Maryland Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is always painful; processing that pain is even harder when someone else’s wrongful actions cause your loved one’s death. An attorney can help secure justice for your loved one and family.
Many wrongful acts are acts of negligence or failure to act. In other cases, the wrongful act is intentional and might lead to criminal prosecution. Generally, only surviving spouses, children, and parents of the deceased person can file a wrongful death case, although other family members might be able to file if no other eligible parties exist. Damages in your case might include the pecuniary losses resulting from your loss and non-economic injuries like emotional anguish and suffering. There is a lot on the line in wrongful death cases, and you need as much strong evidence as possible to prove your claims.
Death is difficult, and people often take months or years to accept such a loss. If the loss was wrongful, our Maryland wrongful death attorneys can help you get justice. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
When You Might Have a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland
The law in Maryland is very specific about when you might be able to sue for wrongful death. According to Md. Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 3-902(a), an action may be brought against a person whose wrongful actions cause another person’s death. This means that to hold someone responsible for your loved one’s passing, their passing must have resulted from someone else’s wrongful actions.
A wrongful act is defined under Md. Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 3-901(e). Under the law, a wrongful act may include an intentional action or an act of negligence or default. Wrongful acts can also include felonious acts that the injured party could have sued for if they had survived. It is important to speak to our Maryland wrongful death lawyers about your case because wrongful acts are not always clear.
While wrongful death cases are civil actions remedied with monetary compensation, they are also often connected with criminal charges. In some cases, the person you believe is responsible for your loved one’s passing is criminally charged for their actions. Criminal charges often indicate that the defendant’s actions were wrongful and warrant a civil lawsuit for damages. You might have to wait until criminal prosecution is complete before your civil trial can commence.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Maryland
Under Md. Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 3-904(a), only a deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, or parents can bring a civil action for wrongful death. This means that close friends or relatives who might have had a close relationship but are too distantly related cannot usually file the case unless certain conditions are present. Our Maryland wrongful death attorneys can help you determine if you can sue.
Under the law, if no other eligible parties exist, anyone related by blood or marriage who substantially relied upon the deceased may file the claim. For example, if a deceased person was unmarried, had no children, and their parents had passed away, someone like a cousin, aunt, uncle, or grandparent could file the wrongful death claim if they relied upon the deceased person in some significant way.
In many cases, there are multiple beneficiaries involved, and dividing damages awards might become complicated. Generally, according to law, damages awards are divided among beneficiaries as determined by the verdict. This means how damages awards are divided in your case will depend on your unique circumstances, the beneficiaries involved, and the verdict in your case.
It should also be noted that parents cannot recover for the wrongful death of children if they cause the wrongful death. Similarly, children cannot sue for the wrongful death of a parent if the children committed are responsible for the wrongful act and the loss of their parents.
Potential Damages in Maryland Wrongful Death Cases
Damages in wrongful death lawsuits can be quite significant. Not only is dealing with losing a loved one an expensive process, but it is also emotionally painful. Damages in wrongful death claims may include pecuniary losses and emotional suffering resulting from your loved one’s passing. The type of non-economic injuries and losses you can claim might depend on your relationship with the deceased person.
According to Md. Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 3-904(d), damages in wrongful death cases should include various pecuniary losses stemming from losing your loved one. Pecuniary losses are monetary losses, including funeral and burial costs, hospital bills, lost income, loss of valuable services, and other economic losses. The nature and amount of the pecuniary damages in your case will vary based on your circumstances.
Damages may also include losses on a more emotional level. Death is difficult to deal with, and claimants can recover damages for emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of society, companionship, comfort, and protection. A child might claim the loss of parental guidance, while a spouse could claim the loss of marital care and attention. The damages in wrongful death cases are often quite high, and a bit complicated, and you should speak to our Maryland wrongful death attorneys about your potential damages right away.
Evidence You Need to Prove Your Wrongful Death Claims in Maryland
Gathering evidence in wrongful death claims can be incredibly difficult. Not only might evidence be hard to come by, but your and your family are probably still grieving. Our Maryland wrongful death lawyers can help investigate for evidence while you and your family heal from such a tragic loss.
In many cases, multiple people might have knowledge about how your loved one’s death occurred. Some might have even witnessed the event unfold before their eyes. Anyone with first-hand knowledge about how the defendant is involved in the deceased person’s passing can testify as a witness in court. Finding witnesses can be hard, but our legal team has experience identifying and locating important witnesses.
Often, physical evidence may be recovered from the location of your loved one’s passing. In most cases involving a death, the police will investigate and collect physical evidence from the scene. In a car accident case, the police might record things like tire marks or vehicle damage. In acts of criminal violence, a weapon, clothing, or even DNA evidence might be collected. We can work with the police to use this evidence in your civil lawsuit.
We should also introduce your loved one’s medical records that show exactly how your loved one passed away. Since the deceased person is no longer here, there is likely nobody else to explain the injuries and pain they experienced. We might even get a medical expert to testify and explain the injuries and how they were likely caused.
Call Our Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers for Help Now
You deserve significant compensation for your grievous losses if you lost a loved one because of someone else’s wrongful actions. Our Maryland wrongful death lawyers can help you during this incredibly difficult time. For a free case review, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.