Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Washington, DC?

Man lies hurt on sidewalk after work accident.
The jury awards the damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. If there is not a jury, a judge decides the damages to award to the family.

According to DC Code §16-2702, the personal representative for the deceased’s estate files an action for wrongful death. The action filed is on behalf of the beneficiaries of the deceased person. The personal representative has two years from the date of death to file the wrongful death claim.

Beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit are often the person’s spouse and surviving children. However, if the deceased did not have a spouse or children, other family members, such as parents, siblings, and other relatives, may seek relief for a wrongful death.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death is caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person or entity. The act does not need to be intentional, nor does the party need to be charged with a crime for the family to seek damages. There are many instances and accidents that can lead to a wrongful death claim.

Examples of accidents and incidents that could lead to a wrongful death lawsuit include, but are not limited to:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Car accident
  • Motorcycle crashes
  • Truck accidents
  • Nursing home abuse
  • School and playground accidents
  • Defective product accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Dangerous drugs and defective medical equipment
  • Medical malpractice

A Washington DC personal injury lawyer investigates the circumstances surrounding the person’s death. If another party caused the incident that resulted in the person’s death, the responsible party could be held financially liable for damages caused by wrongful death.

Damages a Family May Receive After the Death of a Loved One

The jury awards the damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. If there is not a jury, a judge decides the damages to award to the family. The types and amounts of the damages depend on the facts of the case. However, damages recoverable in most wrongful death cases include:

  • The cost of emergency care and medical treatment from the date of the injury through the date the person died
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of income and benefits the deceased would have earned through their retirement age had they lived
  • Contributions of support, guidance, companionship, and care for family members

Washington DC does not limit or cap the amount of damages awarded to family members for a wrongful death claim. However, family members do not receive compensation for the pain and suffering they endure because of the loss of a family member.

Contact a Washington DC Wrongful Death Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Wrongful death claims are complex personal injury cases. These cases are also challenging for loved ones who may still be grieving the loss of a family member. Our legal team works with you to seek justice for your loved one’s death. We want to help you hold the party responsible for your family member’s death accountable in court.

Our Washington DC wrongful death attorneys at the Roeser Law Firm represent clients in Maryland and Washington DC. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Washington DC.

Zeke Roeser


3000 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 140
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 660-4070