Losing a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions is a devastating experience. Fortunately, Maryland families who have suffered such a loss can seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
While financial compensation cannot replace the loss of a loved one, it can help alleviate some of the financial burdens that arise in the aftermath of a tragic event. However, it is important to understand that not all expenses are recoverable in a wrongful death case in Maryland. These typically include non-economic damages like emotional suffering. Fortunately, several economic expenses can be claimed for the loss of your loved one.
Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291 to receive your free case assessment with our Maryland wrongful death lawyers.
What Expenses Will I Not Be Able to Recover in a Maryland Wrongful Death Claim?
In Maryland, specific types of expenses cannot be recovered. These expenses are typically not included in the list of recoverable damages in a survival or wrongful death action.
Some examples of expenses that fall under this category include legal fees, travel expenses, and other miscellaneous costs. If you are unsure whether a particular expense can be recovered, our Bethesda wrongful death attorneys can help you determine what you might be entitled to. The following are the expenses, or damages, that usually cannot be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland:
Pain and Suffering Damages
In personal injury cases, compensation for pain and suffering is a common element of damages awarded to the plaintiff. However, the laws in Maryland differ from those in other states in that they do not allow for the recovery of damages for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased person before their death.
Even if it can be proven that the deceased person endured significant pain and suffering before their passing, Maryland law does not permit the recovery of damages for this type of harm. This means that in cases of wrongful death or other fatal accidents, the damages awarded to the plaintiff will not include compensation for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased person before they died.
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to seek compensation for the damages and losses suffered by family members as a result of their loved one’s death. Punitive damages, which are damages awarded to punish the at-fault party for their egregious conduct, are generally not available in wrongful death cases in Maryland. This is because the primary goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to provide some measure of financial relief to the surviving family members rather than to punish the responsible party.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In a wrongful death case, the surviving family members might be entitled to recover various types of expenses associated with the loss of their loved one. These expenses can include medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and lost income or financial support. Damages that you can pursue in a wrongful death claim include the following:
Funeral and Burial Expenses
When a loved one passes away, the expenses involved in arranging a funeral can add up quickly. These costs might include the price of a casket, a burial plot, cremation services, memorial services, and other expenses related to the funeral. However, it is important to know that these costs can be recovered, and there are options available to help you manage the financial burden during this difficult time.
In case the deceased individual had undergone any medical procedures before their demise, the medical expenses that were necessary and reasonable as a result of the injury can be considered for inclusion in the claim. This implies that the medical costs incurred during the treatment of the injury that eventually led to the death of the person can be claimed. It is important to note that these expenses might be subject to certain limitations and requirements as per legal regulations and policies.
In a wrongful death case, family members can seek compensation for the loss of financial support and future earnings that the deceased person would have provided. This compensation covers not only the current income but also the potential future earnings that the deceased would have earned throughout their lifetime had they not passed away.
This includes factors such as the person’s occupation, education, and work experience, as well as their age, health, and life expectancy. By taking these factors into account, the court can make a fair assessment of the economic impact of the loss on the deceased person’s family members.
Loss of Companionship
In Maryland, the law not only acknowledges the financial impact of a wrongful death but also takes into consideration the emotional distress and loss of companionship suffered by the surviving family members. Compensation can be sought for the loss of companionship caused by death, as it recognizes the value of a loved one’s presence and support in one’s life. This recognizes the importance of emotional well-being and provides a way for family members to seek justice and closure for their loss.
How Wrongful Death is Defined and Who Can Recover Damages in Maryland
Maryland’s wrongful death law is established in Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art. § 3-901(e). According to this law, a person can be held liable for wrongful death if they cause the death of another person through an act or negligence that would have allowed the victim to file a lawsuit if they were alive.
Wrongful deaths can result from either intentional or negligent acts, though most of them happen because of someone’s carelessness. Even if the act that caused the wrongful death is not considered a criminal offense, the negligent party can still be held liable in civil court.
However, not all family members have the legal right to file a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a loved one. As per Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art. § 3-904, only primary and secondary beneficiaries can file a wrongful death claim. Primary beneficiaries include the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased.
If the deceased person did not have a spouse, children, or living parents, then other individuals who were related to the deceased by blood or marriage and who depended on the deceased for financial or emotional support during their lifetime may be able to file a claim. These individuals are known as secondary beneficiaries.
Our Maryland Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
For a free case review with our Baltimore wrongful death attorneys, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.