There may come an unfortunate day when your family must cope with the death of a close family member because of a terrible accident. When dealing with this immeasurable pain, it can seem impossible to turn your attention to the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit. However, while it can be difficult to withstand, a wrongful death claim can benefit your family in a number of ways. If your relative was killed in an accident and you would like to seek wrongful death litigation in Ellicott City, Maryland, contact a dedicated Ellicott City wrongful death lawyer today.
Rice, Murtha & Psoras acknowledges that a relative’s death is lifechanging, and we are here to provide you and your family with legal representation that is tailored to your needs during this difficult time. We know that the loss of a loved one can change a family forever, and we would be honored to help you fight for justice your family member. To secure a free legal consultation about your prospective case, contact our firm at (410) 694-7291. Our online submission form could also be used to schedule a confidential consultation.
Requirements to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Ellicott City, MD
A wrongful death lawsuit is a cause of action that accrues when the surviving family members of an accident victim seek litigation against an individual or company responsible for the loss of their relative. For instance, if a vehicle manufacturer released a vehicle with a defect that killed your loved one, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit against them.
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you should be aware that only certain surviving family members are eligible to file their case with the court. By limiting the amount of family members that can file a wrongful death lawsuit, the State of Maryland hopes to ensure that estranged family members cannot recover for the death of another family member they barely knew.
There are two groups of family members that can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland: primary beneficiaries and secondary beneficiaries. The following family members are considered primary beneficiaries for purposes of a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- The children of the deceased
- Parents of the deceased
Alternatively, if the decedent is not survived by any of the primary beneficiaries or the primary beneficiaries do not wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the secondary beneficiaries can pursue the claim instead. The following are secondary beneficiaries that can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland:
- The surviving siblings of the decedent
- The nieces and nephews of the decedent
- The cousins of the decedent
- Extended family members of the decedent
It is also possible for the personal representative of the decedent to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent’s estate, provided a representative was named by the decedent or state.
If you want more information about the elements a wrongful death case in Maryland, work with Rice, Murtha & Psoras and our skilled Ellicott City wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case in Ellicott City
To win a wrongful death suit, you will need to provide sufficient evidence to show that the defendant was liable for the death of the decedent. Specifically, the plaintiff will need to show how the defendant acted negligently. For example, if a product malfunction was responsible for your relative’s death, pictures of the defective device could be used to prove the manufacturer’s negligence.
When proving negligence, the plaintiff will have to prove the following four elements to prove their wrongful death case:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care to the victim (e.g., drove their vehicle while intoxicated)
- The victim was injured as a result of the defendant’s actions
- The plaintiff can recover damages or other losses in a court of law
All elements must be proven before the plaintiff can be awarded damages for the death of a loved one. The damages awarded for a loved one’s death will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. The court will consider the following factors before awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The age of the decedent at the time of their death
- The physical and mental health of the decedent
- The medical expenses incurred treating the decedent’s injuries prior to their death
- Pain and suffering experienced by decedent prior to their death
- Whether the decedent had multiple dependents
Our attorneys understand that it can be challenging to seek a wrongful death case while grieving for a family member and we are here for you. Our firm could help you get started on your case to seek the compensation your family deserves.
Call Our Accomplished Ellicott City, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer
If your family member was killed due to the negligent actions of another party, you should contact an experienced Ellicott City wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. The diligent legal team at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras wields extensive experience when dealing with wrongful death cases, and we would be pleased to use this experience to litigate on your behalf. If you are considering litigation after your loved one’s death, call our Maryland personal injury attorneys at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation. Also, our website is available to schedule your free case review.