How to Pursue a Workplace Wrongful Death Claim

Losing a loved one is always a terrible thing. It can be even more devastating worse when it could have been avoided and was caused by the negligence of another person. Wrongful death is typically defined as a death caused by someone’s negligence, though wrongful death claims can also be filed for intentional acts as well. These claims most often occur from personal injuries.

To hold an employer or organization responsible for a wrongful death claim, you must prove that the victim would have pursued personal injuries claims if they were alive, but since they are not, the burden of getting justice for the negligence and irresponsibility falls on you. 

If you have a loved one who died during duty at work or due to an accident caused by someone’s negligence, contact us today for assistance.

Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?

Not everyone who knows or is related to the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. The law stipulates who can file this claim. In many cases, family members of the deceased can file wrongful death claims. It’s slightly different in Washington, D.C. Only the personal representative of the deceased person is permitted to file the actual claim. This could be a friend, lawyer, or family member. While this is the only person who can file the claim, there are many family members who can be beneficiaries, including a spouse, children, and in some cases, other family members. 

When Can You File a Workplace Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim can only arise in a situation that would have led to an eligible personal injury claim if the victim were still alive. Some of the most common circumstances that lead to a wrongful death claim include the following:

  • The death was preventable, i.e. the victim would still be alive if it weren’t for the fatal interference of another party.
  • The death was caused by the negligence of someone who had a duty of care that they breached. 
  • The death was caused by a piece of faulty equipment, such as the case of equipment that was not manufactured to industry standards. 

There are many other situations that may be eligible for a wrongful death claim. It’s also important to note that you might not be able to file this civil action against an employer if money has been paid out by worker’s comp. 

Do I need a Wrongful Death Attorney?

You should speak with your attorney if you want to file a claim against someone or the organization responsible for the death of a family member. The attorney can help you cross all the legal hurdles and get the required proof and documents to back your claim. 

It is part of your attorney’s job to give you all your legal options and inform you about the statute of limitations for pursuing such claims. The statute of limitations is the deadline by which you must have filed your claims. In Washington D.C., the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the person’s death. If you fail to meet this deadline, you will not receive any compensation, even if you otherwise would have been eligible. 

Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

In Washington D.C., you are eligible for the following types of compensation if you are successful in a wrongful death claim:

Economic Damages

Economic damages include the amount of money spent on treatment of the victim before their death, burial expenses, the future income that would have been provided, and the value of services, such as compassion, care, personal advice, and other services that the victim would have been likely to provide to their family. There is no cap on the amount of damages that can be awarded.

In Washington D.C., damages for pain, suffering, and other mental anguish will not be awarded. 

If you lost a loved one and believe you are eligible to file a Washington, D.C. workplace wrongful death claim, contact us today to discuss your options.