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Damages Available Under a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland

— May 25, 2022

Technically, there is no limit for economic damages, but the judge may intervene if they are not reasonable.

Losing someone you love is never easy, but when that special someone is killed in an accident caused by a third party’s negligence your whole world falls apart. This is not fair! Your heart screams for justice and, in some cases, that person who was so negligent may face criminal charges. They may go behind bars, but that doesn’t solve the financial problems you and your family may be facing. To deal with that you will have to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. To understand what your rights are, it’s best to talk to a knowledgeable Maryland wrongful death lawyer first.

How much time do I have to file a claim?

Under Maryland’s statute of limitations, you have 3 years from the death of your loved one to file a claim. However, you shouldn’t wait too much as there’s a lot of work to be done. Your lawyers will need to build a strong case showing that the person was negligent and their actions directly caused the death of your relative. 

What type of damages can I recover in a wrongful death case?

Just as in a regular personal injury case, you can claim two types of damages – compensatory damages and punitive damages (only under certain circumstances). 

Compensatory damages encompass both your financial losses and your suffering.

Under economic damages, the family of the deceased can recover:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Outstanding medical bills
  • Loss of financial contribution to the household
  • Loss of household services provided by the deceased

Technically, there is no limit for economic damages, but the judge may intervene if they are not reasonable.

Excessive Work Hours Lead to Significant Health Problems, Death
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The non-economic damages are meant to compensate the surviving family members for their suffering:

  • Grief
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of love and affection
  • Loss of guidance and nurturing (for the children of the deceased)

In Maryland, there is a cap on the amount of money the family can recover under non-economic damages. That sum is adjusted for inflation regularly. The cap established in 2021 is $2,262,500 for a wrongful death case with 2 or more survivors.

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in Maryland. In many other states, it is possible to seek punitive damages if your lawyers can prove that the defendant acted with gross negligence. In Maryland, however, you need to prove that the defendant acted with actual malice or an “evil motive” to injure or kill someone. This is almost impossible to prove in a car accident or a case of medical malpractice, but this is something you need to discuss with a seasoned lawyer specializing in wrongful death claims.

What’s the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survivor action?

A survivor action is a claim allowing the family to seek damages for what their loved one suffered before their death. If your loved one was injured in an accident and lingered in a hospital bed for weeks before their death, you can file a survival action to get damages for their pain and suffering. Basically, it’s a type of compensation your loved one would have been entitled to had they survived.

Under Maryland law, a wrongful death claim and a survivor action can be filed at the same time. However, you need to keep in mind that only close relatives can file a wrongful death claim. This means the spouse, the children, or the parents of the deceased. If the deceased did not have close relatives, another family member may file such a claim but only if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased. 

Attorneys Near Me

If you’re looking for a wrongful death lawyer or need professional help with other legal matters, you may be wondering “Where can I find Attorneys Near Me?” Don’t worry, help is just a few clicks away. Just follow the link to go to the extensive database on Select the legal area you’re interested in, your state and your city, and schedule a free consultation with a trustworthy lawyer in your area. 

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