Bowie Wrongful Death Lawyer
Our Bowie wrongful death lawyers are proficient in handling a claim for wrongful death stemming from any death in tort. Wrongful deaths can be some of the most devastating torts in civil law. While it is a very broad topic, the result is always the same whether from a car accident, truck accident, or some other tort. And just as importantly, for a viable claim, there must be civil liability on the part of the tortfeasor. At common law, a tort action ended at the death of either the tortfeasor or the victim. However, as laws have modernized, states one by one have created survival acts.
Accordingly, a victim’s cause of action now survives his or her death. Just as importantly, the that right to recover now persists as well. Every state in the U.S. now has some wrongful death statute, and Maryland is no different. In Maryland, under §3-904. Wrongful death action, effective October 1, 23012, Maryland enacted actions for benefit of spouse, parent, and child of deceased person. Note that not every family member is able to recover for a wrongful death. Maryland is in line with most other states in limiting the number of family members to lineal familiar relationships.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Maryland, a wrongful death action is brought by a spouse, parent, or child of the deceased person. Maryland’s statute allows the maintenance of an action “against a person whose wrongful act causes the death of another.” See Spangler v. McQuitty, 449 Md. 33, 141 A.3d 156 (2016) The measure of recovery is for the pecuniary injury resulting to one of those parties. Of course, for each party to recover, there are limitations. For a parent to recover, the parent may not have been convicted under certain sections of the Criminal Law Article of Maryland. These restrictions are intended to limit recovery if the parent played any role in the death of the deceased child. According to Spangler, a wrongful death action is an independent cause of action from the victims.
Limitations on a Bowie wrongful death claim include, perhaps most importantly, a three-year statute of limitations from the death of the victim. The one exception to this is if the death is from an occupational disease. These include exposure to any toxic substance in the person’s workplace. If death is from an occupational disease, the action may be within 10 years of the time of death or within three years of the date when the cause of death is discovered, whichever is shorter.
Measure of recovery
In most states, the measure of recovery is for the pecuniary, or money injury resulting to the spouse, parent, or child. In Maryland, damages are measured in terms of harm to others from loss of victim. This allows recovery for loss of support, loss of companionship, etc. It does not allow for recovery for the decedent’s pain and suffering. That is a separate cause of action and is commenced on behalf of the decedent’s estate. While we still handle these types of cases, these damages technically belong to the estate of the deceased. You, as a spouse, parent or child may still be entitled to this money. However, it depends on the contents of the will of the deceased.
The measure of recovery in Bowie for a single minor at the death of death of a parent can be estimated and awarded by a jury. The claimant, the minor, can recover damages for a presumed loss of parental support until the age of marriage or majority. The minor child can also recover for any other pecuniary loss after marriage, or the age of majority where actual or potential pecuniary losses can be shown. There may also be no recovery for prospective inheritance.
Contact a Bowie Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death claims are unique in that each case is so different. Recovery depends, not just on proving negligence by the tortfeasor, but also on which party related to the decedent is seeking recovery. If you have any questions or believe you may have a case, call us for a free consultation.