Attorney for Key Bridge Collapse Wrongful Death Victim Claims

The recent Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse is a developing situation. As of now, victims are still unaccounted for, causing unimaginable stress and fear for their families. If you were informed that your loved one died during this catastrophic event, our attorneys can help you file a claim for wrongful death.

Before we can do this, we must identify who is at fault for the incident. According to initial reports, a cargo ship lost power immediately after leaving port. The crew informed authorities, and pilots were guiding the ship when it struck the Key Bridge, causing it to collapse. By further investigating the circumstances surrounding the ship’s loss of power, we can identify who along the line acted negligently, breaching their duty of care and causing your family member’s death. After we do this, you can file your claim so long as you are an eligible plaintiff. Depending on the specifics of your case, you and your family might be awarded non-economic damages. Compensation for pain and suffering might be more likely in highly publicized and especially catastrophic cases, such as the recent Key Bridge collapse.

For a free case review from our attorneys for Key Bridge collapse wrongful death claims, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras now at (410) 694-7291.

Determining Liability for the Key Bridge Collapse in a Wrongful Death Claim

Preliminary reports about the recent Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Maryland leave room for the possibility that various parties might be partially liable for the incident, resulting in confusion for victims’ families. When preparing your case, our wrongful death attorneys will investigate all avenues so that your resulting claim is strong.

While video footage of the collapse plainly shows a cargo ship striking the Key Bridge, it is exactly unclear why that happened. There are several possibilities here. For example, if the ship itself was not seaworthy because it had defects that made it dangerous to operate, the company that owns the ship could be liable for victims’ deaths. The Key Bridge passed its last federal inspection in May of 2022, making structural defects an unlikely, but not impossible, cause of the recent collapse.

Initial reports about the incident note that the cargo ship did not have power when it hit the Key Bridge and that the crew had informed the authorities of the issue prior to the incident. As more information comes to light, we can evaluate how it impacts your case and whether or not it indicates one party’s fault over another’s.

Recoverable Non-Economic Damages for Families of Key Bridge Collapse Victims

Generally speaking, courts allow survivors to file wrongful death claims so that they can recover damages related to their pecuniary losses with respect to the victim’s death. For example, if the victim contributed financially to their family, their family can recover compensation for loss of earnings. In Maryland, additional damages are available for non-economic losses.

Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(d), families can recover non-economic damages for the death of a spouse, minor child, parent of a minor child, or an unmarried adult child in certain instances. These damages can compensate survivors for mental anguish and emotional pain and suffering. In addition, families may recover non-economic damages for loss of companionship, comfort, parental care, marital care, and other non-financial losses where applicable.

Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 11-108(b)(2) limits non-economic damages in wrongful death actions involving one beneficiary to $935,000. If there are multiple beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim, the cap on non-economic damages increases by 150%. For example, if your spouse died in the Key Bridge collapse and you share children who are eligible beneficiaries, the limit on non-economic damages in your case would increase.

While Maryland sets a maximum amount that plaintiffs can recover in wrongful death claims, it does not enforce a minimum recoverable amount. Although the pain and suffering due to your family member’s death may be obvious to you, it is important that you can articulate your struggles in statements if necessary and prove your non-economic damages in other ways.

Proving the Elements of a Key Bridge Collapse Wrongful Death Claim

Regardless of who is ultimately to blame for your loved one’s death in the Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, our attorneys will have to establish the same four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Proving Duty of Care and Breach of Duty

Duties of care differ based on the relationships between involved parties. For example, the government is responsible for maintaining bridges, like the Francis Scott Key Bridge, so avoidable disasters do not happen. Similarly, cargo ships have a responsibility to operate in a safe and reasonable manner, also to avoid accidents. After establishing the duty of care, we must show how the defendant breached it. For example, despite informing the authorities of the fact that the cargo ship lost power after leaving port, the crew or the ship owner might have breached their duty of care by failing to check the vessel’s seaworthiness before leaving. Failing to do this could constitute a breach of duty of care.

Proving Causation and Damages

When the cargo ship hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the ship took out one of its two structural supports, resulting in its total collapse. While the connection between the breach of duty and your loved one’s death may be clear to you, we must prove it. To prove causation, we may have a medical expert review your loved one’s cause of death and provide testimony on such matters. We will also submit proof of your damages, or the losses your family has incurred because of the victim’s death.

Call Our Lawyers About Your Key Bridge Wrongful Death Case

To get a free case assessment form our attorneys for Key Bridge collapse wrongful death claims, you can call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.