Silver Spring Wrongful Death Lawyers
Have you lost a loved one in an unexpected accident? If you believe it was a result of another’s negligence, talking to an attorney about possible legal options can be an important step.
Since 1999, the attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan have been helping injury victims throughout Maryland secure compensation for their losses. We have recovered more than $130 million in compensation.
Our Silver Spring wrongful death lawyers are ready to review your claim at no upfront cost in a free initial consultation. If you decide to hire our firm, there are no upfront fees while we work on your case. We understand this is a difficult time and we are prepared to manage the legal process on your behalf.
Partner Kevin Finnegan has been selected among the top five percent of practicing attorneys by Law and Politics.
Call to schedule your free consultation. 301-820-7815
Benefits of Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer
The legal process can seem complex and confusing unless you are an attorney or work in the civil justice system. Mistakes or oversights could hurt a plaintiff’s chances of securing a favorable result in his or her case.
That is why hiring an experienced attorney can be so important. An attorney can take on the legal process on your behalf, so you do not need to concern yourself with legal paperwork, filing deadlines, demand letters, and the many other details of the legal process. Research has shown hiring an experienced attorney often results in a larger recovery compared to doing it on your own.
However, your choice of an attorney is crucial. You need an experienced legal advocate who has gone through the legal process many times and been successful. That way you can rest assured your case is in good hands.
The attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan have decades of combined experience and have obtained millions in compensation in a variety of personal injury cases. Partner Kevin Goldberg has received the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell. This peer rating is reserved for attorneys who have shown the highest level of professional excellence.
What is a Wrongful Death?
State law says a wrongful death is one caused by neglect, default, or a felonious act that would have allowed the deceased to file a claim if he or she had survived. These legal actions are filed by relatives of the deceased, who are seeking compensation for the harm they suffered because of the death.
Wrongful death can result from many situations:
- Auto accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Commercial truck crashes
- Motorcycle collisions
- Defective product accidents
- Nursing home neglect or abuse
Various parties may bear liability for wrongful death, from drivers and product manufacturers to trucking companies, health care providers, nursing homes, and property owners.
Your attorney must establish your loved one was owed a duty of care by another entity, that duty of care was breached, and the breach was directly connected to your loved one’s fatal injuries.
Unsure if you may have a case? Call today: 301-820-7815.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland?
Generally, primary beneficiaries are the ones who may recover compensation from a wrongful death claim. The primary beneficiaries are spouses, children, or parents of the individual who died.
However, Maryland does allow secondary beneficiaries to receive compensation if there are no primary beneficiaries. Secondary beneficiaries are people related to the deceased through marriage or blood who were significantly dependent on the deceased before he or she passed away.
Any compensation awarded is split up in proportion to the percentage of damages each beneficiary suffered.
It is important to note everyone who may be eligible to receive compensation must be named as a plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit. If your lawsuit does not list all plaintiffs, the case could potentially be dismissed.
The law does allow people to opt out of a wrongful death case. However, they must be listed as use plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
These are all issues you can discuss with a licensed Silver Spring wrongful death lawyer from Goldberg Finnegan in a free consultation.
Wrongful Death Damages
You may be able to claim various damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages are meant to compensate you for the harm caused by your loss, and may include:
- Loss of companionship, care and guidance
- Lost wages/financial support
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
It may be possible to pursue punitive damages as well, although these damages are rarely awarded. Victims must prove the at-fault party acted with intent to cause injury or death, which can be very difficult to do.
It is also important to note Maryland places a cap on non-economic damages, which refer to the physical and psychological effects of an injury (pain and suffering, lost companionship, etc.).
The cap for claims arising in 2021 is $905,000, and if there are multiple claimants the cap jumps to $1,357,500. The cap increases by $15,000 each year on January 1. That means the cap in 2022 will be $920,000 and $1,380,000 for wrongful death claims involving multiple claimants. If the death happened in 2020 you would subtract $15,000 from the cap for 2021.
There is a separate cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims:
- $830,000 or $1,037,500 for claims involving two or more beneficiaries in 2020
- $845,000 or $1,056,250 for claims involving two or more beneficiaries in 2021
The cap for medical malpractice also goes up by $15,000 each year.
The Silver Spring wrongful death lawyers at our firm are committed to pursuing maximum compensation up to the limits set by the law. We have seen how important compensation can be as victims look to move forward.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The standard deadline is three years from the date of your loved one’s death. If you file a claim after those three years have passed, the defendant is likely to seek a dismissal of the case, and the court is likely to grant this request.
However, sometimes there are exceptions to this standard deadline. For example, Maryland’s wrongful death statute says claims involving occupational diseases must be filed within 10 years of the time of death or three years from discovering the cause of death, whichever one is shorter.
Building a case takes time, so it is important to call an attorney right away. That way you can find out if you may have a case and give your lawyer time to gather evidence and determine the value of damages.
Goldberg Finnegan is prepared to assist you. Call 301-820-7815.
How Do Wrongful Death Claims Differ from Survival Claims?
Even though families are usually the ones paying for funeral expenses and final medical expenses, they cannot pursue these damages in a wrongful death claim. These damages may be available in a survival claim, which can be brought by the deceased’s estate.
The purpose of a survival claim is to seek compensation for harm done to the deceased before his or her death. A survival action is brought by the personal representative of the estate who has been approved by the courts to handle the deceased’s affairs.
It is important to note survival actions are for cases where there is a gap between the injury and the victim’s death. If the decedent died instantly, it is unlikely there would be grounds for a survival claim. However, this is an issue that should be discussed with an experienced attorney.
Damages for Survival Actions
You may be able to recover the following damages in a survival action:
- Funeral costs
- Property damage
- Medical bills incurred between the injury and time of death
- Lost wages between the time of injury and death
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disability
- Mental anguish
As with a wrongful death action, there are caps on non-economic damages in survival claims. The total value of non-economic damages from a survival action and wrongful death claim cannot exceed $2,262,500 for deaths that occurred in 2021. This cap increases by $37,500 each year.
Statute of Limitations
The deadline is also three years from the date of death. There is also a discovery rule that may allow victims to file within three years of when the plaintiff knew or should have known about negligence. However, it is important to note it can be very difficult to get a court to apply the discovery rule. It is often best to make sure a case is filed within three years of the date of death, which is why having a knowledgeable attorney on your side may help you meet important deadlines.
Resources for Grieving Families in Maryland
While friends and loved ones are vital for those who suffered a loss, it may also be helpful to seek out counseling and/or support groups. Many who lost loved ones have benefited from these services.
The Maryland Department of Behavioral Health Administration compiled a list of resources for those going through grief and loss.
The National Alliance for Grieving Children has a list of support groups for children who are grieving the loss of a significant person in their lives.
The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland also serves as a resource for those grieving the loss of a loved one.
Contact Our Silver Spring Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
At the law offices of Goldberg Finnegan, our attorneys understand the hardships families often face after a wrongful death. Taking legal action to hold negligent parties accountable and secure compensation can be an important step.
We know how to build a strong case and determine the full value of damages. We have been helping victims of negligence for more than 20 years and have a proven track record of success.
Your initial case consultation is always 100 percent FREE and carries no obligation. We are not paid for providing legal services unless our clients get paid.
Read our testimonials page to see what clients had to say about our services.
Our office is just minutes from downtown Silver Spring.