Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers: Limits to Wrongful Death Lawsuits in MarylandDecember 15, 2014
When it comes to wrongful death, it’s often helpful for survivors to think of a lawsuit as a personal injury claim filed on behalf of the deceased, who is no longer able to do so. These lawsuits simply assess the damages the deceased and the survivors suffered and allocate appropriate compensation.
However, it’s important to consider that there are both federal and state limits to wrongful death lawsuits:
- Types of claims — In Maryland, wrongful death suits are commonly divided into two different types: survival actions and wrongful death actions. Survival actions ask for compensation on behalf of the deceased’s estate for death-related expenses like medical and funeral costs, and for any related pain and suffering the deceased experienced. Wrongful death actions compensate the survivors of the deceased for loss of care, companionship and financial support.
- Beneficiaries — Not everyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Maryland typically limits the plaintiffs to primary or secondary beneficiaries, primary meaning parents, spouses and children, and secondary meaning other relatives. Secondary beneficiaries may only file a claim if the primary is unable or unwilling to file. Usually, this means a primary beneficiary files a wrongful death claim while the secondary files a survival claim.
- Misconduct and damages — Wrongful death means that either intentional harm, like criminal acts, or negligence, like distracted driving or medical malpractice, played a role in the victim’s death. However, not all cases of negligence are serious enough to warrant a lawsuit.
- Cap on non-economic damages — The court considers the losses suffered by survivors in monetary terms, even for emotional damages like loss of support, companionship, love and guidance. It also, of course, takes into account lost wages, lost inheritance and any expenses related to the death, including property damages.
If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland, consult a Maryland wrongful death lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. for guidance and support. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.