Hyattsville, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer

When a family member dies because another party was negligent, you can sue to get financial compensation to offset that loss. True, any amount of money cannot replace a loved one’s presence in your life, but filing a lawsuit can help offset some of the other hardships that may be brought on by the unexpected death of someone close to you.

If someone you love and care for died and you suspect that negligence may have been the cause, contact our office. We can determine which parties were negligent so that you can hold the right people accountable for their actions and get the financial compensation you need. We understand how difficult these cases are for plaintiffs pursuing them, so we can also lend a helping hand and an attentive ear during this difficult time.

Get free help with your claim by calling Rice, Murtha & Psoras at the number (410) 694-7291 and speaking with our wrongful death lawyers.

Who Can File Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Hyattsville, MD?

Not just anyone can file wrongful death actions in Maryland. Pursuant to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(a)(1), under most circumstances, a deceased person’s parent, child, or spouse can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This leaves out many parties who may have been close to the defendant, such as friends or extended family like aunts, uncles, or cousins. However, those parties can file wrongful death claims if two criteria are met under § 3-904(b). First, the deceased must have no immediate family listed in § 3-904(a) who qualify to file a claim. Second, the plaintiff must have substantial dependence on the defendant. For example, suppose the plaintiff relied on the deceased for income and daily assistance. In that case, the plaintiff could be said to be substantially dependent on the deceased. When our wrongful death lawyers look at your case, we can help you figure out whether you are eligible to file a claim on their behalf.

How Long Do I Have to File My Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Hyattsville, MD?

While we understand that people need time to grieve after someone has passed, you unfortunately cannot wait forever to file wrongful death lawsuits. There are laws called statutes of limitations that put time limits on how long plaintiffs have to bring claims for certain things. For wrongful death lawsuits, plaintiffs generally have three years to file their claim pursuant to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc Art., § 3-904(g).

Some circumstances can extend this statutory period. For example, suppose your loved one’s death was the result of an “occupational disease” like mesothelioma. You have either ten years from when the deceased passed or three years from when the cause of death is revealed – whichever is shorter. That being said, if you suspect that your loved one died because of an occupational disease, you should bring it up with our attorneys so that we can examine the facts more closely.

Once the relevant time period is up, you cannot file a claim or collect damages. Although a period of years can seem like a long time, the reality is that with funeral preparations, grieving, collecting information, and other things that need to be done before filing a claim, that time can go by very quickly, so it is always a good idea to file your claim as soon as is practicable.

What Compensation Can You Get in Hyattsville, MD Wrongful Death Cases

The compensation you get in a wrongful death lawsuit may be somewhat different than what you get in a regular personal injury lawsuit. In most personal injury claims, you get financial compensation based on the injuries the plaintiff experienced. In wrongful death lawsuits, that injury is the sudden removal of the deceased from the plaintiff’s life. Some of the things you can seek damages for in a wrongful death lawsuit include:

Funeral Costs

Planning and paying for an unexpected funeral can be a significant burden on the deceased’s survivors. Accordingly, you can get the court to compel the defendant to provide compensation for that cost.

Lost Income

If the deceased was a provider of income to their family, you can request damages to offset the loss of that income stream. It is important to remember that “income” can mean either a salary or benefits from a disability program.

Medical Expenses

If the deceased received medical treatment and incurred expenses before they passed, the surviving family may be left holding the bag. Accordingly, you can seek damages to pay those costs.

Loss of Companionship

For spouses, children, and parents, you may be able to seek financial compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship in your life. No one can truly put a price tag on someone’s presence in your life, so you will have to work with our attorneys to convince the court of the deceased’s value in your claim. Note, however, that there may be some restrictions on who can recover damages outside of what is covered by “pecuniary loss.” Pursuant to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc Art., § 3-904(d), only certain parties, such as spouses, children, or parents of a deceased minor child, can get compensation for these kinds of damages. If you are concerned about your ability to recover sufficient compensation, you should discuss your claim further with our attorneys.

Punitive Damages

If you believe that more than just negligence was at play in the death of your loved one, you can request punitive damages in your lawsuit. These are only meted out when defendants have acted especially badly, so you should bring up the prospect of seeking them early on in your claim.

Let Our Hyattsville, MD Wrongful Death Attorneys Help You Today

Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s wrongful death attorneys by dialing (410) 694-7291 and have us review your claim for free today.