A wrongful death lawsuit is filed when the family or loved ones of an individual whose untimely death was the result of another party’s negligence are seeking compensation for the damages they have suffered. The statute of limitations in Maryland states that wrongful death claims may be filed within three years of the date of the individual’s death, and any cases filed after this time limit will most likely not be considered by the court.
Wrongful death claims may be filed by what the law in Maryland defines as primary beneficiaries or by secondary beneficiaries. Primary beneficiaries include the individual’s surviving parents, children or spouse. Secondary beneficiaries include any of the individual’s surviving relatives such as their siblings, uncles, nieces or nephews and cousins. If a wrongful death claim is filed by one primary beneficiary, then all primary beneficiaries will be entitled to the damages that will be received. If no primary beneficiary is alive or if none of them is willing to make a claim, then one of the secondary beneficiaries may file a claim on behalf of both the primary and secondary beneficiaries.
There are generally two categories of wrongful death actions that can be taken in the state of Maryland.
The first is wrongful death claims, which are filed by the deceased’s family. The other are survival actions, which are filed by the deceased’s estate on their behalf.
In wrongful death claims, the deceased’s family will look for compensation on damages they suffered such as funeral and burial services, medical expenses, future lost wages, lost financial contributions of the deceased such as healthcare costs or tuition fees, loss of society, companionship and love along with the sadness and grief that comes with losing a loved one.
On the other hand, survival actions look to compensate for the actual harm suffered by the victim such as the physical and emotional pain suffered prior to dying and relevant expenses such as medical bills.
It is worth noting that there are a few caps set by the state of Maryland when it comes to the amount of damages that may be awarded to the deceased’s representatives in a wrongful death claim. These caps apply only for non-economic damages and cases of medical malpractice.
Non-economic damages are pain and suffering and generally refer to the grief, emotional distress and loss of companionship and society of the deceased. The state of Maryland has set a total limit of $2,112,500 for non-economic damages. $845,000 of this amount is for cases involving one beneficiary, while wrongful death cases involving two or more beneficiaries have a maximum of $1,267,500 in damages that can be recovered. In addition to this, the cap for non-economic damages in survival actions is $830,000
Medical malpractice refers to when a medical error lead for the individual’s untimely death, the cap for damages in such cases is at $1,000,000.
Moreover, the amount that can be recovered for economic damages such as lost wages, medical bills, and funeral expenses has no cap or limit.