Wrongful death in Maryland is the death of an individual in an incident caused by the negligence of another person/party. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed if the deceased individual would have had enough grounds to file for a personal injury claim had they been alive.
There are two types of wrongful death lawsuits that may be filed.
Survival actions compensate for any of the deceased individual’s overall financial losses due to the incident and any expenses related to their death. This includes medical expenses, funeral expenses, and burial expenses.
Wrongful Death Action
Wrongful death actions are filed to compensate the deceased individual’s beneficiaries such as children or spouses. Compensation for wrongful death actions are based on the losses and suffering the family endures because of the death, lost wages, lost support and any financial losses related to the death.
In the state of Maryland, there are two types of people that are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
A primary beneficiary includes the deceased individual’s spouse, parents, and any children.
This includes the deceased individual’s siblings, nieces, nephew, cousins, and any blood relatives. If there are no primary beneficiaries or none are willing to file a lawsuit, a secondary beneficiary is permitted to do so.
The state of Maryland requires that any individual’s that are considered beneficiaries be listed as plaintiffs in the wrongful death case. If an individual does not want to be involved in the case they may be listed as a “use plaintiff”. The failure to list all plaintiffs/beneficiaries in a claim may cause the throwing out of the case.
There is a statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim. This is a time period in which the claim is allowed to be filed in court. In Maryland, the statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim is within three years from the date of the deceased individual’s death. Any claims filed after their statute of limitations is up will be dismissed and thrown out by the court.
In order for a beneficiary to have a valid wrongful death claim, they must provide sufficient proof that the incident was caused by the defendant’s negligence. The proof required is the same as the proof that would’ve been presented in a personal injury claim had the victim been alive. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must prove the following elements:
The individual at-fault has a duty or responsibility to carry out in order to keep other people safe.
Breach of Duty
The individual at-fault fails to carry out their duty and causes the occurrence of the accident.
Evidence that links the at-fault party’s breach of duty to the injuries and death of the victim.
If a wrongful death claim is successful, the compensation received is distributed by the court among the listed plaintiffs based on their suffering and losses due to the death of the victim.