Unfortunately, some accidents result in death. If the accident is due to another party’s negligence, there could be grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Unlike a personal injury case, a wrongful death lawsuit does not help the accident victim. These types of lawsuits allow surviving family members to seek compensation for their economic and emotional damages, such as lost wages and loss of companionship. Despite the difference in purpose, a wrongful death claim works like a personal injury lawsuit.
Our Baltimore wrongful death attorneys have represented grieving family members in a wide variety of lawsuits arising from car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, and intentional acts of violence. If you lost a family member due to another’s negligence, our office will fight for your just compensation, allowing you to focus on your self-care.
Rice, Murtha & Psoras has decades of experience handling complicated and challenging wrongful death claims. Our attorneys, staff, and resources are available to assist you. To discuss your options and what steps come next, call our law offices at (410) 694-7291.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Maryland
To prevail in a wrongful death case, your attorney must prove that another party’s negligence resulted in your loved one’s death. Negligence means that another party did not take reasonable or prudent action to prevent an accident that results in someone’s death.
One of the first actions in a wrongful death lawsuit is determining if another’s negligence caused the fatal accident. While ultimately, this is a question that will be determined by a jury or through negotiations with an insurance company, there must be a basis to begin the process. For example, if your loved one had a heart attack while sitting at a red light, there probably are no grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. On the other hand, if your loved one was killed in a catastrophic car crash caused by a drunk driver, you should consider filing a wrongful death claim.
Do You Have the Right to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
An accident victim has the right to recover their damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Legally, this is known as “standing.” Before a wrongful death lawsuit is filed, our office will have to confirm that you have standing in the case.
Under Maryland law, only certain people are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You must be the deceased’s spouse, a surviving child, or a parent to file a wrongful death claim. In the situation where there are no survivors that qualify, another relative, either by blood or marriage, who was financially dependent on the deceased is permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
A survival action is another type of claim that could be filed if someone dies due to another’s negligence. However, unlike a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action is filed on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Therefore, it is filed by the executor named in the deceased’s will or by an administrator appointed by the court.
Liable Parties in a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Once our Mount Airy wrongful death attorneys have determined that you have grounds and standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit, they will have to determine what party is being sued. While this might seem simple, it could be a complicated answer depending on what occurred.
For example, if another driver collided with your loved one at an intersection, the obvious choice is to file a lawsuit against the driver and their insurance company. However, there could be other contributing factors that open other parties to liability.
What if the driver was making a delivery for a company? If this is the case, it might be possible to hold the driver’s employer accountable for your loved one’s death.
Today’s vehicles are built with many safety features. A common feature in most cars are airbags. What happens if the airbag in your loved one’s car failed to deploy? If the airbag’s failure contributed to your loved one’s death, the manufacturer could be held responsible as well.
The conditions of the road could have also contributed to the fatal accident. If road construction or debris played a part in the accident, a construction company or the municipality tasked with maintaining the road could be at fault.
The above example demonstrates how a “simple” car accident has many potential liable parties. What you file a wrongful death claim, you want to ensure that every potentially responsible party is included.
What Type of Action: Wrongful Death Claim or Survival Action
As discussed above, there are two kinds of actions that could arise from a fatal accident. Eligible surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim. the purpose is to seek compensation for the harm the surviving family member experienced. Our Maryland wrongful death attorney will have to provide evidence to support the harm you suffered.
The administer of the deceased’s estate could file a survival action. the easiest way to think of a survival action is as a personal injury lawsuit filed to recover the deceased’s damages from the time of their accident to their death. Damages could include medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering. Any compensation awarded goes to the estate and is disbursed to any beneficiaries through the deceased’s will. If there is no will, Maryland’s intestate laws govern. In most cases, our law office will file both claims.
Our Maryland Wrongful Death Attorneys Will Guide You Through the Process
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our attorneys and staff understand the grief that accompanies losing someone unexpectedly. Our Towson wrongful death lawyers proved sympathetic representation while aggressively fighting for your legal rights. We can help you navigate through the long process of a wrongful death case. To discuss what steps are involved with a wrongful death lawsuit or survival claim, call (410) 694-7291.