Landover Wrongful Death Lawyer

After a loved one dies in an accident, your life might be filled with financial changes, mental and emotional distress, and a lot of questions about what happens next.  Our lawyers can help you get compensation for those economic and mental/emotional effects, and we can answer a lot of the legal questions as to what happens next.

When someone else’s negligence is what killed your loved one, our lawyers can help you file a lawsuit to recover compensation for any and all damages related to their death.  We can also help you with legal questions about how to file these cases, whether an insurance claim is required before a lawsuit, and what options you have to seek a settlement or take the case to trial.

For a free case assessment with our wrongful death lawyers, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.

Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Landover, MD

A “wrongful death case” often involves two distinct causes of action that are filed together.  The process of filing is somewhat complicated and precise, but our wrongful death lawyers can assist you in submitting your case with insurance and/or with the courts for a lawsuit.

Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

Your “case” will likely involve two lawsuits filed together: a survival action filed on behalf of the victim and a wrongful death action filed on behalf of the surviving family.

The survival action is filed by what is called the “personal representative” – also known as the executor of the estate.  This person is named in the will if the victim had one, or else appointed by the court that handles their estate.  Essentially, this is the lawsuit the deceased victim could have filed if they lived, and it is filed on behalf of the victim’s estate.

As mentioned, this lawsuit is filed for the victim’s own damages suffered before death.  This can include things like medical care, pain and suffering, and lost wages – which are likely greater in cases where the victim lingered for a long while before succumbing to injuries.

The wrongful death action benefits the victim’s family directly.  The statute says that this case is usually filed by the spouse, parents, or children, but if there are no people who fit those criteria, any other relative who is a dependent of the victim can file.  This means that if you are a sibling, cousin, or grandparent that lived under the victim’s roof and relied on their income and support, you should be entitled to file.  These loved ones do have to be related to the victim by blood or marriage, meaning that stepchildren are also included but non-married dating partners are not.

This wrongful death lawsuit, as mentioned, benefits the family and pays them damages they are personally entitled to for the victim’s death.  This includes things like lost wages and lost companionship damages.

Insurance Claims

In many cases, you are expected to use insurance after an accident.  For example, car insurance is the typical way to handle a car accident case, and homeowners and businesses have insurance for accidents on their property that can handle things like slip and falls.  However, when it comes to wrongful death cases, the damages these insurance claims might cover could be too low for your needs, making a lawsuit more appropriate.

If there is sufficient coverage through insurance, our lawyers can help you file your claim and negotiate a fair settlement.  However, if they refuse to pay the full amount or refuse to acknowledge certain damages, our attorneys can take the case to court.

Filing a Lawsuit

When filing a claim in a court of law, you file a “complaint” with the court and serve the victim with a copy.  This document lays out the allegations and explains what exactly the defendant did to cause the death, how their actions satisfy all legal elements of the claim, and what damages resulted for your loved one and your family.

This case usually needs to be filed within 3 years of the victim’s death.  This might seem like a long time, but you should act quickly; lawsuits can take quite some time to prepare and even longer to make their way through the initial stages of the case before getting to trial.  While most cases will ultimately settle before they ever need to go to trial, any delays at the outset will create delays in payment as well.

What Constitutes a “Wrongful Death” in Landover, MD?

Wrongful death cases are based on some sort of “wrongful act.”  This is quite a broad term and encompasses all kinds of intentional, reckless, and negligent actions.

While most wrongful deaths are based on accidents, some are based on intentional or reckless killings.  These killings might qualify as murder or manslaughter or some other type of criminal homicide case, but the family can also file a separate civil lawsuit for these kinds of deaths.

Some deaths are confusing as to whether they constitute recklessness or mere “negligence.”  For example, drunk driving accidents, reckless driving deaths, and tired driving are all serious violations of the law that might rise to the level of “recklessness.”  No matter how the criminal law defines these situations, they also qualify as “wrongful acts” for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Most wrongful death cases will instead be based on some sort of accident or unintentional death brought on by circumstances that someone could have prevented.  This covers things like deaths from a traffic accident, a structural collapse, a fall from heights, a workplace accident, a defective product, or medical malpractice.  Note that defective and dangerous product injuries might involve fatal injury from something like a household item or from pharmaceutical problems or defective auto parts.

Call Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Landover Today

Call (410) 694-7291 for a free case review with Rice, Murtha & Psoras’ wrongful death lawyers.