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The NHTSA reported that in 2017, there were over 37,000 vehicle traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, car accidents remain a leading cause of death for people throughout the country. All drivers and others sharing the road, including bicyclists and pedestrians, are at risk of suffering fatalities in a vehicle crash. When someone close to you has been fatally injured in an accident that was not their fault, you may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Washington, D.C. car accident attorney Roger Gelb has extensive experience securing compensation for loved ones following a wrongful death due to the negligence of others. Recognized as one of the leading personal injury attorneys in the area, Roger Gelb has secured multi million dollar recoveries on behalf of his clients. In the course of settling thousands of wrongful death claims, Attorney Gelb has worked to help numerous dependents secure financial compensation for their losses. Due to Mr. Gelb’s extensive experience handling car accident claims throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, he is prepared to advance strong legal theories to establish fault for a fatal collision. All clients interact directly with Attorney Gelb, compared to other firms where paralegals or legal assistants provide the majority of communication. The legal team at Gelb & Gelb, P.C. is prepared to tenaciously and effectively advocate for your rights after a fatal car accident.Recovering Compensation for Losses After a Fatal Car Accident
Fatal car accidents take many forms, from head-on collisions to drunk driving crashes. Unfortunately, victims that suffer deadly injuries in car accidents often leave behind family and other loved ones. In some situations, the deceased is the primary wage-earner, and surviving family is forced to confront tragic emotional and financial losses.
After the negligence of a driver leads to a fatal car accident, family members are entitled to recover damages resulting from their loss. According to law, when an accident that caused a death was the kind that could have formed the basis of a personal injury action, it meets the requirement of a wrongful death lawsuit. Unlike in a personal injury claim, the injured victim cannot bring the lawsuit and others must assert their legal rights for damages associated with the death.Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death lawsuits in Washington, D.C, include both a wrongful death action and a survival action. Unique laws separate these lawsuits from other jurisdictions, including Maryland and Virginia. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically brought by the victim’s surviving family.
A personal representative of the deceased files a wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased. Damages that may be awarded will be distributed according to the deceased’s will. If there is no will, then they are paid to the estate and then distributed.
Following a fatal car accident, the types of damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death case are determined by the judge or jury according to the facts of the underlying car accident. Economic damages include funeral and burial costs as well as medical bills such as emergency care. Damages can also include lost wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned had they reached retirement. In some situations, the judge or jury may award surviving family damages for “loss of services.” These refer to domestic work such as chores and yard work that the deceased would have provided over the course of his or her life. Additionally, if the at-fault driver for the fatal car accident was deemed reckless, for example, punitive damages may be available.
Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a designated period of time in order for the court to hear the claims. These procedural rules are important. The court will bar your claim if it is not brought within two years from the date of death. An experienced attorney will ensure that your claims are filed in a timely manner.Survival Actions
Survival actions, which are separate from wrongful death claims, are appropriate if the deceased did not die immediately after the car accident. The intent of a survival action is to compensate the victim for the suffering they endured before their death. In most cases, medical testimony will be required to prove that the decedent survived after the accident. It is important that it be made clear that the victim sustained “conscious pain and suffering” and meet the legal requirement that this suffering took place “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.”
In Washington, D.C, a representative of the deceased’s estate brings a survival action claim. These claims include the damages directly suffered by the victim. In other words, economic damages would include the wages and benefits the victim would have been able to earn had they lived their expected lifetime. Recovery is also available for conscious pain and suffering endured between the time of the accident and resulting injuries and the time of death.Discuss Your Legal Claim with a Car Accident Attorney in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. lawyer Roger Gelb provides compassionate representation as he advocates for compensation following the death of a loved one. Mr. Gelb is well-versed in laws governing recovery of damages following a fatal car accident. At Gelb & Gelb, we strive to maximize compensation so that surviving family members can remain financially stable during an emotionally devastating time. We are available to discuss the details of your case, and can be reached by calling (202) 331-7227 or online, through our form. We proudly represent individuals and families throughout Washington, D.C, Virginia, and Maryland.