In the tragic event of a loved one’s death, certain family members may hold responsible parties accountable through a wrongful death claim under Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act. To file a wrongful death claim after a Maryland car accident, in general, a spouse, parent, or child may file the claim. Normally for a claim involving a car accident death, the claim must be filed within three years of the person’s death. If no spouse, parent, or child exists, another person may file the claim who is related to the person by blood or by marriage and who was substantially dependent upon that person. A wrongful death claim is meant to compensate family members for their loss and hold wrongful actors accountable after their loved one’s death.
Only one wrongful death claim can be filed after a person’s death. Qualifying family members may be able to recover financial compensation for their emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of parental, and other damages. Family members may have to defend against claims that their loved one was negligent and contributed to their own death, which would bar recovery even in a wrongful death claim.
One state appeals court recently considered a wrongful death claim against a driver and his mother after a young girl was tragically killed in a car crash. On New Year’s Day in 2016, a 17-year-old boy was driving the girl and another passenger home after a New Year’s party. The driver accelerated to 80 miles per hour in a 25 to 30 mile-per-hour zone, lost control of the car, and crashed. The driver and the other passenger survived, but the girl died in the crash. The girl’s parents sued the driver and the driver’s mother, who owned the car, for wrongful death (the passenger was also sued but dropped from the suit).
The driver of the car did not have a driver’s license, and the plaintiffs argued that the mother was at fault for allowing the son to drive her car. The mother moved for summary judgment, claiming she had not given her son permission to drive the car. The plaintiffs responded in part by requesting to continue a hearing on the issue of summary judgment to allow them to take the deposition of the other passenger in the car who had not been available for a deposition. The plaintiffs claimed that he had knowledge of the driver driving his mother’s cars on previous occasions. The court explained that the parties needed to be given the opportunity to obtain all the evidence they were able to and that the plaintiffs warranted a continuance in the case. Therefore, the court reversed the granting of summary judgment and sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.
Can Families Sue After a Fatal Car Accident
Yes, grieving families mourning the loss of a loved one can file a wrongful death claim against the party or parties responsible for thier loved one’s death. These claims must generally be filed within three years from the date of an accident victims death and require the party bringing the case establish that the other driver was legally negligent.
Maryland Car Accident Lawyers Fighting for the Rights of Victims
Dealing with the death of a loved one after a Maryland car crash can be overwhelming. The compassionate attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen fight for the rights of accident victims and their families against careless drivers, insurers, and other defendants. They have the knowledge and resources to pursue all responsible parties. They will guide you through each step of the legal process and strive to reduce your stress as much as possible. To schedule a free consultation about your personal injury or wrongful death case, call them toll-free at (800) 654-1949 or contact them online.