How Do Courts Determine the Value of Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Washington, D.C.?

Washington, D.C. law provides families of deceased accident victims the right to recover for their damages if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. While it may be difficult to think about money following the passing of a loved one, funeral costs, hospitals bills, and other expenses can quickly add up and overwhelm a grieving family. Recovering compensation for the loss of a provider can help ensure the surviving family members are taken care of and able to live a stable life.

Wrongful death lawsuits in Washington, D.C. have their own unique statutes which differentiates them from other jurisdictions. Some wrongful death claims are actionable in Maryland, but not in the District of Columbia, which is why it is critical to consult with a qualified wrongful death attorney with a proven track record of successful legal representation. It is important for the surviving family members of fatal accident victims to understand what they are legally allowed to recover when filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Washington, D.C.

Elements of a Washington, D.C. Wrongful Death Lawsuit

There are two main claims that are brought in wrongful death lawsuits in Washington, D.C. The first is a wrongful death action claim filed by the victim’s family for the loss of their loved one. The second is the survival action claim which is brought on behalf of the deceased by a representative of his or her estate.

Claimants may recover two primary forms of damages in a wrongful death case: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are also known as pecuniary damages and include things like medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of income and financial support. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, also known as solatium.

Wrongful Death Action Claims in Washington, D.C.

A wrongful death action is a lawsuit filed for damages suffered from losing a loved one in a fatal accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Under Washington, D.C. law, family members are eligible to recover for the pecuniary damages of losing the advice and counsel of a loved one as well as economic damages suffered by the loss. Surviving family members may recover for the financial support they would have received from their deceased relative.

Economic damages surviving family members may recover for are things like financial support provided by the deceased’s income, gifts, and other contributions. Judges and juries may also award family members damages for “loss of services.” Loss of services are things like chores, yardwork, and other domestic services which would have been provided by the deceased over the course of his or her lifetime.

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