If there is one sure thing in life, it is that it often deals you the most unexpected hand at the most unexpected time. Often, this takes place through events out of our control, such as major accidents or incidents caused by others. When this happens, it is often impossible to be fully prepared—but understanding the basics of how to move forward legally following a major accident, death of a loved one, or similar incident can better equip you and your loved ones for your next steps.
According to a recent local news report, a three-car accident left a toddler dead and four adults severely injured. Local authorities reported that the driver of a Ford was turning left when it crashed into an Acura and a Honda. The impact from the Ford caused the Acura to skid off the road and hit a brick wall. The three individuals in the Acura, including a three-year-old who was in the backseat, were all transported to the hospital for further treatment. The driver and one of the passengers of the Acura had serious but non-life-threatening injuries, but the toddler later died at the hospital. The drivers of the Honda and Ford were also transported to local hospitals but were expected to survive. The accident remains under investigation by local authorities.
Following an unexpected and tragic accident involving the sudden passing of a loved one because of another party’s negligence or recklessness, filing a lawsuit may be the furthest thing from your mind. There are, however, many legal options that you and your loved ones should consider in the wake of such an accident, including potentially filing a wrongful death claim in Maryland courts.
When someone passes away because of another party’s actions—regardless of whether they were accidental or intentional—the deceased’s family could have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Maryland, wrongful death means that the death of the deceased was caused by “an act, neglect, or default including a felonious act which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.”
In Maryland, the deceased’s parents, spouse, and children are allowed to file wrongful death claims. If the deceased does not have anyone in these categories surviving them, then Maryland law allows for anyone who is related to the deceased by marriage or blood who was substantially dependent on them to file a claim also.
Because wrongful death lawsuits, similar to personal injury lawsuits generally, are based on financial compensation and damages paid by the defendant, it is also important to understand how much compensation you could receive if your claim is successful and for what you could receive compensation for.
In Maryland, damages are available for losses such as financial contributions the deceased would have made, emotional pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. Importantly, Maryland, like other states, has a “cap” on non-economic damages in wrongful death lawsuits. This means that damages that cannot be quantitatively measured, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish, have limits on how much a party can receive. As of 2021, Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages is $845,000 for wrongful death claims with only a single beneficiary. For claims with multiple beneficiaries, the cap is 150 percent of the cap for single beneficiaries.
Do You Need a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney?
If you or someone you know was recently injured or killed in a Maryland car accident, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen today. Our lawyers have decades of experience and have collected more than $65 million on behalf of our clients. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 800-654-1949.