What Do I Need to Know Before I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you lose a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you may want to explore your legal options. Some survivors are eager to take legal action while others don’t think it will make a difference. Since an insurance claim or lawsuit won’t bring their loved one back, they question whether it is truly worth it. Regardless of how you currently feel, it may be helpful to understand a bit more about wrongful death claims. For advice relating to your specific case, be sure to seek advice from a Maryland wrongful death lawyer. For now, let’s look at some of the basics.

Why Pursue A Wrongful Death Claim

There are three key reasons why families choose to file a wrongful death claim. The most practical one is a desire to claim financial compensation. The sudden death of a parent, child, or spouse can have a significant economic impact on a household. If a couple had children and one spouse died, the surviving spouse would be left to provide for the home on their own. This is very difficult for most families. 

The other two reasons are more emotional. Some families feel better knowing that the person who caused their loved one’s death is being held responsible. Having that person or entity admit that the death was their fault or having a court rule on the matter helps them to move on.

 Meanwhile, filing a wrongful death claim also has an impact on public safety. By drawing attention to how your loved one died, it can prevent something similar from happening in the future. Bringing a wrongful death action can put the spotlight on ongoing safety violations or hazardous practices. Some families take comfort in knowing that they may have protected other people.

When Should I Contact a Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyer?

After a deadly accident, your focus is likely to be on grieving, making funeral arrangements, and taking care of your family. You may be unsure about what else you’re supposed to do, and you may not have the energy to figure it all out. Calling a lawyer may be the last thing on your mind. However, it’s best to seek legal advice in the early stages. 

An experienced Maryland wrongful death attorney can actually take some of the burden off your shoulders. They’ve been through these situations before. They will act on your behalf when necessary and guide you through all the steps you need to take. Even if you’re not absolutely certain that you want to pursue the matter, meeting with an attorney can be helpful. The first consultation is usually free, so you have nothing to lose.

What Type of Compensation Can I Get?

It’s natural for families to want to know what they can claim compensation for and how much money they can get. This helps them to decide whether they really want to pursue a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Generally, survivors can seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses. 

Economic losses are things like medical bills, burial expenses, and loss of income. Non-economic losses are subjective things like loss of consortium or loss of parental guidance. Very often, loss of income makes up the largest portion of the damages sought. This is especially the case if the person who died was the sole breadwinner in the household.

How Long Does it Take to Settle the Matter?

You may be wondering if you’ll have to go through a long court process. The time a wrongful death case takes depends on several factors. Sometimes, liability is clear, the damages can be easily quantified, and the at-fault party agrees to pay a reasonable amount. If the at-fault party has a large insurance policy and there is no need for a lawsuit, the case may be settled in a few months. The court will still need to appoint a personal representative for the estate and approve the settlement but the negotiations will take place out of court.

However, if liability for the person’s death is in dispute or there’s disagreement over the amount of damages to be paid, the case can take longer. Such a situation would require an in-depth investigation into the matter and the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit. It can take years for some cases to be resolved. Most cases fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

Reach Out to Pinder Plotkin LLC for an Assessment of Your Case

If your loved ones died because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you probably have lots of questions. Contact the Maryland wrongful death lawyers at Pinder Plotkin LLC today to learn more about the options available to you.

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