If you lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you might want to do whatever you must to make them pay. Fortunately, Maryland law provides surviving family members and other parties opportunities to get justice for their losses.
With help from a Greenbelt personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow, your family can mourn your loss while we handle the legal details of your case. In addition, during your free consultation, we can explain how the wrongful death claims process works and what to expect from your case.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Greenbelt?
A wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury claim, except survivors bring wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of someone who suffered a fatal injury due to someone else’s negligent or criminal acts.
It does not matter whether the defendant intended to cause the victims injuries or did so accidentally. What matters is that the defendant directly or indirectly caused your loved one’s death. Thus, you could base a wrongful death claim on:
- Medical malpractice
- Willful misconduct
If it had not been for the defendant’s actions, your family member might still be alive. As a result, you may have the opportunity to pursue civil action against them, ensuring they are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
For legal consultation with a wrongful death attorney in Greenbelt, call (410)777-8960
How Are Wrongful Death Claims Different From Criminal Cases?
The person or entity that caused your loved one’s death may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties, depending on the details of your case. However, the state’s prosecuting attorney will decide whether to pursue criminal charges, while your family decides whether to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit.
The state will only file criminal charges against the defendant if it believes the evidence proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Then, if a jury convicts the defendant and finds them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they will face criminal penalties for their conviction. Such penalties could include:
- Jail or prison time
- Fines or restitution
- Community service
- Registration as a sex offender
- License suspension or revocation
- Court-ordered mental health counseling
However, your civil claim is much different. With help from your wrongful death attorney in Greenbelt, you only need to prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. You must clearly show the jury and judge that the defendant in your case is more likely than not responsible for causing your loved one’s death. Also, if you successfully prove the defendant’s liability, the court will order them to compensate you for your losses.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Greenbelt?
Under Maryland law, only certain parties have the right to file a claim on the decedent’s behalf:
Suppose the decedent did not have any of these surviving family members. In that case, any person related to the deceased by blood or marriage might have the opportunity to file a wrongful death claim should they have been “sufficiently dependent on the decedent.”
Greenbelt Wrongful Death Attorney (410)777-8960
How Long Do You Have to File Your Greenbelt Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
You must file a Greenbelt wrongful death claim before the three-year statute of limitations expires. However, the exact date when the statute of limitations expires for your case may not always be precise. Generally, the statute of limitations expires three years from the date of your loved one’s death.
However, in cases where the decedent passes away due to an occupational disease, things can become more complicated. For example, the statute of limitations might expire three years from the date you learned that an occupational disease caused the decedent’s death. Yet, if you did not discover the occupational disease until after this date, the statute of limitations could extend to as much as 10 years.
For clarity, make sure you have an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side when preparing your claim.
What Damages Could I Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Your family has the right to recover specific types of damages when you lose a loved one due to someone else’s actions. For instance, certain damages benefit the decedent’s estate, while others are for the benefit of the family. These damages could include:
- The decedent’s medical expenses
- The decedent’s funeral and burial expenses
- The loss of your loved one’s income and other financial contributions
- Loss of potential future earnings
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of protection and support
- Loss of guidance and affection
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental care
- Loss of household services
- Loss of inheritance
Your attorney can provide a better idea of the damages you could pursue during your initial consultation. They can determine how much your case might be worth and explain how Maryland’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages in wrongful death cases might affect your claim.
How Are Damages Awarded in Wrongful Death Claims?
In wrongful death claims in Greenbelt, the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents would typically receive any award. However, if the decedent did not have any of these surviving family members, whoever filed a lawsuit may have the opportunity to recover the damages awarded.
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Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Greenbelt for Help
You have come to the right place if you have additional questions regarding your potential wrongful death lawsuit in Greenbelt but don’t know where to turn for help. Our caring and compassionate wrongful death attorneys understand the impact that your loved one’s death has had on your family and want to offer you the space to grieve while taking care of the legal details of your case.
Reach out to the Law Offices of Adam M. Swallow today to schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation. With our firm advocating for your rights, you can seek the compensation you need to ensure your loved one’s tragic death doesn’t devastate your family’s finances.