day the accident occurred.

Contact Our Law Firm

When you want to learn more about your legal options and how our personal injury attorneys can help you file a claim, contact Trombly & Singer, PLLC. We can schedule a free case consultation for you and tell you more about how we can be of assistance.