It’s devastating when you lose a spouse or family member because of someone else’s negligence. Knowing that they would be alive if the other person had exercised greater care can make things very difficult to handle. Nothing will bring your loved one back, but the legal system allows families to get monetary compensation for their losses. This helps to reduce some of the financial fallout of losing a loved one unexpectedly. When someone dies, several family members may believe they’re entitled to compensation. This can lead to confusion and even some contention. However, the law makes it clear who is eligible to file a claim. This article will outline some of the basic things you should know about filing a wrongful death case in Maryland. For personalized advice, reach out to a Maryland wrongful death attorney.
Possible Beneficiaries of a Wrongful Death Claim
There are two types of wrongful death claims: beneficiary actions and survival actions. Beneficiary actions are intended to compensate families for things like lost wages, loss of companionship and loss of domestic support. Meanwhile, survival actions reimburse the estate for death-related expenses and medical bills. They also compensate the estate for losses the individual suffered.
Family members fall into one of two tiers of beneficiaries. Primary beneficiaries include the spouse, parents, and children of the deceased. Secondary beneficiaries include their siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins. If a primary beneficiary files either type of claim, it takes precedence over a claim brought by a secondary beneficiary. However, if the deceased has no primary beneficiaries or none wants to bring a claim, a secondary beneficiary can file. They do so on behalf of all the person’s beneficiaries.
This can be put in more simple terms. If the deceased’s spouse, parent or child is alive and wants to file a claim, they always have that right. Other family members can only bring an action if the aforementioned relatives are dead or uninterested in seeking compensation. Working with a Maryland wrongful death attorney can help to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Determining If You Have a Valid Case
The death of a loved one is always difficult. However, not every untimely death is someone else’s fault. Even if you believe someone else caused your loved one’s passing, you’ll need to convince an insurance company or a court. This means you’ll need to prove the various elements of negligence. You’ll also need to present proof to support all the losses you want to claim. Your lawyer will help you to do all this.
Generally, a wrongful death case can be brought if the deceased could have filed a personal injury claim if they survived. Since the individual died, their survivors must file the claim. They must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet.
The first thing you must prove is that the at-fault party had a duty of care to the deceased. This means they had a duty to keep the individual safe and not cause them harm. In the case of a car accident, the other driver has a duty to drive safely and show due attention. In a case of medical malpractice, the medical professional also has a duty. They must offer their patient the level of care that would be expected of another physician in their position.
Having established that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care, you must present evidence that they breached that duty. Using our previous examples, this may involve driving under the influence or misdiagnosing a patient. Next, you will need to prove causation. You must show that your relative’s injuries and death were directly related to the defendant’s actions. If one of these elements is missing, you won’t be able to file a successful claim.
Get Advice on Your Wrongful Death Case from Pinder Plotkin Today!
If you believe your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence reach out to Pinder Plotkin LLC. Our law firm handles wrongful death cases in Maryland, and we’ll confirm that you’re eligible to bring legal action and help you to prepare a solid case. We’ll also ensure you file your claim within the three-year statute of limitations. If you miss the deadline, you’ll be barred from filing a claim, no matter how good a case you had. Wrongful death laws and cases are often complex. It’s therefore in your family’s best interest to get an experienced, competent attorney who will fight for you. Call us today to schedule a free consultation. We’ll do everything we can to help you.