A Caring Team That’s Ready to Fight for You
The unexpected loss of a loved one can change your whole life. All of us rely on our family members for support both material and intangible. Having that taken away means an entire rearrangement of what you considered normal. Dealing with grief on top of this can make it difficult to see where your next steps are.
In this situation, finding any sense of stability matters. You may want to consider filing a lawsuit if your loved one was killed in an accident. Bringing a claim could help you receive much-needed compensation and hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. However, you do not have to decide what to do on your own. Our attorneys are here to answer your questions and represent you if you choose to move forward with a claim.
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What Is a Wrongful Death?
When someone dies in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, their death is considered wrongful. It’s equally important, when evaluating these claims, to:
- show the deceased did not hold any fault and
- identify any party or parties that did contribute to the accident.
Because Maryland is a contributory negligence state, a plaintiff is not able to recover compensation if they were even partially to blame for an accident. The same is true in wrongful death cases where the deceased shared fault. Having solid evidence of another’s negligence or misconduct is therefore essential to these cases.
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Maryland
Maryland law separates survivors into primary and secondary beneficiaries based on their relationship with the deceased. The 3 groups of primary beneficiaries are:
These are the parties who have the first right to bring a wrongful death suit, and the ones who will receive compensation from such a claim. If the deceased has no primary beneficiaries, or they decide not to file a wrongful death claim, the right to do so passes to the secondary beneficiaries:
- Nieces and nephews
- Other relations (through blood or marriage) who were dependent on the deceased
Claims filed by a secondary beneficiary will share compensation between members of that group and any primary beneficiaries, even those who declined to file a suit on their own.
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Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
Meant to provide for those dependent on the deceased, wrongful death claims focus on damages related to the loss of your loved one’s support. This means beneficiaries can request compensation including:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Loss of inheritance
- Mental anguish
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of society, comfort, and protection
- Loss of marital, parental, and/or filial care
- Loss of advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education
Our attorneys can help you calculate how much to ask for in a wrongful death suit. While Maryland does cap the amount you can be awarded in non-economic damages (things like emotional pain and suffering and loss of society), we want to help you maximize your claim. Working with an attorney to calculate damages often shows families they have the right to much higher compensation than they previously believed.
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Filing a Survival Action for Additional Damages
While a wrongful death claim focuses on providing for dependents, a survival action can be brought on the behalf of the estate of the deceased. This type of suit centers the damages suffered by the deceased before their death. While it is often brought by a primary or secondary beneficiary, they are in this case acting as a representative of the estate and will not receive any compensation directly.
Damages the estate may pursue in a survival action include:
- Medical bills accrued before death
- Pain and suffering before death
- Lost wages before death
- Property damage
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
As with a wrongful death claim, pursuing these damages can help alleviate financial concerns. Compensation can be used to cover the above costs, which otherwise might fall to your family. Any remaining funds that are credited to the estate will be passed along to its heirs.
Our Lawyers Are Ready to Help You
Going through with a wrongful death claim is an action that requires courage and strength. Though you may feel short of those traits right now, your actions today can help assure your future and that of anyone you provide for. Talking to one of our attorneys is the first step in getting your claim started—and we do our best to make it convenient, offering free and confidential consultations to all prospective clients.
Our legal team has a wealth of experience and resources to help make your case as strong as it can be. Ashcraft & Gerel has been serving clients since 1953, in that time handling multiple high-profile cases and fighting claims that have resulted in changes to national laws. We do everything in our power to help those we are fighting for. Even if you are not yet sure you plan to file a case, our attorneys want to help you understand your rights and options. Ask us what we can do if you recently lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence or recklessness.