There is little more painful than the unexpected death of a loved one. If you lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. While no amount of money can bring back your family member, the compensation can give you a sense of justice and help you deal with the financial burden that often arises after a death. At Burgos & Burgos, our Maryland wrongful death lawyers understand the nuances of this area of the law and will be able to handle your case diligently. We have helped many families in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties navigate wrongful death cases arising from car or truck accidents, as well as other harmful events, and we can help you too. Everyone on our staff can speak Spanish for your convenience.Bringing Maryland Claims Following a Fatal Accident Caused by the Negligence of Another Individual or Company
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were a total of 135,928 unintentional deaths in the United States in 2013. In Maryland, there were 472 fatal car accidents during 2015, and another 41 people died due to their injuries at a time after the accident took place, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Other common causes of a wrongful death include truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, pedestrian accidents, construction accidents, assault, nursing home negligence, and faulty products.
A Maryland personal injury attorney usually brings two different statutory claims when a victim dies due to the fault of another. The first claim, known as a survival action, is brought in the name of the personal representative of the deceased, who pursues compensation for the victim’s estate for damages for harm suffered by the victim until the time of death as the result of negligence. This claim is commonly referred to as the victim’s claim that “survives the death of the victim”. Survival action damages claimed by the estate include compensation for the pain and suffering of the victim such as pain caused by physical injuries, and the emotional suffering prior to death. The estate is also able to claim compensation for medical treatment, and funeral and burial expenses.
A Maryland wrongful death claim is a second type of claim that a personal injury attorney typically brings on behalf of certain surviving family members of the deceased person when an untimely death occurs as a result of someone else’s negligence or misconduct. Under the Maryland Wrongful Death Statute, you can generally only file a wrongful death lawsuit if you are the decedent’s surviving spouse, child, or parent. In some cases, secondary beneficiaries may be able to file a wrongful death claim if there are no spouses, children, or parents who qualify as primary beneficiaries. According to the Maryland Code, Courts & Judicial Proceedings § 3-904, secondary beneficiaries include any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage who was substantially dependent upon the deceased.
In order to establish liability, a wrongful death attorney in Maryland will need to prove the following elements:
- The defendant owed the decedent a certain duty of care;
- The defendant breached the duty of care owed to the decedent;
- The defendant’s breach was a direct cause of the decedent’s passing; and
- You are a beneficiary as defined by state law.
Beneficiaries who succeed in a wrongful death case may be entitled to a variety of damages for their losses for mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, care, attention, advice, counseling, training, guidance, or education, where applicable. Beneficiaries may be able to recover damages for loss of support, since the decedent is no longer able to contribute to the household. Each case is unique, however, and the exact amount of compensation that will be appropriate in a certain case will depend on the specific facts of that case and the evidence regarding the victim’s role in the family.
Like other types of legal claims, wrongful death cases are time-sensitive and subject to a filing deadline, known as the statute of limitations. In Maryland, wrongful death claims must generally be brought within three years of the date of the death.Consult a Maryland Wrongful Death Attorney to Explore Your Legal Options
Dealing with the death of a loved one not only is emotionally devastating but also can have significant financial consequences. If your loved one was killed in a construction accident or another accident that was someone else’s fault, the attorneys at Burgos & Burgos can help. These cases can be complex, and having an experienced attorney on your side can make a difference in the settlement or judgment that you eventually receive. We assist families of victims throughout Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, including in Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Wheaton-Glenmont, and Hyattsville, as well as in Washington, D.C. To learn more about your legal rights and options from a wrongful death lawyer in Maryland, call us at (301) 681-1111 or contact us online.