Fatalities and Wrongful Death
When a person is killed due to someone else’s negligence, two types of claims may arise that could benefit her family members and other survivors and heirs.
First is a Survival Action.
A Survival Action is a claim that is brought by the deceased’s Estate and allows for the Estate to recover for all those damages that the person killed would have received if she had been injured and survived (as well as funeral expenses incurred by the Estate up to a statutory limit). For example, this would include economic damages, i.e., medical expenses and wage loss, for the losses that may have been incurred from the moment of injury to the moment of death caused by the incident. It could be a matter of hours, days, weeks, or months, or even longer. The Estate can recover non-economic damages for that same time period or even for pre-impact fright (in cases where the death is instantaneous). Once money is received by the Estate, the money would be disbursed in accordance with the deceased’s Will or by law of the State of Maryland, if the deceased did not have a Will.
Second is a Wrongful Death Action.
A Wrongful Death Action is a claim brought by those wrongful death beneficiaries that are allowed to make a recovery under the Maryland Wrongful Death Statute. Typically, this would be a spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. For many years, parents did not have a wrongful death claim if their child had reached the age of majority at the time of the death. The Wrongful Death Statute was rightfully changed to allow for such a claim. A Wrongful Death Claim could include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic losses would include loss of earnings if the beneficiary relied upon the deceased for monetary support as well as for loss of services (for instance, the cost of hiring someone to provide the services a spouse may have otherwise provided). The Wrongful Death Statute also allows for the recovery of non-economic losses which are those losses such as mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, society, comfort, protection, parental care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education.
There are non-economic damage caps that apply to both a Survival Action and Wrongful Death Action.
If you have had the terrible misfortune of having a loved one killed due to the negligence of another, contact our office so that we can lend an experienced hand to guide you through this complicated area of the law.