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What Constitutes Wrongful Death in Maryland?


When a loved one is wrongfully killed, the victim’s family often suffers emotional pain and financial hardships. the unexpected loss of a loved one results in missed memories, broken families, loss of income, heartache, and lost companionship. Under Maryland law, the Wrongful Death statute affords grieving families a way to seek financial relief for their suffering. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our attorneys and staff are dedicated to representing families and individuals who have had someone taken away from them. Below, our Baltimore wrongful death attorney looks at what constitutes wrongful death in Maryland.

What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland?

A wrongful death lawsuit is filed when a person’s death is caused by the negligence or recklessness of another person, company, or organization. In Maryland, these claims often arise from motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and any other incident where someone’s injuries could be fatal.
In most cases, the individual who is entitled to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit is a member of the deceased’s immediate family, including a child, spouse, or parent. However, claimants are not limited to the immediate family, grandparents could file a suit under certain circumstances and people who are financially dependent on the deceased, such as a life-partner, could have a valid claim.
The estate of a deceased individual might also be permitted to file a survival claim in addition to any wrongful death lawsuits.
Your Maryland wrongful death will have to demonstrate three elements to file a claim on your behalf.
First, the death of the individual must have been caused by a negligent or wrongful act. For example, you could be entitled to recovering through a wrongful death claim if your spouse was killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.
Next, the negligent conduct would have entitled the injured person to financial compensation had they not died. Returning to the example above, your spouse would have been able to recover for any injuries if those injuries were not fatal.
Finally, as a plaintiff, you would have to have a relationship with the individual that died that qualifies you to make a wrongful death claim. Again, turning to the above example, as the spouse of someone killed by a drunk driver, you would be entitled to pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful Death Claims Versus Survival Benefits in Maryland

When someone dies due to the negligence of another person, company, or organization, two statutory claims could be filed to seek compensation. While these claims arise from the same incident, they are very different.
Our Maryland personal injury attorney will file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a family member. Through the lawsuit, the family member or other eligible individual is seeking compensation for the financial harm and emotional distress they suffered due to the death.
On the other hand, a survival action is filed by the estate of the deceased. the estate will seek monetary compensation for the harm and pain the victim experienced. the laws governing each type of claim are separate, including two different statutes of limitations. it is critical for you to speak with our Maryland wrongful death lawyer to determine which type of action you wish to pursue. In many situations, both claims could be filed.

What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland?

If you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, many types of damages could be available depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.
In most situations, a dependent child or spouse that required financial support from the dead person is entitled to receive the income the deceased would have earned if they had not been killed. Our office will work with various experts to calculate a reasonable amount of lost wages. the surviving family member could also recover for the replacement cost of services the deceased rendered – for example, childcare costs if one spouse worked and the dead spouse cared for the children. Other financial losses include any medical costs or funeral and burial expenses.
In addition to the financial losses, a survivor is entitled to recover for the emotional pain and suffering they have endured due to losing a loved one. These damages include the loss of comfort, companionship, protection, advice, and loss of consortium. Unfortunately, in a wrongful death lawsuit, damages for noneconomic damages are capped based on the year the incident occurred. For 2020, the amount of compensation a survivor could be awarded is capped at $890,000. This amount will increase each year by $15,000. There is no cap for your financial losses.

Statute of limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Maryland

Under Maryland law, there is a deadline to file a lawsuit. This restriction is known as the statute of limitations. A wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the victim’s death. it is important to understand that the date of the accident or negligent conduct does not control. If your spouse was in a car accident and died two years afterward due to injuries suffered in the accident, the three years begins running from the date of the death. Our Maryland attorney for wrongful death in a car accident can help with this claim.

Call Our Maryland Wrongful Death Attorney to Find Out If Your Claim Qualifies for a Lawsuit

A wrongful death claim arises when someone is killed due to the negligent actions of another. Unlike an ordinary personal injury lawsuit, our Aberdeen wrongful death attorney will file a claim on behalf of a surviving family member or loved one. Also, unlike a personal injury lawsuit, the claimant will be seeking to recover damages for the harm they suffered, not for the pain and suffering the victim endured. If your loved one was the victim of wrongful death, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.