Woodlawn, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer

The loss of a parent, spouse, child, or other family member could be the single most heartbreaking and traumatic event you have ever experienced.  When a loved one is taken away by an avoidable accident, it can be even more frustrating and hurtful.  However, you could be entitled to seek justice for their death by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties.

It is rare that an accidental death is truly an accident, and various parties can often be held liable for a death.  Dangerous drivers, defective product manufacturers, owners of dangerous property, and other parties can potentially be held liable and ordered to pay damages to your family after an accidental death.

For a free review of your potential case with the wrongful death lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras, call (410) 694-7291.

Determining Fault in a Wrongful Death Case in Woodlawn, MD

Depending on how the death occurred, there are different parties that could likely be held responsible for a loved one’s death.  Our wrongful death lawyers explain different types of wrongful death claims and which parties are typically responsible, as well as the legal mechanisms that allow us to sue them and hold them liable for the loss of your loved one.

In general, wrongful death lawsuits are usually based on a claim of negligence, which means that the victim died because the responsible party failed to uphold a legal duty that they owed the victim.  The duty will depend on the given situation, but it usually involves some kind of reasonableness standard or an action or inaction that violates the law.

Car Accidents

Fatal car accidents usually result from serious traffic violations.  For example, a driver who was drunk, speeding, running a red light, or otherwise violating the law can typically be held liable for a crash that kills another driver, passenger, pedestrian, biker, or other victim.

In some cases, the liability extends past the driver.  This is common in cases involving a commercial driver, such as a trucker, bus driver, or taxi driver.  The company that they work for can often be held liable in addition to the individual driver.  This can potentially open access to additional compensation the driver would not be able to pay on their own.

Dangerous and Defective Product Injuries

Deadly injuries caused by a dangerous power tool, appliance, auto part, or other item can often be blamed on the manufacturer of the item.  The same is true in cases of deadly pharmaceutical injuries.

Designers and manufacturers have a duty to produce a product that is reasonably safe for its intended (and sometimes unintended) uses.  Problems with an unsafe design, errors in assembling the item, or inadequate warning labels can put the manufacturer at fault for a user’s death.

Medical Malpractice

If a patient dies on the table or passes away from inadequate medical care, misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes, or other examples of malpractice, the doctor and hospital could be liable.  Doctors are held to a strict standard of care based on what a reasonable physician with similar training and experience would do in the same situation.  If they fail to uphold this standard and a patient dies because of it, they can be held liable.

Hospitals can also be held liable as the doctor’s employer if that situation applies.  Hospitals can also be held liable for unreasonable actions by other staff members (e.g., nurses), unsafe or unsanitary conditions, problems with testing, or mistakes in dispensing medication.

Workplace Accidents

Deadly accidents at work are often a bit more complex than accidents in other situations because lawsuits are not typically allowed against the deceased’s workers’ employer.  As such, you often need to look to other potential parties you can sue for a loved one’s death, such as the manufacturer of defective safety gear or a dangerous piece of equipment that killed them.  However, you can typically sue the victim’s employer for intentional injury.

Crime and Murder

If someone is killed as the victim of a crime, then you can often sue them for the death they caused.  The most obvious situation where this would occur is with a murder, but manslaughter and vehicular homicide can also lead to a lawsuit.

The civil wrongful death claim is separate from any criminal charges filed against the defendant, and the burden of proof is lower in a civil claim.  This means that if the criminal case is successful, your civil lawsuit will essentially succeed automatically.  However, it also means that if the defendant beats the criminal charges, you could still win a civil case against them for your loved one’s death.

Filing Wrongful Death Claims in Woodlawn, MD

When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you can actually file two claims that address separate issues.  First, you can file a survival action that covers the damages that your deceased loved one experienced before death.  Alongside that, you can file a wrongful death claim to cover the harms your family faced because of the death.

In a survival action, the victim’s estate can claim compensation for the end-of-life pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages.  Essentially, if your loved one had instead lived to file a personal injury claim, these are the damages they would have claimed in that suit.

In a wrongful death suit, the family of the victim recovers compensation for their own harms.  This can include the “pecuniary” losses related to a death, such as funeral expenses, ongoing lost wages, lost services around the house, and other monetary expenses.  It can also include harm to the family members, such as lost marital services, lost parental guidance, lost companionship, grief, emotional distress, and more.

Reach Out to Our Woodlawn, MD Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

Call (410) 694-7291 for a free case review with Rice, Murtha & Psoras’ wrongful death lawyers.