Severna Park, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death claims are often emotionally difficult cases, not to mention that they can be very legally complex. If you lost a loved one recently, speak to an attorney about the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims are typically limited only to immediate family members of the deceased person. Unfortunately, close friends not related to the deceased person by blood or marriage are ineligible. Some common examples of wrongful death claims involve car accidents, medical malpractice, and injuries sustained at work. Damages may be extensive and often feel inadequate compared to the value of the deceased person’s life. Even so, courts may award damages for various monetary losses and non-economic or emotional damages. Before you can obtain a damages award, we need evidence linking your loved one’s passing to the defendant’s wrongful actions.
Speak to our wrongful death lawyers about scheduling a free, confidential case evaluation by calling Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Severna Park, MD?
There are very strict rules regarding who can file a wrongful death claim in the State of Maryland. The law recognizes two distinct groups of people who can file a claim. First, immediate family members may file the case, including spouses, children, and parents of the deceased person. For example, if you lost your spouse, child, or parents because of someone’s negligent actions, you are entitled to sue.
The next category includes all other family members related by blood or marriage. People in this group may file the case if there are no other eligible beneficiaries. For example, suppose the deceased person was unmarried, had no children, and had no parents. In that case, siblings, cousins, grandparents, or other family members can file a wrongful death claim. Remember, people in this group may sue only if there are no eligible members of the first group.
It is important to note that family members who are responsible for the passing of their loved one usually cannot file wrongful death claims. The law specifically carves out caveats for cases involving children. If a child passes away because of the wrongful actions of a parent, that parent may not file a wrongful death claim for the child.
Common Examples of Wrongful Death Cases in Severna Park, MD
It is often difficult for family members to determine whether they have a valid legal claim for wrongful death because death, no matter what, always feels wrongful. As such, it would be best to talk to our wrongful death attorneys about your loved one’s passing.
Some common examples of wrongful death claims involve auto accidents, medical malpractice, and work injuries. In all these circumstances, another person owed the deceased person a duty of care and safety. In each case, if this duty is breached, your loved one might be badly hurt. If they pass away from their injuries, you might have a valid wrongful death claim.
Damages Available in Severna Park, MD Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Damages in wrongful death lawsuits are known for being substantial. Not only do these kinds of claims involve significant pecuniary losses, but families endure severe emotional trauma that warrants considerable compensation. According to Md. Code Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 3-904(d), damages may include numerous financial losses and emotional pain and suffering.
Economic or pecuniary losses may be significant, depending on how your loved one passed away. Among these losses are the funeral and burial costs paid by the surviving family. You can also claim the financial value of the deceased person’s support or services.
For example, if the deceased person was the primary income earner for their household, their spouse can sue the lost income their partner would have earned had they not fallen victim to the defendant’s wrongful actions. You may also claim the value of certain services. Older parents of adult children often claim the cost of caregiving services their child provided before passing away.
You must also consider costs incurred by the defendant right before passing. In car accident cases, victims are often rushed to hospitals where they receive extensive emergency care before succumbing to their injuries. The cost of that emergency care should be factored into your case.
Death, even under easier circumstances, is emotionally challenging. Families of wrongful death victims often deal with emotional trauma and pain for many years, if not forever. Your attorney can help you articulate the numerous non-economic damages involved in your case.
Of course, you can claim your mental anguish and emotional pain, which might be significant. A spouse might claim the loss of society, companionship, and consortium. A child might claim the loss of parental guidance and advice. The value of these damages is hard to pinpoint as they are very subjective. Juries typically have the final say on how much non-economic damages are worth, so we must make sure we have strong evidence to convince them of your claims.
How to Prove Liability in Wrongful Death Cases in Severna Park, MD
Proving liability for wrongful death is rarely easy, both legally and emotionally. Family members must often grapple with the emotional trauma of reliving their loved one’s passing while navigating a complex legal system. An attorney can help you obtain evidence proving that the defendant is responsible.
Wrongful death claims are often based on negligence but might instead be based on an intentional tort. For negligence cases, we must have evidence establishing the four critical elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
First, we must show that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care and safety. Next, we must prove how the defendant breached or violated that legal duty. Third, we need to establish that the defendant’s breach of duty is the direct cause of your loved one’s passing. Finally, we must show that your damages are real and not hypothetical possibilities.
If your case is based on intentional conduct by the defendant, we need to prove that the defendant committed the wrongful act and that they intended to do so. Intentional conduct might involve an assault and battery or other violent offenses. As such, defendants often face criminal charges. If the defendant is found guilty in criminal court, we can use their conviction as evidence in your civil lawsuit.
Contact Our Severna Park, MD Wrongful Death Lawyers
Talk to our wrongful death lawyers about setting up a free, private case review by calling the offices of Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.