As the world mourns the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a fatal helicopter accident, the implications for surviving members of the Bryant family are devastating. They sustain many other losses aside from the overwhelming grief, especially since Kobe was their primary source of income. The extensive consequences are no doubt the reason that Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death lawsuit, according to a February 28, 2020 article published by the Baltimore Sun. The complaint alleges that the helicopter company and pilot were negligent in causing the deadly crash.
If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you may have similar rights. It is important to discuss your circumstances with a Maryland wrongful death attorney, but some general information about these cases may also be helpful.
Overview of Wrongful Death Case
The legal basis for wrongful death claims is that family members suffer losses when a loved one is killed through careless or intentional misconduct. To recover compensation, you must be able to prove four sets of facts:
- A person died in an accident or other incident;
- Negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct was the direct cause of death;
- Surviving family members suffered losses because of the victim’s passing; and,
- You are eligible to file a wrongful death claim based upon your relationship to the deceased individual. A surviving spouse, parent, or child has standing under Maryland law, as do other relatives under certain circumstances.
Compensation in Maryland Wrongful Death Claims
If you meet the criteria and present sufficient proof of the four elements above, you may be able to recover monetary damages for your losses. Every case is different, but you might qualify for:
- ● Economic damages, such as funeral expenses, burial costs, the decedent’s lost wages, and future earning capacity had he or she survived; and,
- ● Non-economic damages, including losses related to guidance, education, love, and emotional support that were taken because of the responsible party’s misconduct.
Liability Issues in the Bryant Wrongful Death Case
The lawsuit alleges the specific types of negligent conduct that caused or contributed to the fatal helicopter accident, which is key for the second element above. The claims against the helicopter company and pilot include the failure to:
- Monitor weather conditions prior to takeoff;
- Check additional weather factors immediately before departure;
- Abort the flight when the weather clearly created unsafe conditions; and,
- Many other forms of misconduct that demonstrate the failure to exercise reasonable care.
Talk to a Baltimore County, MD Wrongful Death Lawyer About Your Rights
Hopefully, this overview of Maryland wrongful death cases was useful. Still, a summary of the legal issues is no substitute for the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable attorney. For more information on your rights and remedies after losing a loved one, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman. Our team can assist you in filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company, and we are ready to take the matter to court if necessary to get the compensation you deserve as a surviving family member.