Losing a spouse, parent or child is always difficult. However, it can be even harder to handle when it results from someone else’s recklessness or negligence. Car accidents, fires, and workplace injuries are just some of the things that can result in loss of life. If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s actions, you may be able to get compensation. While this won’t bring the person back, it can help you to cope with the sudden financial loss.
When someone dies due to another person’s negligence, there are two types of claims that can be filed in Maryland. These are a wrongful death claim and a survival action. A survival action is similar to a personal injury claim except that the individual died instead of merely suffering an injury. The plaintiff is, therefore, considered to be the deceased person. The claim is intended to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages that person suffered.
Meanwhile, a wrongful death claim is based on losses suffered by the deceased person’s loved ones following their death. Only beneficiaries mentioned in the law can file a wrongful death claim. These are parents, children, and spouses. These individuals can recover both tangible and intangible damages. The latter include mental and emotional anguish, loss of companionship, loss of protection, and loss of parental care and guidance.
Who Can File a Survival Action Lawsuit in Maryland?
Under Maryland’s laws, only the personal representative of the deceased can file such a lawsuit. They essentially take the place of the deceased person and make decisions that they can’t. The personal representative is usually the individual who is named in the victim’s will as the executor. However, if the individual dies intestate, the court will appoint a personal representative.
This individual has to file a petition for requesting that a judge allow them to handle the victim’s affairs. Typically, this person is the victim’s spouse, child or parent. However, it can be someone else and sometimes there is friction in families about who should be appointed.
What Damages Can Be Claimed?
Since survival actions are similar to personal injury lawsuits, a personal representative can sue for both economic and non-economic damages. The victim’s estate can recover damages for pain and suffering and other losses and expenses the victim suffered until they died. These include medical expenses, property damage, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages between the accident and death. You will need a Maryland wrongful death lawyer to help you file your claim.
Non-economic damages are not as easy to calculate since there is no obvious dollar figure attached to them. However, in Maryland wrongful death attorney can help you to put a monetary value on these losses. Non-economic damages include things like mental anguish, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
These damages are limited to the period of time between the accident that caused the injuries and the date of their death. That is because the individual can’t experience any type of pain, anguish or emotion after they die. This means that if the victim died instantaneously as can happen in a car accident or explosion, there cannot be a claim for non-economic damages. Your claim would be limited to the usual financial losses. Regardless of which damages you intend to seek compensation for, you will need to produce supporting evidence.
Limits on Damages
It is important to note that Maryland places statutory caps on the non-economic damages plaintiffs can recover. In 2020, the cap is $875,000. The amount increases on October 1 of each year. The cap goes up if there are two or more beneficiaries.
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC for Sound Legal Advice
If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence you deserve to get compensation. However, the process of doing so can be quite overwhelming and you may not understand all the legal terms involved. Whether you want to know about survival actions or wrongful death lawsuits, our wrongful death law firm in Maryland can help you. All you need to do is call us and schedule a consultation. We will review your case, look at the evidence and help you to seek full and fair compensation. We will take the time to explain what the law says about these types of cases and work to get you the best outcome possible. Your first consultation is free, and we work on a contingency basis, so you have nothing to lose by seeking legal advice today.