When someone's misconduct leads to a death.
These are the most trying of times. Of course, the conduct that caused death is a crime, generally. Maryland personal injury law also provides that where a "wrongful act" (an act, including criminal conduct, neglect, or improper operation of a vessel) causes the death of another, an action for damages against that person may be maintained, and must generally be filed within 3 years. The action is intended for the benefit of a spouse, child, or parent, although not necessarily brought by them. If there is not a spouse, child, or parent, then the action shall be for the benefit of a blood or marital relative who was dependent on the decedent for support.
A spouse, child, or parent may recover damages for the following:
- Monetary loss
- Mental anguish
- Emotional pain
- Loss of companionship, comfort, protection, care, attention, advice, counsel, training, and guidance.
Maryland has a somewhat unique set of rules pertaining to economic and non-economic damages. The law does not cap the amount of economic damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death suit, which is why wrongful death damage verdicts are frequently quite large. There is, however, a cap on non-economic damages, which limits the amount of money that is awarded for loss of companionship, comfort, protection, etc.
A related claim is called a survival action.
It's similar to a wrongful death suit, except that it is brought by the deceased victim’s estate on the victim’s behalf. Although damages awarded in a survival action are paid victim’s estate- for the pain and anguish the victim suffered from the point of injury though the time of death- the recovery ultimately ends up in the hands of the heirs or beneficiaries of the decedent.
I've been told by many of my clients that the sudden loss of a cherished family member is the most difficult, challenging and horrifying event in their life. Where that tragedy is caused by the wrongful act of another, the loss may be even more poignant and piercing. I offer any potential client a complimentary legal analysis of the issues involved in their loss.