lawyer for victims of key bridge collapse

How to File a Lawsuit if a Family Member Died in the Key Bridge Collapse

When a cargo ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the early morning hours on March 26, 2024, many families and victims were affected. If your loved one died in this recent bridge collapse, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

To do so, you most likely have to be the victim’s spouse, parent, or child. We can confirm if you have a case by investigate the cause of the Key Bridge collapse as well as the specific cause of your loved one’s death. We can then use this information to identify the at-fault party and file a lawsuit against them within the statute of limitations, which will be three years from the victim’s death. Depending on the number of beneficiaries involved in your claim, compensation for non-economic damages might cap out at $935,000 or 150% of that amount. In addition to recovering damages for emotional pain and suffering and other non-economic losses from your loved one’s death, you can also get damages for lost income and other financial losses.

To get a free evaluation of your case today, call the wrongful death lawyers of Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291.

Can You File a Lawsuit if Your Family Member Died in the Key Bridge Collapse?

To see if you can file a wrongful death claim following your family member’s death in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, our wrongful death lawyers start by examining your relationship with the victim.

In Maryland, a victim’s surviving spouse, child, or parent can file a wrongful death claim. These individuals are the same ones who can benefit from the compensation awarded in a case.

According to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-902, a plaintiff can bring a wrongful death claim against a person whose negligence causes a victim’s death or can bring an action in rem against a vessel if its default caused a victim’s death. The latter part of that statute might apply to wrongful death claims arising from the Key Bridge collapse, because the incident involved a cargo ship. Though the exact reason for the collapse is unknown, it is likely that negligence took place on some level, ultimately causing the incident.

How Long Will You Have to File a Lawsuit if Your Loved One Died in the Scott Key Bridge Collapse?

With a traumatic event so recent in your memory, your focus might be on grieving your family member’s death and not on filing a lawsuit. Even though the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in Maryland is several years, waiting to file could harm your case.

According to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(g)(1), survivors generally have three years from a victim’s death to sue a negligent party. If your loved one died immediately from injuries sustained in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Maryland, you would have until March of 2026 to file your lawsuit.

After identifying the defendant in your case, our attorneys can help you file your complaint petition with the court. This complaint will name the defendant, explain the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death, and include your family’s desired damages. Because there will likely be many wrongful death and personal injury claims arising from this recent bridge collapse in Maryland, it is best for your individual recovery to bring your claim sooner rather than later.

How to Use Evidence from the Key Bridge Collapse in Your Wrongful Death Claim

Since the exact cause of the Key Bridge collapse is unknown at this current time, there are many possible avenues to explore when it comes to liability. Our attorneys will investigate the incident and assess the evidence to determine who is at fault for your family member’s death.

Even though the bridge collapsed early in the morning, there is evidence of what occurred. Video footage posted online shows the cargo ship colliding with the Key Bridge, leading to the structure’s total collapse. Our lawyers can also review reports from the incident and interview eyewitnesses to learn more about victims’ experiences during the collapse. We can also review the victim’s medical records to determine the exact cause of their death. For example, several construction workers working on the bridge at the time of the collision fall into the water. Other victims might have gotten trapped in their vehicles after the collapse.

Such evidence, along with information learned following a full investigation into exactly why the accident happened, may meet the standard of proof in your case, resulting in you and your family recovering compensation for your loved one’s death.

Damages for Francis Scott Key Collapse Victims’ Families

As of the date of the Key Bridge collapse, Maryland still limits compensation for non-economic damages in wrongful death claims. Despite the fact that caps might exist in your case, our attorneys can work to recover the full amount of damages available to you and your family.

According to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(d), recovery is not limited to economic damages in all wrongful death cases, and juries may award survivors non-economic damages where applicable for losses such as mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, and loss of society, companionship, comfort, and care.

Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 11-108(b)(2), the current limitation on non-economic damages in cases involving one beneficiary is $935,000. While Maryland increases this limit by $15,000 in October of each year, $935,000 is the current limit and will apply to claims arising from the recent Key Bridge collapse. If there are several beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim, the limit on non-economic damages increases by 150%.

According to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 11-109, economic damages consist of medical expenses and lost wages. In a wrongful death claim for the Key Bridge collapse, the jury should consider the past medical expenses the victim incurred prior to their death if they lived for some time after sustaining their injuries and the future loss of income to your family because of the victim’s death.

Call Our Attorneys to Discuss Your Key Bridge Collapse Wrongful Death Claim

You can call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to set up a free assessment of your case from our wrongful death lawyers.