Baltimore Wrongful Death Attorneys
When a person dies as a resultant role of another party ’ south misbehave or negligence, his or her estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable person or entity. A wrongful death suit takes the station of a personal injury claim that the victim could have pursued if his or her death had not occurred. typically, a representative of the victim ’ s estate of the realm brings a unlawful end lawsuit against the defendant on behalf of surviving family members. Often, a family member may file directly ; however, there are many states that do not permit this.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
wrongful death suits can follow criminal trials. As a civil court matter, they carry a lower standard of validation than condemnable cases do. In a successful wrongful end case, a victim ’ s family receives fiscal compensation ( “ damages ” ) for expenses that the victim incurred from the time of the negligent or intentional act until his or her death, losses that the victim ’ s surviving family members have experienced as a result of the victim ’ s end, or both. Although each submit has laws that allow a victim ’ s class or estate to pursue a wrongful death title, department of state laws differ as to which relatives of a wrongful death victim can file a claim. States besides have different statutes of limitations for wrongful death cases. When a spouse or rear who was the primary earner for the family dies, the fiscal load can be frightful. Replacing lost earnings can seem impossible and might result in the lie of the family losing their house or having to file for bankruptcy.
For this reason, people sometimes decide to open a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for the lost fiscal earnings of their deceased loved one. A wrongful death claim occurs when an individual takes a civil action against another individual or company in arrange to seek recompense for a death of a kin extremity.
There are many different situations that can be classified as a wrongful death. Some of the most common scenarios in a wrongful end sheath include :
- A car or truck accident
- A dangerous product
- Bike accidents
- Equipment malfunctioning
- Dog bites and other animal attacks
- Medical negligence and over site
- Slip and fall accidents due to dangerous conditions on a property
- Pedestrian accidents
You may not know from the onset if the death of a love one was caused by the negligence of another individual. That is why you want to contact a wrongful end lawyer to discuss your matter and determine if a civil claim can be filed on your behalf. The experienced lawyers with the Randolph Rice wound law firm have represented hundreds of families and individuals after an accident. We represent wives, husbands, parents, and children of die individuals receive the compensation the kin deserves after a death. We besides represent individuals that were “ well dependent ” upon the deceased after an accident that results in death.
Wrongful Death Laws in Baltimore, MD
Accidents happen and when person you care about dies from a unlawful death, it ’ randomness authoritative to understand the laws that are set up to protect the syndicate members who have been left behind. the Maryland Code of courts specifies the definition of unlawful death call in Title 3, Subtitle 9 of the Maryland State Law Library. In this part, we see that a “ wrongful act ” is defined as an act that was negligent, criminal, an action, or default that caused a death. far, Code Section 3-902 shows that legal natural process can be brought against a person whose negligent or wrongful action causes another person ’ s death. once a wrongful death claim is made, the viability of that claim must be assessed. the actions and testimony of the defendant will be considered to decide if the defendant could have done more to prevent the death. If the defendant is found to have violated the law in any manner, or if they breached other legal obligation ( for exercise if they failed to provide or seek immediate medical discussion ) there is a good opportunity that the defendant will be apt for the unlawful death.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim
If you plan to open a claim for a wrongful death, it is authoritative to understand that there is a fourth dimension limit on when you can make that call. Maryland law states that a claim request damages for a unlawful death needs to be filed within three years from the date of the end. This is stated more intelligibly in the article for Code Section 5-101 in the general assembly of Maryland. There are besides restrictions on who can open this type of claim. According to Code Section 3-904, alone close relatives of the die may request damages for a unlawful death. specifically, children and spouses are the chief claimants for any compensation due in a wrongful death suit. If there is no spouse or children who can qualify to file a claim for a unlawful end the junior-grade beneficiaries can attempt to pursue legal action. secondary beneficiaries can be any person related to the deceased victim who heavily relied on the victim for fiscal support. still, there are limits. For example, in the death of a child, a parent by and large can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate file a unlawful death claim against the other rear. An experience Baltimore unlawful death lawyer can help you sort through the nuances of this type of claim, and will work to get the compensation that you deserve.
Should You Hire a Lawyer for Wrongful Death in Baltimore?
Dealing with a claim after person who you care about has died can feel like an overwhelm effect. When you ’ ra going through the process of grieve, short else seems to matter. For this cause, hiring an lawyer who understands the ins and outs of the unlawful death claims process might be the best decision you can make. regardless of if you plan to sue a party or an individual, wrongful end cases can become complicated. If you decide to go down this path, you want to make sure that you use all of the best tools and resources available in order to ensure the best possible result. talk to the attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras to better understand the serve of pursuing a wrongful death claim. A lawyer can help show that a wrongful action, negligence, lack of care, or any other failure to complete a legal obligation led to the causal agent of death.
