Hagerstown, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you are reading this article, chances are you lost a loved one in an accident. Dealing with the death of someone close is never an easy task. The last thing survivors want to consider is a lengthy legal battle for damages. We can handle that part for you. Our experienced legal counsel can help you fight for justice and compensation in a wrongful death claim.
Most wrongful death claims are based on an argument that another party’s negligence resulted in death. Worse still, if the conduct that led to death was intentional and not just negligent, there might be a criminal prosecution in addition to a wrongful death claim. While a wrongful death lawsuit can never fill the void left by an accidental death, you might be able to get some closure by holding those responsible accountable.
Rice, Murtha & Psoras have wrongful death lawyers ready to give free case reviews at (410) 694-7291.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Hagerstown, MD?
The general rule under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(a) is that the deceased’s parents, children, and spouses may recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. This rule, sadly, bars close friends or other relatives that might have had a close relationship with the deceased from recovery under most circumstances.
Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., §3-904(b) creates an exception in the event that there are no immediate family members to file a lawsuit. In that case, anyone related by blood to the deceased and who also “substantially relied” on the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. For example, if the victim had no parents, spouse, or children but took care of their orphaned cousin, the cousin should be able to file a wrongful death claim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Hagerstown, MD?
The length of time you have to file a wrongful death claim is controlled by Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(g). In most instances, you have three years from the time of the death to bring your lawsuit.
There is an exception for occupational diseases. An occupational disease is any condition caused by exposure to toxic substances in the workplace. Mesothelioma from working with asbestos is a common example of a condition due to exposure to toxic substances while working. For wrongful death claims based on occupational disease, you have the shorter of 10 years from the time of death or three years from discovering the cause of death.
Preparing for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Hagerstown, MD
Getting ready to file a wrongful death claim can be a daunting task. However, it is important that you get as much information as you can so that your case can be as strong as possible. Getting all the information you need may take a while, so it is a good idea to start compiling information early. Our attorneys can help you with this process.
Find and Interview Witnesses
If you were not personally present when your loved one passed away, other people might have been. These could be other relatives or complete strangers. The eyewitness testimony of people who experienced or saw the incident that led to the death firsthand could be crucial in developing your case.
Obtain Medical Records
The medical records of the deceased will be very important to the success of your case. Even if the deceased did not receive emergency medical treatment right before they passed, medical records can help establish that there were no factors present that could provide an alternate explanation for the death. The defendant in your case might try and claim that the deceased had a preexisting condition that caused their death instead of the defendant’s conduct. Having the deceased’s medical records can help guard against this possibility and give you a stronger case.
Damages From a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Hagerstown, MD
The loss of a loved one is emotionally and financially difficult. Damages awarded to you in a wrongful death lawsuit and other associated lawsuits, like a survival action, are designed to help make up for the loss in some way. Below are some of the things you might be awarded damages for in a wrongful death claim.
It is impossible to put a fair price on the life of a deceased family member. That being said, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, and loss of companionship or consortium can all factor into damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.
If a child is suing for the death of a parent, loss of mentorship and guidance might factor into the damages you could be awarded.
The income the deceased would have made for the rest of their life could be awarded as damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. The last thing grieving family members want to think about is how they are going to get by after an impactful death. This kind of damages is designed to help mitigate the loss of income from the deceased.
Funeral Costs and Expenses
An unexpected funeral can put a strain on finances. Courts can award you damages for funeral expenses, including the funeral itself, memorials, clothing for the deceased, and other expenses related to the funerary process.
If the deceased was receiving medical treatment for injuries or their condition before they passed away, those large hospital bills might be placed with the deceased’s estate. You could be awarded damages to pay these expenses by a court in a wrongful death lawsuit. However, damages for medical expenses are usually resolved in a separate lawsuit.
Speak to Our Hagerstown, MD Lawyers Today
Call our wrongful death lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 for a free case review.