Wrongful Death Lawyer DC
A good wrongful death lawyer DC families can trust knows that when a family has lost someone due to another party’s negligence, they may not only be left with a tremendous amount of grief, but also major financial troubles. Compiling medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income are only some of the serious losses that could be foreshadowing the lives of those who are trying to heal. In the aftermath of such a horrible tragedy, you might wonder what your legal options are.
As a wrongful death lawyer in DC might explain, there are generally two options available. One is filing a wrongful death claim, and the other a survival action claim. Both types of claims offer the ability for family members to recover damages from a negligent party, yet they are not the same. The following is a brief explanation of how these claims differ.
Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death lawyer for DC can tell you that a wrongful death claim is available to immediate family members of a deceased person (in some states people beyond the extended family can file). The claim allows the family to seek damages for any grief or suffering, lost current and prospective income, funeral costs, and outstanding medical bills that accumulated because of the accident, and prior to the death.
Survival Action Claim
A survival action claim is center focused on the suffering experienced by the deceased, also known as the decedent, rather than the grief and financial strain related to the family. In this type of claim, the estate of the decedent may be able to recover damages for lost earnings, medical bills and suffering of the victim. The compensation is then dispersed through the estate rather than distributed to the decedent’s surviving family members.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death or Survival Action Claim?
Who can file a claim will be dependent upon the jurisdiction and a wrongful death lawyer serving DC will know how to determine this. In general, a survival action claim is filed by the executor of the estate. Whereas, a wrongful death claim may be filed by the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, other financial dependents, or parents.
In select cases, the siblings or grandparents of the decedent may file either claim. Depending on the state, some claimants can file both types of claims (i.e. Washington DC), while in other states they must choose between one or the other (i.e. Virginia).
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Survival Action or Wrongful Death?
In either claim, the plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that the defendant was responsible for the death of the decedent. In other words, it must be shown that the death was caused by negligence, wrongdoing, carelessness, or malicious intent by someone who owed the deceased a duty of care, but failed to uphold this duty.
Examples of party’s that may be held liable include:
- Government entity that failed to keep the roads safe
- A nursing home facility or their staff who practiced harmful behavior
- A doctor who made a serious medical mistake
- The driver of a vehicle
- A negligent truck company
- A shopping center who failed to clean up spilled liquid
The aforementioned is certainly not exhaustive. In legal practice, determining liability can be extremely complicated which is why you should consult a wrongful death lawyer. In doing so, you can explore your legal options and make decisions that best reflect your needs and interests.