Initiating a Wrongful Death Claim in Baltimore
The first step in initiating a wrongful death claim is the set up an initial consultation with your legal team to discuss the details of your case. In Maryland, many of the wrongful death claims are settled without going to trial in front of a jury. many times a settlement can be reached between two parties without the extra fourth dimension and expense of going to court. If in fact, your shell does actually go to court, your lawyer will be tasked with the province to show that the defendant ( s ) caused the death and that you are owed damages for this wrongful death. In order to prove this, your lawyer will talk to you about the case and will put together testify to show the jury that there was a unlawful lawsuit of death.
Although the burden to prove a wrongful death is with the prosecution, there are some factors that will help your event. the laws in Maryland are set up to protect victims from negligence. therefore, if a victim can prove that the injury that caused the unlawful death was a result of negligence ( for case, a faulty part of base hit equipment, or a drunk driver ) they have a strong case. When negligence is determined as the campaign of death, the victim is frequently entitled to receive compensation from the at-fault party.
Common Reasons that a Family Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A kind of situations can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, the liable party did not intend to cause the victim ’ s death. however, wrongful death suits can besides stem from instances of death due to deliberate, criminal actions. car accidents are the most common reason for a victim ’ s syndicate to file a wrongful death lawsuit. the syndicate of a dead person may sue the driver or drivers whose negligent demeanor ( such as rush or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol ) caused the fatal accident. however, a syndicate may besides sue the manufacturer of the vehicle that the victim was driving if the caller failed to disclose issues with its products, such as faulty parts.
other common defendants in driving-related wrongful end suits include commercial hauling companies, government agencies that are responsible for road alimony, and politics agencies that maintain vehicles, such as city buses. These entities can be found liable for accidents resulting in death, as can individuals they employ.
Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death Claims
In addition to motive vehicle accidents, wrongful death suits frequently arise from cases of aesculapian malpractice. A hospital or nurse family is liable for a unlawful death if its employees were negligent in caring for a affected role, if the facility ’ s leadership demonstrated negligence in its hire and monitor practices, or if the facility failed to properly maintain its equipment or follow standard medical protocol. In some cases, a wrongful death victim ’ s family may choose to sue individual hospital employees, such as doctors or nurses, in addition to the hospital itself. however, families much decide against taking such legal action, as doing so requires facing extra defense mechanism attorneys. A adeptness can not be found liable for the negligent actions of physicians and other aesculapian professionals it does not employ, flush if these individuals were working on its premises when they failed to administer proper care to a affected role. the estate of the realm of a wrongful death victim may sue these independent contractors rather of the adeptness in which the negligent treatment occurred.
The types of malpractice that much result in wrongful death lawsuits include :
- Improper administration of anesthesia
- Failure to prescribe the correct medication or to administer the proper dosage to the patient
- Errors during surgical procedures
- Birth injuries
- Neglect or abuse
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of an illness
- Use of defective equipment
Product Liability and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
product indebtedness cases are another common source of wrongful death suits. it is a manufacturer ’ s duty to ensure that its products are safe for the public to use. When a bad intersection causes a person ’ s death, the manufacturer is liable. Retailers, product distributors, and product designers can besides be defendants in unlawful death lawsuits.
Deaths in the Workplace
Families can file wrongful death suits against places of use as good. Workplace fatalities may result from accidents on the job, such as falls, burns, or explosions.
however, an employer can besides face a wrongful death lawsuit if a worker dies from long-run exposure to a harmful chemical that he or she encountered on the job site, such as asbestos. construction companies, mining companies, and factories are some of the most probably employers to be on the receiving end of wrongful death lawsuits.
Wrongful Death and Criminal Charges
If person dies as the result of a condemnable act, including murder, the syndicate of that person may file a unlawful death suit. the defendant does not need to have been found guilty in a criminal trial for the victim ’ south estate of the realm to initiate such a lawsuit.
Famous Examples of Wrongful Death
many Americans have become familiar with the concept of wrongful death lawsuits through the news program. the following are examples of wrongful death cases that have made headlines across the United States :
- In 1995, former football player O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. In 1997, however, a civil jury found him liable for the deaths. Goldman’s family was awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.
- In the 1970s, the Pinto subcompact was a top-seller for Ford Motor Company. However, there was a serious flaw in its design. the gas cap was located at the back of the vehicle, making the car susceptible to catching on fire in rear-end collisions. Numerous drivers and passengers died as a result of this issue. Ford eventually issued a recall for the Pinto, but the company was found liable in multiple wrongful death cases. During one trial, a memo surfaced that proved that Ford had been aware of the hazard associated with the Pinto and refused to make changes to the car’s design. the company’s executives had decided that it would be more cost-effective to pay damages in wrongful death lawsuits than it would be to spend an additional $11 per vehicle and manufacture a safer Pinto.
