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What grieving families should know about wrongful death lawsuits

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Personal Injury

The law in Maryland helps to protect people from major financial losses caused by other parties. In some scenarios, those with injuries related to someone else’s behavior can file insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits.

When something tragic happens and families lose a loved one unexpectedly, they may want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit instead. Maryland allows for litigation in cases involving negligence, criminal activity and medical malpractice.

What do those who have lost a loved one in Maryland need to know about wrongful death lawsuits?

Family members can potentially file

One of the most important rules about wrongful death lawsuits in Maryland is the statute outlining who can file such lawsuits. Typically, the closest family members of the deceased individual have the rights to initiate litigation. Spouses, parents and children often file wrongful death lawsuits under Maryland law. However, other family members can file a lawsuit if no one with one of those three relationships takes action.

Families can recover multiple types of losses

The focus in wrongful death cases is to compensate those who survive the deceased for their losses. Families can claim financial contributions the deceased party may have made, including the value of their future wages and employment benefits.

They can also claim certain non-economic losses. Those losses may include the anguish and suffering of survivors, the loss of someone’s care and protection and even the loss of attention or guidance provided by the deceased. There are rules capping the total value of non-economic losses. In some cases, punitive damages can be an option. There are strict rules about when punitive damages apply, and the courts usually limit the to three times the economic damages or $2 million.

In most cases, wrongful death lawsuit requires timely action, state laws impose a three-year statute of limitations in most cases. Family members, therefore, need to look at their situation carefully and take action promptly if they want to hold an individual or business responsible for a recent tragedy.

Learning more about wrongful death lawsuits can help families pursue closure. Those who take legal action can potentially reduce the impact of loss has on their family and inspire consequences for the party at fault for the incident.