Losing a loved one is always tragic. In many cases, the death of a spouse or parent is coupled with the loss of financial support that person provided. When someone’s death results from another’s negligence, their survivors have a legal right to recover damages for their economic and emotional losses. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our attorneys and staff are committed to helping those who lost a loved protect their legal rights. Below, our Maryland wrongful death attorney discusses the amount of damages available in a civil lawsuit.
Pain and Suffering Cap in Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The amount of compensation for pain and suffering you could be awarded in a wrongful death claim in Maryland is limited. Under Maryland law, noneconomic damages are capped in wrongful death lawsuits. These damages are for losses that are not financial in nature, such as mental anguish or emotional suffering. the amount that your potential claim will be capped depends on when the wrongful death occurred.
If your wrongful death action arose from an incident in 2020, then your noneconomic damages will be capped at $890,000. Statutorily, this amount will increase by $15,000 each year. However, if the wrongful death happened earlier, the amount will be lower. For incidents that occurred in 2018, the noneconomic damages cap is $860,000, while the 2019 cap is $875,000. it is important to review this cap with our Baltimore wrongful death attorney before filing your lawsuit.
There is an exemption to the imposed cap. In wrongful death cases where more than one plaintiff is requesting damages, the cap increases by 150 percent. However, this increase only happens once. the number of plaintiffs does not matter. the cap will increase by 150 percent if there are two or fifteen claimants.
Is There a Limit on Economic Damages in a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
While your potential award for noneconomic damages is capped in Maryland, there is no restriction on your possible compensation for financial losses. Additionally, if you were the spouse or a minor child of the person who suffered a wrongful death, you could claim the dead person’s future anticipated earnings. If you were a wrongful death beneficiary, usually an adult child or parent that was financially dependent on the deceased, you are also entitled to make a claim of lost future wages.
Our Maryland wrongful death attorney will have financial experts who calculate the total estimated income the person would have earned had they not been killed. Some of the evidence considered in this calculation includes previous tax returns, current income at the time of death, and testimony regarding how the deceased would have progressed during their career. Once the future earnings are calculated, a forensic economist will make a further calculation, placing the estimated figures into their present day value.
How Economic Damages for a Wrongful Death Are Calculated in Maryland
The calculation of economic damages arising from a wrongful death claim must be reasonable. the projections cannot be based on mere conjecture or speculation. This means that our Aberdeen wrongful death attorney will have to make a realistic determination regarding the financial losses suffered by the claimants because of the lost income of the deceased. For example, you cannot assume that a twenty-year-old, third-string quarterback for a minor college would be a starting quarterback on a professional football team. Our experts will turn to statistical probability and experience to determine what an individual would have likely earned over the course of their lifetime.
It is important to note that economic damages are not limited to income. the loss of health benefits could also factor into the calculation of damages. Furthermore, any out-of-pocket expense related to the death, such as medical bills or funeral expenses, could be recovered through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Possible Plaintiffs if a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Depending on your relationship with the deceased, our Maryland and Frederick wrongful death attorney could file a lawsuit on your behalf, as well as other survivors. Individuals entitled to file a wrongful death claim include any immediate family members, including children (adopted or not), grandparents, and siblings. Additionally, anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased, such as a life partner, is permitted to file a claim. In some instances, the parents of a wrongfully terminated fetus could recover in a personal injury lawsuit.
However, there are some notable exceptions. A parent who has been convicted of specific criminal offenses, such as the sexual abuse of a child, is prohibited from filing a wrongful death action. They are also not permitted to benefit from another person filing a claim.
Survival Actions in a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed on behalf of a surviving family member or a dependent seeking to recover their financial losses. In Maryland, a survival action is filed by the representative of the deceased’s estate. These actions are handled by our Maryland wrongful death lawyer to specially seek recovery for the injuries or losses the wrongfully killed individual would have had the right to pursue if they had survived. For example, the estate of a dead person could bring a lawsuit seeking recovery for the pain and suffering the individual experienced before they died.
Call Our Maryland Wrongful Death Attorney to Discuss Possible Damages
Whenever you lose a loved one or family member, you will experience grief and emotional distress. In many situations, an unexpected death results in financial hardships. When you lost a loved one because of another’s negligence, our Maryland and Bel Air wrongful death attorney is committed to helping you protect your legal rights and proving negligence in a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland. Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.