- In 2006, the family of Melinda Duckett filed a wrongful death suit against television host Nancy Grace. Duckett committed suicide after appearing on Grace’s show to discuss the disappearance of her son, and her family claimed that the toughness of Grace’s questions caused Duckett to take her own life. the family later dismissed the lawsuit and agreed to a settlement.
High-profile cases like these have increased company ’ s agreement of wrongful death lawsuits. These cases have captured the populace ’ second attention ascribable to their arresting nature, but they have besides educated the public as to what a unlawful death case is and how it differs from a criminal case.
If not for such well-publicized cases, some members of the public might remain unaware that they can seek damages after the premature loss of a family member.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Baltimore?
Every state of matter allows a dead person ’ sulfur spouse and children to seek damages through a unlawful death befit. Some states allow a dead person ’ south parents, grandparents, and early relatives to recover damages vitamin a well. not every state of matter allows these family members to file wrongful death suits on their own. In fact, a number of states require a “ personal representative ” or executor of the estate of the realm to file a wrongful death courtship. A personal congressman may be named in the dead person ’ sulfur will or be court-appointed. personal representatives may be individuals or institutions, such as banks.
Maryland is a state that uses discrete terminology for unlawful death cases. it defines both primary and secondary beneficiaries. A primary beneficiary—the dead person ’ sulfur spouse, children, or parents—may initiate a unlawful death case, a survival claim, or both. secondary beneficiaries—such as the dead person ’ s siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins, and other members of the dead person ’ s extended family—may file a wrongful death or survival title if there are no living primary beneficiaries or if no chief benefactive role is will to pursue a encase. In Maryland, wrongful death claims are designed to compensate the die person ’ s family for the loss of wages, support, and company that follow an unexpected death. survival claims are meant to compensate a dead person ’ second estate for expenses related to the death, including funeral and burial costs, the dead person ’ s medical costs, and the dead person ’ s pain and suffer.
How Much Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?
This common wonder has no particular answer. the total of money that a wrongful death victim ’ s family can claim varies depending on the event. the factors to consider include :
- The person’s age and overall health at the time of his or her death
- The severity of the negligence or misconduct that resulted in the person’s death
- The amount of medical bills that the person incurred between the date of his or her injury and the date of his or her death
- The severity of the person’s pain and suffering before his or her ultimate death
- Whether the person was a high earner, particularly if he or she had dependents to support
- The person’s character
The families of decedents file wrongful death suits to recover “ economic damages, ” such as a dead person ’ s hospital bills and early checkup costs or income that the dead person would have earned if he or she were inactive alert. Families besides file wrongful death lawsuits to recover non-economic damages, such as their own loss of sexual love or the dead person ’ second pain and suffering. Some states have established utmost amounts for the damages that families can seek. The come of money involved in wrongful death settlements varies greatly, but there have been many cases in which the amount was hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
The damages in a wrongful death claim are the amounts to compensate for what the relatives have lost themselves. This includes damages for both economic loss and non-economic loss. economic damages include the fiscal digest the deceased would have provided, angstrom well as the measure of the services the deceased would have provided ( cooking, home care, and the great many other things that relatives—especially spouses—do for each early ). There is a bang-up hand of subjectivity in determining precisely what those services would have been in any given subject, and in assigning a value to them. the services of a truly know unlawful death lawyer can be invaluable in obtaining these damages. Non-economic damages are those intended to compensate for mental and emotional suffer, and the passing of the die ’ randomness function in the lives of the class members. the latter is a preferably dim concept that is normally described in terms of “ personnel casualty of affection ” and “ loss of company. ”
Damages in Survival Actions
The damages in a survival military action are the amounts that the victim would have been entitled to recover but for the intervention of death. Damages are collectible to the estate of the realm and then distributed according to the will or, if none, the intestacy laws. As in unlawful death claims, damages can include both economic and non-economic damages.
typical economic damages in a survival legal action include :
- Medical costs incurred from the accident until death
- The amount of wages lost from the accident until death
- Expenses of the funeral
The non-economic damages are the pain and suffering the deceased experienced from the fourth dimension of the accident until death.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
A civil court can not award any damages to a wrongful death victim ’ s family ( “ the plaintiff ” ) until the plaintiff has shown the motor hotel that the defendant acted negligently, and that this negligence caused the victim ’ s death. There are four “ unlawful death elements ” that the plaintiff must prove :
Duty of Care
The defendant must have owed the deceased individual a “ duty of ascribable care. ” This basically means that the defendant was obligated to ensure the condom of the asleep person, or to refrain from taking actions that could harm the die person. In the shell of a fatal traffic accident, the plaintiff would argue that the defendant ’ s duty to the dead person was to drive vigilantly.
