It is devastating to see a loved one pass away, especially when the death was due to the misconduct of another person. You will likely suffer from depression, and you may experience financial troubles. There are medical and funeral bills, plus regular household expenses, at a time when you can no longer rely on the deceased’s economic contribution.
Under the circumstances, you may have a claim for wrongful death. These cases are intended to compensate family members when a person dies as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing. Some general guidelines can help you understand these matters, but always consult with a wrongful death lawyer for specific details on Maryland law.
Proving a Case for Wrongful Death: The person suing for wrongful death, the plaintiff, must prove four sets of facts to recover for his or her losses.
- The actions of another person directly caused the deceased’s passing;
- The actions of the person that caused the death were wrongful, either through recklessness or negligence;
- The deceased person left behind closely related loved ones that are affected by the death. Under Maryland law, this would include the wife, husband, parent, and children; and,
- The person’s death caused monetary losses, for which loved ones are entitled to compensation.
Common Wrongful Death Case Scenarios: To understand how wrongful death lawsuits work, have a look at examples in typical cases. In these scenarios, you can only pursue the responsible party if you are the wife, husband, parent, or child of the decedent.
- Car Accident: One of the most common wrongful death cases involves an auto accident where the other driver was negligent. You may be able to pursue a lawsuit for wrongful death, even if you were not in the car at the time.
- Medical Malpractice: If healthcare workers improperly provided or withheld medical treatment, you may have an action for medical malpractice wrongful death.
- Workplace Death: Accidents are common in certain industries. You may have a cause of action against an employer or property owner if they create an unsafe work environment that caused the death of your loved one.
- Criminal Activity: If criminal conduct caused the decedent’s death, you might have a case for wrongful death. However, this situation is slightly different because the conduct was intentional rather than negligent or reckless.
Damages: You may be entitled to compensation for the monetary losses that you suffer due to the death of your loved one, a legal concept known as “damages.” In a wrongful death case,
your damages may include:
- Loss of financial support, because the deceased is no longer contributing to your household;
- Medical or burial costs you incur as a result of the other person’s conduct;
- Future income in the form of money the decedent would have earned from the date of death until retirement; and,
- Loss of benefits due to the victim’s passing, such as pension plans, retirement income, and medical insurance.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of wrongful death lawsuits after reviewing this information. However, you will still need a lawyer with extensive experience and knowledge of Maryland law in order to represent your interests. Please contact Baltimore County lawyer Michael A. Freedman to discuss your case in more detail.