What are my rights for a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland?
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Oct 13, 2009 in Wrongful Death
Many people are confused over their rights when a loved one dies in Maryland. This is for good reason, as Maryland's wrongful death act is indeed complicated, even for attorneys. Generally speaking, when someone in Maryland dies as a result of the negligence of someone else (for example from a Maryland car accident, Maryland medical malpractice, Maryland work injury, from mesothelioma or a Maryland tractor trailer accident) two categories of legal claims relating to the death are possible.
The first is the survival action which is brought by the Personal Representative of the Estate.
This encompasses the decedent's conscious pain and suffering and other damages. Unlike many other states though, in Maryland a wrongful death claim is not brought by the PR of the Estate. Instead it is brought by the wrongful death beneficiary. The wrongful death claim does not belong to the decedent's estate. It belongs to the next of kin/wrongful death beneficiaries (if none exist, a wrongful death claim can sometimes be brought by secondary beneficiaries who are dependent). When someone in Maryland dies there is generally a wrongful death claim for the wife, husband, parent and child of the deceased person.
Even adult children have a claim under Maryland's wrongful death act (See Cts. Jud. Proc. 3-904 (e)). The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim include mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, loss of comfort, loss of protection, loss of care, loss of attention, advice , counsel and education/guidance.
Basically the full slate of non-economic damages are recoverable in a Maryland wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim must be brought within 3 years after the death (except if the death was caused by "occupational disease" in which case the claim must be brought within 10 years of the time of death or within 3 years of the date when the death is discovered (whichever is shorter). Navigating Maryland's wrongful death act is tricky and complicated, and claimants generally should have a lawyer to assist with this.
For more information on, click here: Maryland's wrongful death act. It should be noted that there are a separate set of procedural rules for Wrongful Death Claims in Maryland, and all potential wrongful death beneficiaries need to be included in a lawsuit as use plaintiffs under the rules.
The Silver Spring personal injury lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan are available to discuss any potential wrongful death claim, and there is no charge for the initial telephone consultation. If we take the case, there is generally no attorney fee if there is no recovery. We arrange to advance the litigation costs as well. Call us at (888) 213-8140.