Losing a loved one is always hard. This tragedy can become particularly terrible when the victim’s death was because of another person’s negligence and could have been avoided. In this case, the victim’s family may be entitled to compensation from the individual or entity that caused the victim’s death.
However, getting started on a wrongful death claim can be challenging during an already difficult time. A Dundalk wrongful death lawyer with the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow can guide you through the process of filing a wrongful death claim and manage your case.
Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 3-901, wrongful death refers to “an act, neglect, or default including a felonious act which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.” In other words, a wrongful death case is a kind of personal injury claim that a surviving family member can file when someone dies due to another person’s negligence.
If you think your family may be entitled to a wrongful death claim, consider several factors, including who can file and who can be found liable for your loved one’s death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?
Per Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 3-904, the victim’s wife, husband, parent, and child can file a wrongful death claim. If the victim has no immediate family, any individual connected to the victim by blood or marriage who was dependent on the victim may file a wrongful death claim.
Possible Personal Injury Cases That May Result in a Wrongful Death
There are many different types of claims in wrongful death cases. Like in personal injury claims, a person or entity can be held responsible for:
- Car accidents
- Medal malpractice
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
- Construction accidents
- Animal accidents
- Dangerous or defective products
For legal consultation with a wrongful death attorney in Dundalk, call (410)777-8960
What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim is three years after the victim’s death per Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 3-904. However, there is an exception.
Suppose that your loved one’s job or occupation caused their health problems and eventual death. In this case, the statute of limitations expires within ten years after the victim’s death or within three years from the day the cause of death was identified, whichever comes first.
Dundalk Wrongful Death Attorney (410)777-8960
Steps to Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland
To bring a successful lawsuit under the Maryland wrongful death statute, you must prove or provide evidence of the following:
- The victim’s death
- The victim’s death resulted in damages for you and other claimants
- The claimants can file a claim under the wrongful death statute
- The claim falls within the statute of limitations
- The negligence of the defendant caused the victim’s death
When looking to file a wrongful death claim, make sure to document insurance information, contact information for witnesses, gather receipts for any medical treatment, and property damage repairs.
Should I Work With a Law Firm?
Filing a wrongful death claim can be a stressful and daunting task. A law firm with experience in wrongful death cases may be able to help.
A Dundalk lawyer who handles wrong deaths can:
- Help you understand the value of your claim
- Save you time, stress, and money
- Offer support during this difficult time
- Bring your claim to court
The Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow can analyze wrongful death claims and assist claimants with navigating the legal options applicable to their cases.
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How to Prove Negligence of a Defendant in Wrongful Death Claim
In a wrongful death claim, claimants must prove there was a duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages by the defendant or defendants.
It’s also vital to remember that Maryland is just one of four states in the United States with a contributory negligence rule. The rule prohibits a claimant from receiving any compensation in a wrongful death suit if the victim was judged to be even 1% negligent. You don’t have to handle these strict rules on your own, our firm is ready to fight for your compensation.
Plaintiffs must first establish there was a legal duty of care for the defendant for the victim before bringing a wrongful death claim. This includes driving a vehicle safely or providing competent and professional medical care.
Breach of Duty
Once we establish the defendant’s legal duty of care, we must prove the defendant failed to uphold that duty. If a typical person would have done something different than the defendant did that caused the victim’s death, a breach of duty could be established.
The claimant also must show that the defendant’s negligence actually caused the victim’s wrongful death. You must also prove that the defendant’s actions were not random or unforeseen. If the accident is seen as unforeseeable, the defendant may not be held liable.
Finally, a claimant must prove the wrongful death caused them harm. This could include economic and non-economic damages.
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Damages Families Can Receive From a Wrongful Death Claim
Damages for the following may all be included in a wrongful death case:
- Mental anguish and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of society and companionship
- Marital, filial, and parental care
- Training, guidance, and education
It’s important to remember that non-economic damages in wrongful death claims in Maryland are capped per Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 11-108. An award for non-economic damages in a wrongful death case may not exceed $860,000 in 2022.
How the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow Can Help Your Family
Dundalk attorneys at the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow realize the devastating effect a fatal accident has on the victim’s family and loved ones. You don’t have to face the wrongful death claim process on your own. We may be able to help.
The Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow also offer a unique text number to clients for text communication 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For a legal free consultation with a wrongful death attorney, contact our office today at (410) 777-8960.
Call or text (410)777-8960 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form