Whenever a person’s death is a result of the negligent conduct of someone else, the surviving family of the deceased person may be able to pursue compensation for their loss through a Washington, D.C. wrongful death lawsuit. In Washington, D.C., wrongful death lawsuits may be brought by the surviving spouse or partner of the deceased person. If no surviving spouse or partner exists, the next of kin is able to file the lawsuit.
In order to prove a Washington, D.C. wrongful death lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish that the named defendant’s negligent conduct brought about the death of their loved one. Generally, this requires proof of four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. A recent wrongful death case out of Georgia discusses how a court may apply the causation analysis.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiffs were the parents of a young man who was a student at the defendant university. The plaintiffs’ son enrolled in a study-abroad program in Costa Rica through the university. Prior to traveling to Costa Rica, school officials warned students of the dangers of swimming in the open ocean, and they asked each of the students whether they were a good swimmer. The plaintiffs’ son indicated that he was comfortable in the water and that he could swim.