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Wrongful Death and Survival Actions in Maryland

The loss of a loved one, no matter the circumstance, is a painful and often traumatic experience. This pain and anguish can be further compounded when your loved one’s death is the result of another’s negligence. Often, the wrongful death of a loved one leaves the surviving family members seeking answers from those responsible. If you have lost a loved one to negligence, you need experienced legal representation that understands the complexity of trying wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions in the state of Maryland.

During your consultation at Holzman & Associates, we will cover the steps involved in wrongful death and survival action litigation, so you are informed of what to expect and are comfortable with the process. Our attorneys will use their experience and strong understanding of Maryland-specific laws and regulations to develop a strategy that is designed specifically for your case. The attorneys of Holzman & Associates will stand by your side during this difficult time to hold the negligent parties responsible and ensure you and your loved ones recover the damages you are owed.

Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about wrongful death lawsuits in Maryland:

 

What is a Wrongful Death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit that claims an individual or a company was negligent in their actions that led to the death of an individual. While there may also be a criminal prosecution, a wrongful death lawsuit is a separate civil legal action that claims monetary compensation. Our attorneys have experience navigating these complex cases and will guide and support you throughout this difficult time.

Our attorneys have represented clients in a range of wrongful death lawsuits, including:

  • Auto accidents: We have the experience and resources to negotiate with insurance companies to make sure you receive the damages you deserve. With a specific understanding of the complex laws related to auto accidents in Maryland, we are well-versed in pursuing damages.
  • Premises liability: If your loved one died due to hazardous conditions, or because proper safety and security measures weren’t taken, we will hold the negligent party accountable.
  • Medical malpractice: Our lawyers have experience litigating cases related to surgery errors, misdiagnosis, injuries at birth, anesthesia errors, and more. We will work hard to identify key expert testimony and consult licensed medical professionals to build a strong case.
  • Workplace accidents: We understand the pain felt by loved ones following a fatal workplace accident which is why we fight hard for you and your family to receive damages and survivor benefits.

 

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the spouse, child, or parent of the victim—referred to as primary beneficiaries. In specific circumstances, other beneficiaries are able to file a lawsuit as well. The law describing who can file a wrongful death lawsuit is discussed in Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-904.

 

 

Is a Survival Action different than a Wrongful Death lawsuit?

Yes. When someone dies because of someone else’s negligence, in addition to a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action can also be filed. Though these two claims are often filed together at once, they are distinct.

A survival action looks to compensate for the harm to the victim. It is called a survival action because the claim “survives” the death of a victim and can be filed by the victim’s estate on behalf of the victim. This claim includes things like the physical pain suffered before death, medical bills incurred, property damage, and any funeral expenses.

A wrongful death action is designed to compensate for the harm caused to the loved ones of the victim. The loved ones, known as beneficiaries, can claim the victim’s anticipated income that would’ve supported the beneficiaries, and the emotional suffering inflicted upon the victim’s family members because of the death.

 

Is there a limit to the number of damages that can be claimed in a wrongful death or survival action?

In Maryland, there is no limit (or “cap”) to the amount of “economic damages” that can be claimed. Economic damages are things like medical bills, property damage, or lost wages.

However, certain damages, such as pain and suffering (known as “non-economic damages”) are capped by statute. These damage caps rise slightly each year. In October 2020, the cap on the maximum amount that can be recovered in non-economic damages for personal injury or wrongful death claims was raised to $905,000. It will increase by $15,000 every year. See Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 11-108.

It is important to remember that non-economic damages in a survival action may not exist if the death was instantaneous. This is because it would be hard to prove that the victim suffered any compensable pain, suffering, or mental anguish.

 

Do I have to go to court?

Many wrongful death lawsuits are settled outside of the courtroom. As we review your case, we will discuss all of your options and pursue the legal action that is best for you and your loved ones. We are experienced in the courtroom and at the negotiating table and will provide you with exceptional legal representation no matter which route you choose.

 

Contact us for a free consultation

Holzman & Associates, L.L.C. advises estate representatives and surviving family members on wrongful death and survival actions. Our firm litigates all types of matters involving fatal instances of negligence and purposeful misconduct. For a free initial consultation at our downtown Baltimore office, please call 410-539-4222 or contact us online.

For more than 50 years, Holzman & Associates, LLC has obtained substantial verdicts and settlements for injury victims throughout Maryland. Ask around about us!

 

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