In any circumstance where a loved one or close relative passes, the emotions and anguish felt can be overwhelming. When another individual's recklessness is the cause for such traumatic personal loss, the feelings of despair can be even harder to process.
If you believe that you have a case for wrongful death, or if a family member has been killed in an accident or due to another person's negligence, you have the right to seek legal representation.
Contact the Maryland Injury Guys now for a free consultation. Our team can answer any questions you may have regarding your legal options and explain every step of the process. You are not in this alone; let our experienced personal injury lawyers guide you on the path to justice.
Wrongful death cases can be resolved through a civil suit against one or more parties found negligent in causing, prolonging, and/or failing to prevent an individual's death. Wrongful deaths can be caused by medical malpractice or professional negligence - both of which can result in monetary awards for victims' families.
Specific types of accidents that can result in wrongful death include auto accidents (cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles & more), medical malpractice, complications from slip and falls, defective products, violent crimes, and more. Yet, just because a death has occurred does not mean that a wrongful death lawsuit will be successful.
Wrongful death cases are much like other types of negligence and personal injury lawsuits in that some common principles must be covered. These include:
How hard is it to prove wrongful death?
Proving wrongful death can be a complicated task, but it is not impossible. In fact, each year more and more wrongful death claims are brought to court and awarded compensation. There are steps that can be taken to help the families of victims who have died as a result of the negligence, and our Maryland personal injury attorneys want to help you take these steps.
In the U.S., wrongful death is considered a civil suit, which means it can be filed against anyone responsible for the death of another person. This usually includes individuals involved in an accident, as well as businesses that sold dangerous products or were negligent. It's important to note that not every state follows the same rules in regards to wrongful death claims. Some states have separate courts and forms for filing wrongful death claims while others treat these claims under well-established legislation.
This is why it's so critical to work with a wrongful death law firm near you. Local laws can vary and, while you may be able to find a prominent law firm to handle your case, if they are not familiar with local legislation and case law, the outcome of your lawsuit may not be optimal.
Before any official claim is filed in court, the wrongful death lawyer representing you will collect evidence and draw up an initial demand letter. In this letter, your intent to collect compensation for damages is communicated. The letter will also likely contain a desired settlement amount that can be paid to avoid going to court.
The defendant, or the person considered responsible for the death, will likely have their own lawyers review the letter and make a decision. If they decide to negotiate, both parties will get together and attempt to come to an agreement.
On the other hand, if a settlement agreement can't be established, it's likely that a wrongful death case will be filed with the appropriate court.
If the case is tried by a jury, there are two primary forms of evidence to establish wrongful death. The first is expert testimony which may include an accident reconstructionist who tests the evidence and determines what exactly happened. The second type of evidence is known as direct evidence which may include the testimony of those involved in the accident or those who witnessed it.
After all the legal proceedings are completed, the court will have to make a decision on whether the plaintiff deserves compensation. If wrongdoing or negligence is established, then the plaintiff will be awarded compensation to cover the damages they suffered.
How much compensation can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit is determined by the court. It can consider lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses resulting from the death.
In Maryland, there is no set formula for economic damages in a wrongful death case. The court will hear evidence from the claimant and any experts called for either side and then determine the damages based on the evidence presented. A locality with high property values, for example, might award higher damages than a jurisdiction with low property values because of differences in housing costs in those places.
Some caps on compensation exist, though. In Maryland, the maximum compensation that may be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit is slightly more than $1.3 million. This cap is for cases where there are at least two surviving individuals who stand to benefit from the financial award. Note that this number is not the max compensation, only the max amount that can be allocated just for non-economic damages (such as pain & suffering.)
How much compensation you can get for your wrongful death claim depends exclusively on the facts of your case. And while no lawyer can tell you how much a wrongful death lawsuit is worth before it goes to court, you can ask your legal representative about the factors which may help you achieve the maximum compensation possible.
Maryland is one of the states that have statutes of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. A suit must be filed within three years from the date of death.
The deadline for filing varies based on whether the person died from an intentional act or a negligent act. If someone dies because another individual endangered them with negligence, then there will be no statute of limitations in Maryland. However, if they died because they were intentionally harmed then there will be a three-year statute of limitations. There are also time limits for when people need to file suits for their loved ones who died due to an intentionally caused harm.
Wrongful death lawsuits are a complicated and involved process, which is why many people seek the help of a wrongful death lawyer. If you have lost someone that you care about, understanding how to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit can be difficult because it is such an emotionally charged matter.
It can never hurt to have more information at your disposal before making such a critical decision. Call us now and, through a free legal consultation, get the answers you need to make the correct choice for you and your loved ones.