Potomac, Maryland Wrongful Death Attorney
The unexpected death of a loved one is always a shocking, tragic, and saddening experience. It can feel as though you have been cheated, that life is not fair, and you may be wondering how such a thing could have happened. These feelings of sorrow, frustration, and anger can be compounded when you believe your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s failure to do the right thing.
If you are seeking damages for the wrongful death of a loved one, our attorneys can help you. We can handle your case with the professionalism, compassion, and care that is required for wrongful death claims, and we can fight hard to make sure that the court treats you fairly and that you get the best shot at financial compensation.
To speak with our compassionate wrongful death attorneys, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to get a free case analysis.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Potomac, MD?
A wrongful death lawsuit, or wrongful death claim, is a type of lawsuit where you allege that a loved one died because someone else was negligent. In a legal, technical sense, “negligence” involves someone – or an entity like a company –not acting as a reasonable person/entity should under the circumstances, and someone getting hurt or killed as a result.
Although trial proceedings may be somewhat similar to other personal injury claims, wrongful death lawsuits have some differences from personal injury lawsuits. Our wrongful death attorneys know how to navigate wrongful death claims and will make sure that we follow the correct procedures for your case.
Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims in Potomac, MD?
It may surprise some people to know that not all family members can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one. Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904(a)(1), only spouses, parents, and children of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. This can leave people like cousins, friends, and other people close to the deceased unable to file a claim. If you are an individual who is not able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased, you should not despair, as you may be able to be involved in the lawsuit in other ways, for example. If you were present with the deceased when the death-causing accident occurred, you may be able to testify as an eyewitness, should you wish to.
Damages in Potomac, MD Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In successful wrongful death claims, the plaintiff is awarded damages to compensate for the loss of the deceased. Although damages can in no way bring the deceased back or fully replace them, they are the court’s way of trying to bring some kind of recompense to the affected people. Below, we’ll go into some of the kinds of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death claim.
In many cases, the individual who died and is the subject of a wrongful death claim is the primary provider for a household. That means that spouses, children, and other people relied on the income obtained by the deceased. Since that income can no longer be obtained, the court can award damages to try and offset the now dry stream of income.
Mental anguish and emotional pain are other items that you can get damages for in a wrongful death claim. This refers to things like emotional distress, turmoil, and pain friends, family, and other close individuals experience because of the sudden passing of the deceased. It is hard to put a value on what a deceased person meant to people close to them, but that is what must be done by our lawyers in order to recover damages for these feelings. To help convince the court of the value of these damages, evidence such as personal testimony as well as medical diagnoses (such as a diagnosis of PTSD) can help establish the extent of mental and emotional pain caused by the wrongful death.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium specifically refers to the loss of love and companionship for the spouse of a deceased person. Courts understand that spousal relationships are special, so you can get damages for that loss.
Loss of Parental Care
This is another form of damages that really only applies if the deceased had children or other individuals they cared for. For example, suppose the deceased was a stay-at-home parent who, by staying home and caring for children, allowed their spouse to pursue their career. That living spouse may not be able to be as financially productive anymore, so the court can award damages as compensation for the lost source of care.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Potomac, MD?
Wrongful death lawsuits need to be filed within a certain timeframe to be actionable. There are laws in every state called statutes of limitation that set time limits on how long people have to bring lawsuits for certain things. In the case of wrongful death claims, plaintiffs have three years from the time of death to file their claim per Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., §3-904(g). There are some exceptions, such as if an “occupational disease” resulted in the death, which extends the time you have to file. However, for the most part, you should stick to the standard time frame, because after that time, you may not be able to have a court hear your case or recover damages.
Speak to Our Potomac, MD Wrongful Death Attorneys Now
Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s wrongful death attorneys are ready to lend an ear and help you with your case when you dial (410) 694-7291.