Montgomery County, MD Wrongful Death Attorney
If your relative or loved one was killed in an accident in Maryland, you may be entitled to financial compensation. If the fatal accident was caused by the negligence of another person, you can consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Not everyone has standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland, and not all deaths meet the requirements to be considered wrongful. The Maryland statute governing wrongful death must be carefully considered in the context of the facts surrounding your case. Other concerns like the statute of limitation and available damages create complexity that only a skilled attorney can navigate.
If you think your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence, speak to the Montgomery County wrongful death attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras to discuss your case. Call us at (410) 694-7291 today.
Who Can Benefit from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Montgomery County?
When looking at a potential wrongful death lawsuit, attorneys will first consider whether you have standing to bring the suit. Standing means that you are allowed to file the lawsuit according to the law. In Maryland, standing to file a wrongful death action is governed by Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art. § 3-904 (a) and (b).
Two different classes of beneficiaries can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland. A primary beneficiary may file the lawsuit on behalf of themselves. Only a spouse, parent or child is considered to be a primary beneficiary. Unfortunately, domestic partnerships are not explicitly included as primary beneficiaries in the statute. However, our Montgomery County wrongful death attorneys can advise domestic partners of other options, including potentially filing as a secondary beneficiary.
Secondary beneficiaries are the second class of beneficiaries defined by law. This category includes relatives by blood or marriage who depended upon the deceased person.. For example, a niece or nephew who lived with the deceased and depended on them for housing could file a wrongful death lawsuit as a secondary beneficiary to recover housing costs that would not have otherwise been incurred. The Montgomery County wrongful death attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can work with all beneficiaries to determine whether and how to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death and Negligence in Montgomery County
Formally, a wrongful act in Maryland is defined in §3-901(e). Generally, a wrongful death stems from a negligent action committed by another person. The types of accidents that could lead to a wrongful death suit are the same types that would lead to a personal injury lawsuit if the victim had not succumbed to their injuries, like car accidents, workplace accidents, or medical malpractice.
The negligent action must cause the victim’s death, and the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit must have suffered some injury as a result of the death. The injury suffered by the plaintiff would not be a physical injury – like a broken arm – but other harms or losses like paying medical bills or losing companionship. In addition to examining the negligent actions committed that cause the victim’s death, we must also consider whether the victim contributed to the negligence at all.
Maryland’s Contributary Negligence Standard
States have differing standards that apply to the victim’s own conduct in a negligence action. Unfortunately, Maryland has a pure contributory negligence standard, which can be used to eliminate damages available to plaintiffs. If the victim of an accident contributed at all to the negligence in the accident, then no damages will be available to the plaintiff.
Pure contributory negligence is a harsh standard that has been adopted in a minority of states. What this means for any prospective plaintiff is that they should have one of our Montgomery County wrongful death attorneys meticulously examine the details surrounding the cause of an accident in a wrongful death case
Maryland’s Statute of Limitations
Another important requirement of wrongful death actions in Maryland is that they are filed by the required deadline, called the statute of limitations. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which includes wrongful death suits, is three years. Since time is required to investigate an accident, determine if the death was wrongful, and evaluate any contributory negligence, it is crucial to speak with one of our Montgomery County wrongful death attorneys as soon as possible.
Damages Available to Families of Deceased Accident Victims in Montgomery County
Once one of our Montgomery County wrongful death attorneys has determined that you have standing to sue and that the wrongful death requirements have been met, they can then advise you on the types of damages that may be available. There are two broad categories of damages: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to monetary costs resulting from the incident that caused the wrongful death. These damages are the simpler of the two types to identify because they have a dollar amount associated with them. Examples of economic damages include hospital bills, emergency medical service bills, the cost of medicines administered in an attempt to save, current lost wages, future lost wages, and funeral costs. These damages have no maximum cap defined by law in Maryland, which allows a plaintiff to recover all justified expenses caused by the death of their relative.
In contrast, non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and have a cap imposed by Maryland law. Non-economic damages encompass pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of parental, filial, or marital care, mental anguish, loss of guidance and training, and other types of emotional harm. . Calculating a monetary amount to compensate a wrongful death plaintiff for non-economic damages is complex. Whether a case is settled by the parties or argued at a trial, our Montgomery County wrongful death attorneys can help determine a fair amount. .
Call Today to Speak to Our Montgomery County Wrongful Death Attorneys
Filing and litigating a wrongful death claim can be a complex and confusing process, but the Montgomery County wrongful death attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can be your advisors and advocates. Call (410) 694-7291 for a free case review.