Randallstown, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer

“Wrongful death” claims encompass two separate but related lawsuits that family members can often file to recover compensation for the death of a loved one.  To recover, you have to show that the defendant’s actions or inactions actually caused your loved one’s death.  With the help of an experienced lawyer, doing so can win damages for your family.

If you need help with your case, our attorneys can represent you and fight every step of the case to get you the damages you deserve.  We can work to collect evidence and research the accident and stand up in court to represent you in a lawsuit if the defense is unwilling to settle your claim out of court.

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

Filing a Wrongful Death and Survival Suit in Randallstown, MD

When you file a claim for wrongful death, you will generally want to consider filing both a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action.  These two lawsuits are related and focus on the same facts, but they are filed to compensate different areas of damages.  It is also important to understand who files these cases and what damages you can recover.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits vs. Survival Actions

A wrongful death lawsuit is meant to compensate the family of the victim for the financial and mental/emotional damages they face because of their loss.  When you file this case, you can claim damages for things like lost earnings and grief to the family of the deceased.

If the victim of the accident had not died but was still injured, they likely would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit for their accident.  A survival action picks up that claim, continuing it in the name of the victim’s estate instead.  This lawsuit recovers damages that would have gone to the victim, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Damages for Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

When you file a wrongful death claim, you can claim both “pecuniary” and other damages.  Some states use a pecuniary damages rule that limits the family to claiming only economic damages like the lost wages, funeral expenses, and other monetary damages they face because of a death in the family.  Maryland law explicitly does not use this rule and lists examples of other damages the family can claim.

When claiming non-economic damages, our wrongful death lawyers will look for compensation for things like the lost companionship your family faces, as well as the emotional effects of the loss and mental anguish.  Children can also receive compensation for the loss of parental affection and guidance.  Spouses can claim compensation for loss of intimacy.

In a survival action, you recover the damages typical of a personal injury case: the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  Note that these damages account for the harm the victim faced before dying.  That means that if the victim faced a long illness or died weeks or months after a serious accident, these damages will be higher.

When accounting for pain and suffering, remember that there are two different areas of pain and suffering.  In the wrongful death lawsuit, the family members can claim compensation for their own suffering.  Along with the other damages from before the victim’s death, the survival action can claim compensation for the victim’s pre-death pain and suffering.

Who Can Benefit?

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim’s spouse, children, and parents can benefit.  These are typically the closest people to the victim, and they are typically the ones to depend on a spouse or parent for monetary support.

In the case of a victim who was a child, the family would not be claiming damages for lost wages or other support, but they can claim lost affection, grief, and other damages for a deceased child.  In the case of an adult child’s death, it may be difficult for the parents to claim any lost income or support if they live in separate households, but again, damages for lost affection are allowed.  If the adult child supported their parents economically, that should be covered.

There are a few other exceptions to these laws that cut off benefits paid to a parent who was abusive or caused the child’s death.

If there is no spouse, child, or parent who can file this case and accept benefits, then other family members can make a claim instead.  However, those family members must be a dependent of the deceased.  This could include siblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, or other family members the victim might have cared for or supported.

Note that these rules apply to spouses and family members – which includes relations by blood or marriage.  However, this does leave out unmarried dating partners.

Nonetheless, when it comes to distributing the damages from the survival action, they are paid into the victim’s estate and then distributed according to the terms of their will.  If an unmarried dating partner or some other unrelated person was included in the victim’s will, they can receive the survival action damages and other assets through that process.  If the victim did not have a will, Maryland’s intestacy statutes will dictate who receives what shares of the estate.

Examples of “Wrongful Deaths” in Randallstown, MD

A wrongful death can occur in many different situations, some of which might not initially seem like accidents you could be entitled to sue for.  Deadly car accidents and murder cases are perhaps the two most clear-cut kinds of cases you can sue for, as there is clearly someone at fault for the death.  In other cases where the accident occurred on someone else’s property (e.g., slip and falls, drownings, electrocution), then the property owner might be sued for the death.  Additionally, many cases involving negligent medical care could be filed as wrongful death suits against the hospital or doctor for mistakes like misdiagnosis or surgical errors.

Call Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Randallstown, MD Today

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