Who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim in D.C.?

Losing a loved one is heartbreaking especially when their death could have been otherwise preventable. Unfortunately, individuals can die at the hands of another due to negligence. In the District of Columbia, wrongful death is defined as a death that is caused by a person or entity’s accidental or intentional wrongful act. Wrongful death claims have strict laws that limit who is eligible to pursue legal action on behalf of the deceased. In the unfortunate event, you have lost a loved one due to negligence, don’t hesitate to contact one of our determined Washington, D.C. Wrongful Death Lawyer who can help you recover fair monetary compensation for your losses. We can help you seek justice for your loved one who was tragically taken from you too soon due to another person’s negligence.

Who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim in D.C.?

Depending on the state, eligibility for who can file a wrongful death claim varies. In most states beneficiaries such as a spouse, a child, and a parent are the only parties who are legally able to file a claim on the decedent’s behalf. If they did not leave one of these parties behind, then blood or by marriage relatives who depended on the decedent can file a claim. However, in the District of Columbia, only appointed personal representatives are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Personal representatives are also known as executors. If the deceased did not assign an executor in a will, the court will name a personal representative to serve on the deceased’s behalf. A personal representative is responsible for filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased’s estate.

How long do I have to file a claim?

In the District of Columbia, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the decedent’s death. Personal representatives must file on behalf of the deceased’s estate within this time frame or they will be barred from recovering financial compensation for their losses. Damages for wrongful death claims may include:

  • Medical expenses related to the deceased person’s cause of death (illness or injury)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of care and education

If the case is successful, meaning the personal representative can fulfill the burden of proof they may be awarded economic and non-economic damages. To fulfill the burden of proof for this type of claim, personal representatives must prove their loved ones cause of death was directly caused by a person or corporation’s negligent actions. Additionally, they must prove the negligent party owed the victim a standard duty of care and that duty was breached resulting in the deceased person’s illness or injury. Additionally, they must demonstrate that the deceased person would still be alive if the negligent party had acted differently.

If you have lost someone you love because of someone else’s negligent actions, contact one of our understanding team members.