Read more: Widow of Man Killed in D.C. Fire Truck Crash Celebrates $13.5 Million Judgment

DeAngelo Green, a devoted father and DC native, was on his way back to work after a lunch break. He had the green light at the intersection of 12th & Rhode Island Avenue, NE in the Brookland neighborhood of DC. As he crossed Rhode Island, a fire truck barreled down a hill toward a red light at 24 miles an hour over the speed limit. The fire truck hit the breaks but was unable to stop in time. It crashed into Mr. Green’s Honda and shoved it into a retaining wall. The firetruck landed on top of the car. Mr. Green was killed instantly

Car Accident in Washington DC. A man was strucked and killed by a firetruck in Washington DC

Our Clients Struggle to Cope 

Mr. Green was a father of six children. He had recently started a new job at So Others Might Eat, in Washington, DC. When he died, his oldest child was 15 and his youngest was two. Mr. Green’s death meant his family lost his income, which was a staggering hit to his wife. Beyond income, Mr. Green was also the primary parent. As every parent knows, running a household is hard, even with a partner. With his death, Mr. Green’s family lost the cook, the homework helper, the bath-time-organizer, the housekeeper.  

Worst of all, the children lost the magic mix of qualities that belong only to Mr. Green. He was the family cheerleader, video maker, student-council-campaign-consultant, and goof ball. He loved spending time with his kids, and spending time with his kids taught them how important they are. There can be no better gift to a child. 

Wrongful Death Attorney Allyson Kitchel Builds a Case for Compensation 

Mr. Green died in 2018 – the fight against the District of Columbia lasted 6 years. The first task was to build a case for liability, that is, proving that the DC government was responsible for the crash. DC didn’t make it easy. Its truck was going at least 24 miles per hour over the speed limit just before it ran the red light, but DC wouldn’t admit it was responsible. Its firetrucks have dash cams, but the fire truck involved didn’t have its camera on that day. Accident reconstructions got involved.  Evidence at trial proved that if the firetruck had been going only 10 miles an hour over the speed limit, which is actually the department policy, the crash would not have happened.  

The other part of the story was quantifying the harms and losses to the family. Mr. Green’s lost wages to his family were calculated by an economist. The economist also calculated the value of the “household services” to his family – this included everything he did that could be done by someone hired. For example, what would it cost to hire someone to cook and clean? This was a number the economist calculated and that evidence was presented at trial. 

DC law in wrongful death cases is unique. Grief is inadmissible, so witnesses are not allowed to testify about how hard it was when someone died or how much someone is missed. There is an interesting aspect to damages though for the wrongful death of a parent. Children can be compensated for loss care, education, and guidance from their parent. At trial, we introduced detailed evidence not of how much Mr. Green was loved, but of how much he did – how he showed he cared with his time, how he taught the kids to cook, and how he guided them with his life lessons.   

Establishing the loss our client had suffered was only part of the battle, however. Here’s how Washington DC/Arlington Virginia wrongful death lawyer Allyson Kitchel, her co-counsel, Bill Lightfoot, and the team at Kitchel Law, PLLC, built a winning case: 

  • We consulted accident reconstruction and fire truck specialists who proved how the crash happened and explained to the jury how the crash could have been avoided. 
  • We relentlessly investigated the crash, discovering different evidence the District failed to preserve and using that to help prove our client’s case.  
  • We met with friends and relatives of the family to learn all the details about Mr. Green so we could tell the story of his life. 

Justice for the Family to Move Forward 

The District of Columbia refused to offer the family compensation, so there was no choice but to go to trial. We went to trial twice. In June, 2023, Allyson and her trial partner tried the case before a DC jury, which concluded that the DC government was grossly negligent and responsible for Mr. Green’s death. Still, the District Office of the Attorney General refused to compensate the family. We went back to trial in February 2024. On February 22, 2024, the jury awarded a total verdict of over $13.57 million to the widow and the individual children to secure their futures. Not only will this provide financial security for the children, but it also provides a measure of peace to the family, as the value of Mr. Green’s life has been acknowledged by his community.  

Have You Recently Lost a Loved One? 

Kitchel Law, PLLC provides compassionate legal representation to families who have lost their loved ones as the result of negligent or reckless actions in the DC area. If someone you love was killed in DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, or the surrounding areas, contact us today to schedule a consultation.