Death is a natural part of life, but wrongful deaths are extremely difficult. In such cases, people can file wrongful death claims to hold people accountable for their grievous actions.
A wrongful death claim may be filed if you lost a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful actions. A wrongful act may include various behaviors, including negligence and criminal acts of violence. Although losing a loved one is very difficult, only certain family members can file wrongful death claims. Which family members can file a claim depends on who passed away, whether they were married, and whether they had any children. Even if you do not file the claim yourself, you might still be awarded damages by the court for the loss of your family member. An attorney can help determine if you or someone else in your family can file a wrongful death claim.
Losing a family member can be very painful, especially if wrongful actions are involved. Our Maryland wrongful death lawyers can help you file a claim and get justice for your family. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 for a free case evaluation.
Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Maryland?
A wrongful death claim may be filed when a loved one passes away because of another’s wrongful actions. Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 3-901(e), a wrongful act is defined as an act, neglect, or default that would entitle an injured party to take legal action and recover damages if they had survived. Although no acts or omissions are specifically mentioned, the statute is construed broadly and may include various wrongful acts. Neglect, criminal acts of violence, accidental acts of negligence, and more, are all possible.
You should consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit if you lose a loved one because of another person’s wrongful actions. Some wrongful acts are more obvious than others, and many plaintiffs are unsure if they have a case when they initially meet with a lawyer. For example, a criminal act of violence is clearly a wrongful action. However, a car accident where fault is hard to determine is less clear might still be the subject of a wrongful death claim.
Many people might feel compelled to take action when someone passes away because of another’s wrongful act. Not everyone in the deceased person’s life can file a wrongful death claim. Only family members may do so, and not even all family members are eligible. Talk to our Rockville wrongful death lawyers about whether you can file.
Which Family Members Can File Wrongful Death Claims in Maryland?
After a loved one passes away because of someone else’s wrongful actions, only certain family members are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their loved one’s behalf. Friends and distant relatives, no matter how close to the deceased person they were, are usually not permitted to file a wrongful death claim. Our Owings Mills wrongful death attorneys can help you determine who can file a claim for the loss of your loved one.
According to Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 3-904(a), only a select group of family members can file a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one. Spouses, children, and parents who survive the deceased person can file claims, while more distant relatives or those not related to the deceased person cannot take such legal action.
Under certain circumstances, relatives distant from the deceased person may file a wrongful death claim. According to subsection (b) of the same statute mentioned above, anyone related by blood or marriage to the deceased person can file a wrongful death claim if there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents and the relative was in some way “substantially dependent” on the deceased person. For example, a grandparent can file a wrongful death claim for the loss of a grandchild if the grandchild had no spouse, children, or parents and the grandparent relied on their grandchild as a caregiver.
What Relatives Recover Damages from a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland?
Regardless of which family member files a wrongful death lawsuit, the action is usually for the benefit of the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents. This means that any or all of these people can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, even if they are the person who files it. Our Mount Airy wrongful death lawyers can help you calculate your damages and maximize the compensation available in your case.
Usually, courts award damages in wrongful death cases in proportion to the loss suffered by each person. Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 3-904(c), the damages recovered are divided among the beneficiaries as directed by the court’s verdict.
Those close to the deceased person and who perhaps relied on them for important and valuable services may recover more than those who were close but less reliant. For example, a spouse and child may recover not only for their emotional anguish at the loss of their loved one but also for the loss of their loved one’s income. Meanwhile, parents of the deceased who were not financially dependent on them may still recover damages, albeit a bit less.
Damages may be awarded for both pecuniary losses and losses related to your emotional suffering and anguish. For example, a spouse can recover damages for the lost income that the deceased person would have provided in addition to damages for their loss of companionship, consortium, and society. Children may recover damages for the loss of parental care and guidance.
How to Figure Out if You Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland
Determining whether you can file a wrongful death claim requires meeting with an attorney and discussing family members and their relationship with the deceased person. If you are more distantly related to the deceased person, like a niece, nephew, or cousin, you might not be able to recover if the deceased person is survived by someone closer, like a spouse or child.
If you are a distant relative, and the deceased person has no other family members, you might only recover if you were substantially dependent on your deceased family member. For example, you can file a wrongful death claim if they provided you with financial assistance. Our Glen Burnie wrongful death lawyers can help you get started.
Call Our Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
Losing a family member is one of the most painful experiences a person can endure. Our Dundalk wrongful death attorneys can help you get justice and fair compensation for your unspeakable loss. For a free case review, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.