Wrongful deaths happen when a victim of another’s negligence suffers a personal injury so severe that it results in their death. These catastrophic injuries result in either immediate or eventual death after medical treatment fails, leaving behind burial expenses and medical bills. Experiencing the loss of a loved one as a result of a wrongful death is incredibly painful. These tragic events can also leave surviving family members in dire financial straits. The decedent’s loss of support for the family can also greatly impact their surviving spouses or children. 

The victims’ family should seek experienced legal representation from an attorney who understands the Maryland State’s laws and regulations concerning opening an estate and making a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one . An experienced attorney can help families understand their rights and options under the law. Maryland wrongful death lawyers will provide guidance throughout every step of the process. To learn how you can obtain maximum compensation for your losses, call Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell LLC now for a free consultation with our law firm.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Suit In Maryland? 

In Maryland, a wrongful death suit can be filed by the spouse, parent, or child of the deceased person. If these family members are not available, then extended family members may be entitled to receive compensation through a wrongful death claim. Other potential claimants include more distant relatives, such as grandparents and siblings, if they can demonstrate financial reliance upon the decedent. 

If death was not immediate and it can be proven that the decedent endured conscious pain and suffering then a “survivor action” may be brought by the Estate of the deceased for personal injury compensation for the deceased. If there is no will in place, Maryland law states that the surviving spouse and minor children shall equally split the proceeds from any successful survivor action suit. 

If you believe you have grounds to pursue a wrongful death or survivor action lawsuit in Maryland, speak with an experienced attorney who can review your case and help determine the best legal course of action for you.

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Is There A Cap On Any Wrongful Death or Survivor Action Lawsuit In Maryland? 

There is a cap on the total amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in wrongful death or survivor action cases in Maryland. The maximum amount of damages recoverable under Maryland law is set by statute and increases by a small amount annually. This cap does not apply to special damages, such as medical bills, funeral expenses or loss of income, but to  all forms of non-economic compensation, such as pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, love and support. In 2023 the cap is $1,093,750 on non-economic damages  in wrongful death cases made by two or more family members.

It can be difficult to obtain full compensation for wrongful death claims in Maryland due to the state’s damage caps and other restrictions related to potential claimants. 

Other Legal Options Available For Families Of Victims

In addition to filing a wrongful death lawsuit, families of victims may have other legal options available to them. These may include filing criminal charges against the responsible party for any intentional acts that caused their loved one’s death. There is also the option of seeking a negotiated settlement of the wrongful death claim prior to filing a lawsuit due to the magnitude of the loss. This is often the most cost effective approach to obtaining compensation when there is a limited amount of insurance available to pay the claim. 

How An Attorney Files A Civil Suit

Before filing a wrongful death or survivor action civil suit, an attorney will review the case to determine if there are grounds for legal action. If so, the attorney will then file a complaint with the court and serve it on the defendant or defendants. The attorney will also work to gather evidence and build a strong case in support of their clients’ claims.

Once a wrongful death or survivor action lawsuit has been filed, both sides of the case will have an opportunity to present their evidence during pre-trial proceedings and at trial. Depending on the circumstances of your case, either side could potentially reach a settlement prior to trial as well. Ultimately, it is up to the jury or judge presiding over the case to decide whether or not liability exists and how much compensation should be awarded.

What Happens If There Are Criminal Charges?

In some situations where an intentional act caused the death of another person, family members may wish to pursue criminal charges against the responsible party. An attorney can help facilitate this by filing a criminal complaint with local law enforcement and providing evidence to support their claim. It will then be up to prosecutors and the court system to determine whether or not criminal charges should be filed. If convicted, the responsible parties could face serious consequences such as jail time or fines.

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How An Attorney Can Seek A Medical Malpractice Settlement 

In some cases, medical malpractice may have been a contributing factor in someone’s death. In these instances, an attorney can help families file a medical malpractice claim against the healthcare provider or hospital responsible. Before doing so, an attorney will typically review medical records to determine if negligence occurred. If so, the attorney can help the family file a claim with the responsible party and pursue compensation for damages related to their loved one’s death.

Families should speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can review their case and provide guidance on which legal option is best suited for them.

