When someone dies in a car accident, it is usually a very emotional moment. This is because car accidents are very horrifying experiences. It is terrible for both the survivors and their loved ones. Unfortunately, car accidents are often fatal without any survivors. Some victims die on the spot, while some live long enough to get to the hospital, where they eventually die.
Whichever way it happens, when someone dies in a vehicle collision, the grief that follows is never an easy one to bear. Beyond the pain suffered, there ought to be justice for the victim so that their relatives can find closure.
Many possible scenarios play out after a person dies from a car crash, making it crucial to seek the guidance of a lawyer in Maryland. In this article, we explain two of the two most common possible outcomes of a fatal crash.
The Driver at Fault May Face Criminal Charges
If a person dies from a car accident, the state may prosecute the driver who caused the car accident. The at-fault driver would likely face a vehicular manslaughter charge at the conclusion of the crash investigation, but it is not always so.
The local district attorney would then decide whether there is enough evidence to charge the driver. The DA will have to consider many factors before deciding whether or not to prosecute. Some factors relevant to making the decision include whether the driver was:
- Grossly or criminally negligent. This usually involves where the motorist drove recklessly, went over the speed limit, or disobeyed traffic laws.
- Under the influence of alcohol.
- Impaired by a drug, or a combination of drugs, or a combination of the drugs and alcohol.
- Impaired by a controlled, dangerous substance.
Vehicular homicide is a felony in Maryland, and if the driver is convicted, they may face up to three years imprisonment. The court may also require the driver to pay fines of up to $5,000 or face both penalties.
Finally, the DA will also have to ensure that circumstances beyond the driver’s control did not cause the accident. Such mitigating situations could include bad road conditions, an “act of God,” or an unexpected mechanical failure.
The Deceased’s Estate May Be Able to File a Wrongful Death Suit
Another possible eventuality of a fatal car accident in Maryland is a wrongful death claim. The surviving family members have a right to sue under Maryland law. However, not every car crash leading to death will qualify for a wrongful death suit.
You could bring a wrongful death claim if the “wrongful act” of the driver was one of negligence, or default, including a felonious action that would have entitled your loved one to sue and recover damages if they hadn’t died.
Every family member is not qualified to sue for the deceased’s death. Maryland legislation restricted the eligible class to the surviving spouse, parent, or child. Certain circumstances may expand this class to include any relative by blood or marriage that was substantially dependent on the deceased. Furthermore, the beneficiaries will share the judgment money according to the verdict.
To win a wrongful death suit in Maryland, you must prove that:
- Your relative died.
- The action of the driver directly caused the victim’s death.
- The potential judgment beneficiaries suffered damages because of the death.
Establishing these facts is very technical and challenging. Therefore, it would be best to retain the services of a skilled wrongful death attorney in Maryland. If you prove the mentioned factor successfully, you can recover compensation for:
- Mental anguish.
- Emotional pain and suffering.
- Marital, parental, or filial care.
- Loss of society, compassion, comfort, protection, attention, advice, counsel, training, education, or guidance where applicable.
Finally, one drawback is that your right to sue does not last forever. This is because, according to Maryland law, you have to bring your case within three years of the victim’s death.
Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You if You Lost a Loved One in a Car Accident!
If your relative died after a car accident in Maryland, you might be able to sue the “at-fault” driver. Although nothing can bring back your loved one, you deserve some compensation. However, to successfully file a wrongful death claim, you need experienced Maryland wrongful death attorneys.
Our lawyers at Pinder Plotkin LLC have a track record of success in wrongful death lawsuits, and we are confident that we can make the negligent driver pay for your loss. So, call us today to fix a free consultation and get more specific information on your case.