Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers
When a wrongful death occurs, you should immediately seek the legal advice of an experienced attorney. A successful wrongful death lawsuit provides financial assistance to surviving loved ones as well as justice for the victim who lost their life. At Potter Burnett Law, we represent those who have lost loved ones as a result of third-party negligence or recklessness.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death occurs when someone dies as the result of another person’s reckless or negligent action. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action, but the at-fault party may also be charged criminally as well, depending on the circumstances. The civil litigation compensates the family left behind while the criminal case seeks to hold them accountable to the state, including any prison or fines imposed.
Some examples of wrongful death can be the result of:
- Drunk Driving
- Commercial Drivers Working Beyond Hours-of-Service Regulations
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Slips and Falls
- Intentional Killing
- Product Defects
Wrongful death can also occur in association with medical malpractice. In these cases, the patient dies as a result of a physician’s error or misconduct. When someone dies while receiving medical care it does not automatically mean it is a wrongful death. Medical malpractice happens when a medical professional (physician, surgeon, anesthesiologist, and more) causes their death because they didn’t provide the standard of care that another reasonably competent and skilled medical professional would have provided in similar circumstances.
Medical malpractice wrongful death cases include:
- Preventable Birth Injuries
- Delayed C-Sections
- Mismanaged Childbirth Complications
- Diagnostic Errors
- Surgical Errors
- Anesthesia Errors
- Failures To Diagnose/Treat Bacterial Meningitis
- General Negligence by Healthcare Professionals
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit?
Wrongful death allows a lawsuit to be filed even though the person who was harmed is no longer alive to bring the case. The heirs of a decedent – the parents, children, and spouse – can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person or persons at fault. If there are no primary beneficiaries surviving the decedent, any person related by blood or marriage and who was substantially dependent on the deceased may file the wrongful death claim.
Our wrongful death team serves Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, Charles County, Baltimore, and the Maryland/Washington, D.C. metro area.
What Types of Damages Can Be Awarded?
The money awarded to survivors is to compensate them for damages suffered in connection to the wrongful death.
In Maryland, wrongful death damages can include:
- Costs of medical bills the deceased encumbered before their death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Financial contributions the deceased would have made to survivors
- Mental anguish, emotional pain, and suffering,
- Loss of marital care, parental care, or filial care the deceased would have provided
- Loss of attention, advice, and counsel the deceased would have provided
Maryland has a cap on the amount of non-economic damages a court can award a plaintiff. The award limit depends on when the injuries happened. Those happening in 2021 are limited to $845,000 and each subsequent year increases by $15,000. In wrongful death cases with two or more beneficiaries, the total award for non-economic damages, no matter the number of beneficiaries, is limited to 125% of the cap for that year. Washington, D.C. has no damage caps.
Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Suit
Maryland’s statute of limitations on wrongful death claims is three years from the date of the death of the decedent. The same is true in D.C.
In addition to wrongful death, there is a survival action. While a wrongful death lawsuit focuses on the financial losses and grief of the family, survival action focuses on the perspective of the decedent. A survival action can be brought by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate as named in the will or by a probate court. A survival action can also recover losses such as lost wages (from the time of injury until death), medical bills, funeral costs, and pain and suffering prior to death. Maryland allows a family to pursue both wrongful death and survival claims.
Justice for Your Loved One
The devastation felt when a loved one dies can be intense. Understanding the seven stages of grief is often little comfort as we attempt to move forward in our lives. The sense of loss felt is often heightened when the death didn’t have to happen, when someone’s negligence or carelessness caused the untimely end of their life.
While no amount of money can bring back your loved one or lessen the pain felt from their absence, holding the responsible party accountable can be an important step in closure and help to financially provide for the family left behind. Our Maryland wrongful death attorneys at Potter Burnett Law can help.
If you have a potential wrongful death or survival action lawsuit, schedule a consultation so that we can review and discuss your case. Reach us by phone at (301) 804-6784 or through our online contact form.
$600,000 Wrongful Death Settlement
Eastern Shore of Maryland wrongful death case for 83-year-old man.
$500,000 Wrongful Death Settlement
altimore City wrongful death case for 75-year-old man.
$375,000 Wrongful Death Settlement
$930,000 Wrongful Death Settlement
Harford County wrongful death case for 45 year-old-man. Received the maximum available insurance coverage.