Breach of Duty
The plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to fulfill his or her duty as stated above. For case, the plaintiff could present attest that the defendant was looking at his or her cellular telephone telephone at the time of the accident. This is not something that a argus-eyed driver would do. Therefore, the defendant breached his or her duty of due manage.
The defendant ’ s transgress of duty must have actually caused black harm to the dead person. For exercise, another driver could have crashed into the victim ’ mho fomite and caused the victim ’ s fateful injuries before the defendant reached the scene and struck the dead person ’ south car. In this case, the jury would be unlikely to find the defendant apt for the victim ’ s death. however, the defendant would likely be apt if another driver had initially wounded the victim, but the defendant caused extra injuries to the victim that were the rationality for his or her death.
last, a plaintiff who has proven the first three wrongful death elements must prove the being of damages. Most damages fall into the economic or non-economic categories discussed above, but some states allow families to seek punitive damages angstrom well. These damages are meant to punish the liable party for particularly crying negligence or wrongdoing. criminal cases that involve death command “ proofread beyond a fair doubt. ” In these situations, the court must be convinced that the defendant is 100 percentage responsible for the victim ’ s death and that the defendant intended to kill the victim. In wrongful death cases, which are a civil matter, the charge of proof amounts to a “ preponderance of evidence. ” A plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit must convince the court that there is at least a 51 percentage likelihood that the defendant is creditworthy for the victim ’ s death. unlawful death cases do not require proof of captive.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Each state has established a time limit for a dead person ’ s family or personal representative to file a wrongful death suit. This time period does not necessarily begin upon the person ’ s death ; it can rather begin on the “ date of discovery ” —when a dead person ’ s family learns the cause of his or her death. In most cases, the legislative act of limitations for unlawful death is two years. Maryland is one exception to this ; its legislative act of limitations is three years. Maine has the longest wrongful death codified of limitations at six years.
Do You Have a Wrongful Death Case?
If you have a loved one who has died due to negligence or misconduct, you can ’ metric ton navigate the complexities of a wrongful death character alone. Consult a license wrongful end lawyer with the know to help you prove your case and reach the best possible result.
The Type of Accident and Wrongdoing Doesn’t Matter
What matters is that person ’ s death was “ wrongfully ” caused, so a unlawful death claim can follow fatal accidents of any kind : cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, pedestrians, electrocutions, drowning, slips-and-falls…any kind. it besides doesn ’ t count what the “ legal ground ” is ; wrongful death claims are just as appropriate when the defendant ’ second liability is based on hard-and-fast indebtedness as when it ’ s based on negligence, and barely as allow when it ’ s based on the defendant ’ second direct actions, like drink and drive, as when it ’ s based on indirect actions like hiring a delivery driver with a known intoxicated driving history.
Getting Help when You’ve Lost a Loved One
There is no wrongful death recovery or survival action until you prove that the death was unlawful. To successfully handle wrongful death actions, your lawyer needs to be experienced in establishing negligence in a wide assortment of accident types, including checkup malpractice. Once that ’ s done, the lawyer needs to be well companion with wrongful death and survival claims, including the complex rules on beneficiaries and allocating damages among the beneficiaries ; not to mention the Maryland cap on “ noneconomic ” damages like annoyance and suffering.
Contact Our Baltimore Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
Thousands of people die each year in dealings accidents, sometimes immediately and sometimes after lingering for a drawn-out menstruation. These deaths cause considerable anguish for the surviving family members, despite the fact that they normally were not flush involved in the fatal accident. Maryland, like other states, has enacted a police that recognizes these losses and allows for them to be compensated in a wrongful death claim. This claim is related to, but distinct from, the right of the dead person victims to recover for the injuries prior to dying, and for the estate of the realm of the deceased to recover for the fiscal loss associated with the death in what the police calls a survival legal action. It can be confusing, since the relatives who file a wrongful death claim are, in fact, “ survivors, ” while the asleep ’ second claim is called a “ survival ” action when the victim did not, in fact, outlive. the crucial thing, though, is that experience accident lawyers know the remainder, and understand who can bring what claims for which damages.
Get the experience avail you need in dealing with the death of a sleep together one. Call the personal injury lawyer at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today for feel for and commit legal advocacy that is focused on getting results. There is no charge for the initial case evaluation and no tip until you recover. Call us at ( 410 ) 694-7291.