Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim in MarylandMarch 22, 2019
Losing a loved one under any circumstance is devastating, but when the cause of death is a car accident, it can be particularly difficult, especially when the accident could have been avoided. If the accident was caused by another person’s negligence, the surviving family may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. In the state of Maryland, not every car accident that results in a fatality is considered a wrongful death. An experienced car accident lawyer can guide you through the claims process and explain the benefits you are entitled to receive.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
In Maryland, wrongful death claims are separated into two categories, including the following:
- Survival Actions: These are brought on behalf of the estate and would include compensation for expenses related to the death, including funeral, burial, and medical expenses. This type of claim also provides compensation for the losses that the deceased victim suffered as a result of the accident, including pain and suffering.
- Wrongful Death Actions: These are brought on behalf of the spouse, parents, children, or other surviving family members of the deceased person. These provide compensation for things like lost wages, lost companionship, and other losses associated with the loved one’s death.
To file a wrongful death claim in Maryland, the person must be classified as a primary or secondary beneficiary. Primary beneficiaries include the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. Primary beneficiaries may file survival claims, wrongful death claims, or both. They will be the sole beneficiary to the damages awarded. If there are no primary beneficiaries, or none who are willing to file a claim, a secondary beneficiary may file the claim. Secondary beneficiaries include siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
It can be difficult for a grieving family to know what steps to take after losing a loved one so suddenly. The following recommendations can help families who are facing a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Hire an experienced car accident lawyer. This will help ensure that the family’s legal rights are protected. Insurance companies may try to take advantage of a grieving family and offer a low settlement.
- Avoid speaking to the other party’s insurance company. They may contact you and attempt to get you to say things that could jeopardize your case. Always direct them to speak to your attorney.
- Keep in mind that Maryland is a contributory negligence state. This means that if the deceased family member was even partially at fault for the accident, the surviving family members may not recover any damages.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients with Wrongful Death Claims
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, the dedicated and compassionate Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled. We will address every question and concern that you have as we walk you through the claims process. Our skilled legal team will not stop fighting for you until justice has been served. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.