Reisterstown, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer

Experiencing the loss of a loved one in Reisterstown can be an incredibly painful experience. Nonetheless, if the cause of death is attributable to someone else’s actions, pursuing compensation through a wrongful death claim can provide some small form of relief.

Wrongful death cases can be notoriously intricate, so it is essential to have the assistance of a competent team on your side. Our firm has extensive experience handling such cases and can help you hold the negligent party accountable during one of the most challenging times of your life. We understand that dealing with grief can be overwhelming, which is why we work tirelessly on your case while you focus on your and your family’s recovery. Our attorneys will gather the evidence you need so a complete claim is organized and filed.

Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras by calling (410) 694-7291 to receive your free case assessment with our wrongful death lawyers.

Determining if a Wrongful Death Occurred in Reisterstown, MD

Wrongful death is defined as the death of a person resulting from another’s negligent, reckless, or deliberate actions, according to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-902. This law provides the framework for wrongful death actions, allowing certain family members or beneficiaries to file a claim for compensation.

A wrongful death claim can be pursued if the victim’s death was caused by an act that would have entitled the deceased to file a personal injury claim had they survived. This means that the underlying act must have constituted a breach of duty that directly led to the individual’s death.

In other words, if the deceased person had lived, they would have had grounds to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Our wrongful death lawyers are here to guide you on how to make your claim and the damages you can recover. However, since they have passed away, their surviving family members or beneficiaries can pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf.

The damages awarded in a wrongful death claim might include compensation for funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages and benefits, and other financial losses resulting from the victim’s death. Additionally, damages might be awarded for non-economic losses, such as loss of companionship, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.

Determining the Heirs in a Reisterstown, MD Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-904 has well-defined criteria for determining the rightful heirs in a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute distinguishes between primary and secondary beneficiaries, with the former having the first right to file a claim and receive compensation. Primary beneficiaries include the spouses, parents, and children of the deceased.

However, secondary beneficiaries might also be eligible to file a claim if no primary beneficiaries exist or if they are financially dependent on the deceased. Secondary beneficiaries comprise siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, and more distant relatives. To establish eligibility for compensation, secondary beneficiaries must often prove their dependence on the deceased.

Determining the rightful heirs in a wrongful death lawsuit can be a complicated process, especially in cases where familial relationships are disputed or complex. In such cases, potential heirs, such as stepchildren or unadopted dependents, might not be formally recognized. Furthermore, disagreements might arise among potential heirs regarding the distribution of awarded damages.

Establishing heirs in a wrongful death lawsuit typically involves filing the claim and presenting sufficient documentation to substantiate the relationship to the decedent. The documentation might include birth certificates, marriage licenses, and evidence of dependency. This process can be time-consuming and might require legal assistance to navigate complex legal and familial considerations.

How the Proceeds of a Wrongful Death Claim Are Distributed in Reisterstown, MD

The distribution of wrongful death claim proceeds involves several steps. First, the damages incurred must be calculated, which include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses might include lost wages, benefits, and other financial support that the deceased would have provided to their beneficiaries. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, might refer to the emotional and psychological pain and suffering experienced by the beneficiaries as a result of the death of their loved one.

The allocation of the claim proceeds among beneficiaries depends on several factors, such as their relationship to the deceased and the level of financial dependence they had on the deceased. The more beneficiaries who are eligible, the more complex the distribution process can become. For secondary beneficiaries, the degree of financial dependency on the deceased might influence the share of the proceeds they receive.

In some cases, beneficiaries might be able to reach an agreement on how the proceeds should be split, subject to court approval. However, in situations of dispute or ambiguity, the courts can exercise discretion in determining the distribution of the proceeds. Furthermore, when minors are beneficiaries, special considerations apply, including the potential appointment of guardians to manage their share.

However, Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-2A-09 caps non-economic damages in wrongful death claims. This means that the total available proceeds might be limited by the state-imposed caps on non-economic damages. As of 2024, the cap on non-economic damages, also known as “pain and suffering,” is set at $935,000.

The Personal Representative’s Role in Reisterstown, MD Wrongful Death Claims

In Reisterstown, the court sometimes appoints a personal representative to initiate the claim on behalf of the estate and beneficiaries. This representative is usually a spouse, parent, adult child, or another close relative of the deceased. However, in cases where no family member is available or capable of serving in this capacity, the court might appoint a trusted friend or an attorney.

The personal representative is responsible for several critical tasks involved in the wrongful death claim process. First, they must file the necessary legal paperwork with the appropriate Maryland court. This involves gathering all relevant evidence that supports the wrongful death claim, including medical records, witness statements, police reports, and any other documentation that can prove negligence or fault.

While a personal representative can technically manage a wrongful death claim independently, it is highly advisable to work with experienced legal counsel. An attorney specializing in wrongful death claims can provide invaluable guidance and representation, ensuring that the claim is properly filed, argued, and maximized in terms of potential compensation.

Throughout the legal process, the personal representative serves as the bridge between the legal system and the beneficiaries. They must keep all parties informed about the claim’s progress, any settlement offers, and the distribution of any awarded damages.

If the wrongful death claim is successful, the personal representative is tasked with overseeing the distribution of damages to the beneficiaries according to Maryland law. This involves ensuring that all debts and expenses are paid before distributing the remaining assets to the eligible beneficiaries.

Our Reisterstown, MD Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help During This Difficult Time

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