Annapolis, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer
Dealing with the passing of a family member is never easy. You need time to grieve as well as make plans for funerals and other functions. The pain of losing someone you care about can be made even worse if you suspect that they died because someone else was negligent.
If you think your loved one passed away because someone else messed up, our lawyers can help. We know how sensitive wrongful death lawsuits can be, and our legal team has the professional experience and know-how to handle these cases with the compassion they demand while still fighting hard for you and your loved ones in court.
To have a free, confidential case review, call (410) 694-7291 and talk with Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s wrongful death attorneys.
What Are Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Annapolis, MD?
In a wrongful death lawsuit you assert that, because of the defendant’s negligence, your loved one ultimately lost their life. These lawsuits can be incredibly emotionally demanding for loved ones because they may need to have their loved one’s passing linger over them for months or even years. That is one of the reasons it is so important to speak to our wrongful death lawyers.
For the most part, wrongful death claims work similarly to personal injury cases. However, there are some key differences that place them in a class all their own. The law makes it so that only certain individuals are allowed to benefit from wrongful death lawsuits. Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(a)(1), parents, spouses, and the deceased’s children can file wrongful death cases. You cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit if you were, say, a friend of the victim.
Survival Actions Vs. Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Annapolis, MD
In addition to wrongful death lawsuits, there is also something called a “survival action.” This is a lawsuit where the deceased’s estate sues for the injuries to the victim. The damages in a survival action go to the deceased’s estate, not directly to the deceased’s family. This can be important for getting compensation for the effects the accident had on your loved one before death and for potentially getting damages paid to people not entitled to benefits under a wrongful death suit. Since the damages are distributed under the terms of the victim’s will, this may mean some money goes to friends or unmarried partners who would not normally be paid in a wrongful death suit.
Damages from Wrongful Death Claims in Annapolis, MD
The goal of any civil action is to get damages from the defendant. When the court awards damages, it takes into account the plaintiff’s condition before the harm took place, alongside other factors. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family sues for their own damages, such as lost companionship from the deceased. On the other hand, in a survival action, the deceased’s estate sues for damages to the victim prior to their death.
Pain and Suffering
The most serious injury to a deceased’s loved one is most likely the void left by their absence. Court understands that it can be incredibly painful and upsetting to lose someone close very suddenly. Accordingly, you can be awarded damages for emotional pain and mental anguish brought on by the loss of a loved one.
Since it is not easy to place value on something like extreme sadness, you have to convince the court of its worth in order to collect damages. This can be done in a number of ways. For example, if you were present when the defendant got injured, you can testify as to how the experience made you feel. Additionally, if you were diagnosed with a condition like post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident that took the defendant’s life, you can use that diagnosis and your experience dealing with that condition to convince the court you are entitled to damages.
In a survival action, you can get damages based on the pain and suffering the deceased experienced before they passed away.
Loss of Companionship and Consortium
Companionship and consortium refer to the love and bond between spouses. When one spouse passes away, that relationship is lost. These damages can also be claims for a child of the deceased if they are either under 18 or under 21 and unmarried. Accordingly, you can be awarded damages in a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of that relationship.
Parental Care and Aid
If the deceased was a caregiver to other parties, that can also be factored into damages in your case. For example, if the deceased had children and took care of them, you can get damages on account of the fact that such care can no longer be provided by the deceased.
It may be surprising to some people that you can still get damages specifically for financial loss in wrongful death lawsuits. This is usually the case when the deceased was the primary provider of income/ “breadwinner” for their household. The loss of that individual and their income can place financial stress on their surviving family and dependents, so the court can offset that loss through damages.
The Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Annapolis, MD
Just like with almost all other legal claims, you have a limited amount of time to file your wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland. Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(g), plaintiffs must file their wrongful death lawsuit within three years of the death taking place. If you do not file your claim within that time, Maryland courts cannot hear your case, and you cannot collect any damages.
There are a handful of exceptions to this general rule based on the specifics of the case, but there is no guarantee that an exception would apply to your case. For that reason, it is better to always file your claims as soon as possible.
Speak to an Annapolis, MD, Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s wrongful death lawyers can be reached at (410) 694-7291 to talk about your case.