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 vast topic, the result is always the same, whether from a car accident, truck accident, or another 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 have created survival acts one by one.
Accordingly, a victim’s cause of action now survives their death. Just as importantly, the 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 the benefit of the spouse, parent, and child of a deceased person. Note that not every family member can recover from 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 financial injury 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 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 ten years of the time of death or 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 financial or monetary injury resulting to the spouse, parent, or child. In Maryland, damages are measured in terms of harm to others from the loss of a victim. This allows recovery from loss of support, loss of companionship, etc. It does not allow for recovery from the decedent’s pain and suffering. That is a separate cause of action commenced on behalf of the decedent’s estate. While we still handle these cases, these damages technically belong to the deceased’s estate. As a spouse, parent, or child, you 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 financial loss after marriage or the age of majority where actual or potential financial 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 on proving negligence by the tortfeasor and on which party related to the decedent is seeking recovery. If you have any questions or think you may have a case, feel free to call us for a free consultation.