Family members of a loved one who died due to medical malpractice or any other kind of negligence from another person, product, or institution could possibly file a wrongful death lawsuit with the help of a qualified attorney. An attorney will be able to determine how much the lawsuit is worth, estimating the possible compensation the family of the deceased might be able to get.
Maryland’s Wrongful Death Claims Laws
Here are some of the most important laws that rule wrongful death claims in Maryland:
• Wrongful death claims should be for the benefit of the parent, child, husband, or wife of the deceased individual.
• If the parent of a deceased child is convicted of certain crimes or committed an act prohibited by the Criminal Law articles, he or she may not receive wrongful death benefits.
• If the parent of a deceased child caused the death of the child, he or she may not get benefits.
• A dependent of the deceased may become a secondary beneficiary if this person can prove that he or she is related to the deceased by either blood or marriage, and that he or she depended on the deceased to live.
• The award of damages from injuries resulting in wrongful death may be given to the claimants.
• Damages for wrongful death are not only limited to financial or pecuniary loss, but may also include loss of society, companionship, parental or marital care, counsel, education, etc. in the case of the death of a husband or wife; the parent of a minor child; a minor child; or an unmarried, adult child, if he or she is under 21 years of age, or if he or she depended on the deceased parent by a rate of 50% or more in the year prior to the death.
Time Limits on Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Maryland provides statutes of limitation in the cases of wrongful death claims. This means that filing cases in a timely matter is important to avoid the court system from dismissing the case.
In the case of occupational disease and most other cases (with exceptions), the claim or lawsuit must be filed within 3 years of the discovery of the death’s causes or within 10 years of the death, whichever is shorter. Occupational disease relates to the prolonged exposure to harmful toxic chemicals and substances in the workplace that cause a worker to become ill.
History of Common Law Pertaining to Wrongful Death in Maryland
In Maryland, wrongful death cases are handled using common law. Common law is how tort law is processed in the state. In common law, the judge writes legal opinions and the lawyers read this opinion and attempt to interpret what that law states. Prior to 1852, the family member of a loved one who died a wrongful death was unable to file a lawsuit or claim for his or her loss. The law stated that injuring someone was worse than killing someone. The state of Maryland then fixed this discrepancy in 1852, and now family members are allowed to bring a lawsuit and seek compensation for their loss.