The damages recovered in an action pursuant to this chapter, except the amount specified by the verdict or judgment covering the reasonable expenses of last illness and burial, may not be appropriated to the payment of the debts or liabilities of the deceased person, but inure to the benefit of his or her family and shall be distributed to the spouse and next of kin according to the allocation made by the verdict or judgment, or in the absence of an allocation, according to the provisions of the statute of distribution in force in the District.
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