Losing a loved one is never easy, but the process is even harder when the
death is unexpected. If you have lost a family member as a result of someone
else’s carelessness or misconduct, you may be able to file a claim
against the at-fault party. While no amount of money can bring back your
loved one, the compensation can help ease the financial burdens that often
arise after such a tragic event.
The injury lawyers at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt can guide Baltimore
residents through the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim.
Taking Legal Action after a Fatal Accident
Under Maryland law, wrongful death is defined as an accidental loss of
life resulting from someone’s wrongful act, neglect, or default.
It can happen as the result of a motor vehicle collision, a workplace
accident, or a slip and fall, among other examples. Wrongful death claims
are rooted in the theory of negligence, which is the failure to take exercise
reasonable care when doing something. Reasonable care is defined as what
an ordinary person would do in the same or similar circumstances to those
faced by the defendant. For example, a driver who causes a fatal crash
because he or she was excessively speeding during a snowstorm likely would
be liable for damages. This is because the typical person probably would
not engage in such hazardous conduct during bad weather, mindful of the
risk posed to others on the road.
The Maryland Wrongful Death Statute allows certain heirs of a deceased
person to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. These
individuals are known as “beneficiaries.” In Maryland, a child,
parent, or spouse of the decedent may file a claim. If there are no surviving
beneficiaries, a secondary beneficiary may be able to seek compensation.
Secondary beneficiaries include surviving siblings, cousins, nieces and
nephews, and other relatives.
It is important to note that an adult child over 21 years of age has the
full legal right to bring a wrongful death claim for the loss of a parent.
Similarly, parents have the full legal right to bring a wrongful death
claim for the loss of a child, even if that child was over 21.
Family members who prevail in a wrongful death claim may be entitled to
damages to compensate them for medical bills, lost income and benefits,
funeral and burial expenses, the deceased person’s conscious pain
and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of future earnings, and more.
The exact amount of compensation will vary depending on the facts of the
Wrongful death claims must be filed within a certain time frame, known
as the statute of limitations. In Maryland, they must be brought within
three years of the date of death. It is important to take legal action
within the statute of limitations, or you may no longer have the right
to sue for damages.
Discuss Your Wrongful Death Claim with a Lawyer in Prince George’s County
At Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt, our compassionate wrongful death
attorneys have helped many families in Prince George’s County and
elsewhere in Maryland assert their rights. This is a complex area of law
with which we are extremely familiar. We can work diligently to collect
the facts in your case and create a legal strategy to seek compensation.
To learn more about your legal rights and options, do not hesitate to
contact us online or call us at (410) 567-0800 for a free consultation.