Coping with the death of a loved one is always difficult, but when that death may be the result of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct, survivors often need support to find closure and peace. In these cases, many families reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney to discuss whether they have grounds to file a lawsuit to hold the responsible parties accountable.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim exists when a person dies due to the legal fault of another person. Wrongful death claims involve all types of fatal accidents—from simple car accidents to complicated medical malpractice cases. Persons, companies, and governmental agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently (failing to act as a reasonable person would have acted) and for acting with malicious intent.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A suit alleging death by negligence must be filed by a representative on behalf of the survivors who suffer damage from the decedent’s death, including spouses, children, parents, and other immediate family members.
Filing A Wrongful Death Suit
Per the Maryland Bar, the surviving members of the victim’s family may either be awarded compensation by the court or offered a settlement by either the defendant or their insurance company if they can prove:
- That the defendant acted negligently.
- That the defendant’s negligence caused the death of the decedent.
- That the decedent has a surviving spouse, children, or other dependents and/or beneficiaries of their estate.
- That these survivors suffered economic damage as the result of the decedent’s death.
Compensation for Negligence Resulting in Death
In general, the types of damages that may be available to the survivors in a wrongful death lawsuit include economic compensation for the financial contributions the victim would have made to the survivors, medical costs associated with the death, and funeral expenses. Damages in suits claiming death by negligence may include compensation for the survivors’ mental anguish, pain and suffering, and other damages including the survivors’ losses of care, protection, companionship, and consortium.
While nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one, prevailing in a wrongful death suit can provide survivors with a sense of closure as well as the funds they need to move forward. If you believe a loved one has died due to negligence or an intentional act, you should speak to an attorney about filing a wrongful death suit as soon as possible.
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed in the court with jurisdiction over the case, which usually means filing the claim where the death occurred. Maryland Attorney Arthur C. Crum is an experienced litigator who works with families in Western and Central Maryland, including Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Reach out to the Law Office of Arthur Crum, PA to discuss if your loved one has suffered death by negligence.