How Wrongful Death Proceeds Are Divided In Maryland 

In Maryland, wrongful death proceeds are typically divided among eligible family members according to the state’s laws. The deceased person’s surviving spouse and children are usually first in line to receive a portion of the proceeds, followed by parents and siblings.

The amount of compensation each family member is entitled to depends on the individual facts and circumstances of their particular case. An experienced attorney can help families determine how the proceeds should be divided and ensure that each eligible family member receives their rightful share.

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List Of Damages In A Wrongful Death Case

In a wrongful death case, the family of a deceased person may be entitled to damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and burial costs. They may also be able to recover compensation for losses such as lost wages, loss of companionship or consortium, loss of future earnings, and emotional distress. The amount of compensation that can be claimed in a wrongful death case can vary depending on the circumstances of the case.

In some cases, punitive damages might be available. Punitive damages are designed to punish the party responsible for the death and serve as a deterrent to others.

Why You Should Hire A Wrongful Death Lawyer

Hiring a wrongful death lawyer can be beneficial for the following reasons: 

They Determine Who Is Liable

Wrongful death cases are often complex and require careful analysis of the facts to determine who is liable because of a wrongful act.  An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help families identify the responsible party or parties and ensure that their case is handled appropriately.

They Determine the Value of Your Case

In order to receive compensation, it is important for families to understand the value of their particular case. An experienced attorney can review all relevant evidence and determine what amount of compensation would be appropriate based on the specific circumstances.

They Handle Negotiations & Settlement Agreements

If a settlement agreement is negotiated before trial, an attorney can help ensure that their client receives a fair outcome. They can also make sure that any settlement agreements cover all necessary costs associated with the wrongful death suit.

They Represent You in Court

Whether a wrongful death suit goes to trial or is settled outside of court, an attorney can represent the family’s interests and ensure that their rights are protected. They will be able to build a strong case on behalf of the deceased person’s loved ones and fight for them to receive justice for their loss.

Maryland Wrongful Death Attorneys Provide Sound Advice

An experienced wrongful death attorney will have experience navigating these types of cases and can provide guidance throughout the process.  They will be able to provide sound advice on how best to proceed, what actions should be taken, and how to ensure the family’s rights are protected.  Having an experienced attorney on your side can give you peace of mind during this difficult time.

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Statute of Limitations In a Wrongful Death Case

In Maryland, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is three years from the date of death. This means a claim must be filed within three years after the date of death or it will be barred forever. However, there may be exceptions to this rule. For instance, if fraud or concealment was involved in hiding the cause of death, or if a minor under 18 was filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of their deceased parent, then they will have up to seven years after they turn eighteen to file a claim. 

You will need to file a complaint with the court prior to the expiration of time limits with the help of your attorney. If the complaint  is not filed in a timely manner, the other party will not be held liable for the wrongful death. If you have any questions about filing a wrongful death claim in Maryland, it is advised that you speak with an attorney who can provide guidance and assistance throughout the process. An attorney can advise on specific deadlines and make sure all necessary paperwork is completed in time for a successful outcome.

Selecting A Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyer

When selecting a wrongful death lawyer, it is important to choose an attorney who is experienced in wrongful death cases and has a proven track record of success. You should also ensure that the attorney you choose understands your particular case and can guide you on the best way to proceed.  It is also a good idea to get references or reviews of Maryland wrongful death attorneys you are considering working with before making a final decision. Traits to look for in a Maryland wrongful death lawyer include:

  • Experience handling wrongful death cases
  • Knowledgeable about the legal process and applicable laws
  • Compassionate and understanding of the family’s situation
  • Able to effectively present your case in court, if necessary
  • Accessible and available when needed
  • Good negotiation skills 
  • A great track record of winning cases or obtaining favorable settlements

Wrongful death lawsuits in Maryland can be difficult to pursue due to the state’s damage caps and other restrictions related to potential claimants. It is important for victims’ family members to speak with an experienced attorney who can review their case and determine the best legal course of action given their specific circumstances. 

Your attorney will work to gather evidence and build a strong case in support of your claim.  Suppose a settlement cannot be reached before trial. In that case, it is up to the jury or judge presiding over the case to decide whether or not liability exists. The judge or jury ultimately decides how much compensation should be awarded. Our Maryland wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so you are not required to pay upfront. Call Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell LLC for a free consultation.