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People with the right to file a wrongful death claim in Maryland

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Auto Accidents

Unfortunately, many families in Maryland suffer loss because of someone else’s negligence, carelessness or malicious intent. It’s only fitting to get justice and some compensation to take care of expenses such as funeral costs, lost wages and emotional distress through a wrongful death lawsuit. But not everyone affected can file this claim.

Individuals who can bring this lawsuit in Maryland

Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Sec 3-904(a)(1) grants spouses, children and parents of the deceased the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These people are considered primary beneficiaries, and the courts prioritize their claim above anyone else.

If the deceased has no spouse, children or parents, then under Section 3-904(b), any person related to them by blood or marriage, who was substantially dependent on the deceased for at least one year before their passing, can file this lawsuit. These people (secondary beneficiaries) include grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.

If there are no primary or secondary beneficiaries, there wouldn’t be a wrongful death claim; instead, the deceased’s estate can bring a survival action. This lawsuit can help the estate administrator receive compensation for expenses incurred due to the death, including medical bills and pain and suffering.

Time limits for filing this suit

Beneficiaries have up to three years from the date the deceased passed away to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland; otherwise, they may lose the right to seek compensation. This is known as the ‘statute of limitations.’ But there are exceptions. If the deceased died from an occupational disease, i.e., an illness caused by long-term exposure to toxic substances, then the three-year window starts from the date of their diagnosis or ten years after the date of death, whichever is sooner.

Although a wrongful death lawsuit can’t take away the pain of loss or bring back your loved one, it can help ease the financial burdens associated with their death and give you some closure. It’s important to know who is eligible to bring this lawsuit in Maryland and when they must do so. With proper preparation and knowledge of what to do, this case can go much more smoothly and with a better chance of success.