wrongful death mourning couple

Having a loved one die suddenly, whether it is from an accident at work, on the road in a motor vehicle collision, or from negligence in a hospital or nursing home, is absolutely devastating. Now, your life is in upheaval – this is impacting your finances, your emotions, your family, and even potentially your career. At this point, you may be wondering who you can turn to for justice. A skilled wrongful death lawyer will be able to fight on your behalf, as well as your loved one’s, to ensure your family gets the justice your loved one deserves. In addition, they will provide a high level of compassion and sensitivity to the case as they work to obtain accountability for the actions of those who caused harm to your family member.

Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death claim is intended to provide compensation to the family of the deceased. This compensation can not only cover the financial burden the family now has to bear, but also provide a recovery of sorts for the now-lost income, as well as any pain and suffering the deceased may have endured. Wrongful death claims can be filed in two ways. The first way is a survival action, and the second is a wrongful death action.

  • Survival Action: The survival action is brought by the surviving members of the deceased individual’s family on behalf of the estate. This will cover the areas mentioned above: the funeral expenses incurred by the death of the family member, and pain and suffering that surrounds their death. Medical expenses are also covered under the survival action.
  • Wrongful Death Action: The wrongful death action is filed by the direct family members of the deceased, including spouses, children, and parents. This is intended to cover areas such as loss of income and loss of consortium, or loss of companionship, and loss of support.

Who Can File?

Knowing who can file a wrongful death claim can be confusing. Just like there are two ways to file a wrongful death claim, there are two categories someone can file under for their claim. The first is as a primary beneficiary. A primary beneficiary is someone who is a spouse, child, or parent of the deceased. The second is as a secondary beneficiary, which is the sibling, cousin, niece or nephew, or other relative.

  • Primary Beneficiary: The primary beneficiary, as mentioned previously, is the parent, spouse, or child of the deceased. They will be seeking compensation directly for themselves for loss of consortium, loss of support, and loss of income due to the wrongful death of their loved one.
  • Secondary Beneficiary: The secondary beneficiary are the siblings or other relatives of the deceased individual. They will be seeking to file a survival action to recover damages for the estate.
    When there is a situation where there is either no primary beneficiary, or no primary beneficiary willing to come forward, then a secondary beneficiary may file both a wrongful death and a survival action on behalf of both the primary and secondary beneficiaries. A primary beneficiary may also file a survival action in a wrongful death case.

Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

Some of the damages a person can expect to file a wrongful death or survival claim for are the following:

  • Survival Claim: Funeral expenses, medical bills, and anything else relating to the estate itself, including pain and suffering of the deceased in connection to their death.
  • Wrongful Death Claim: Loss of consortium and loss of income, and anything else directly relating to what the immediate family has now lost because of their family member’s death.
    An experienced wrongful death attorney will assist anyone in determining which claim to file, how to file, and what to expect throughout the process.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

There is a statute of limitations for Maryland and Washington D.C. wrongful death claims. All claims must be filed within three years of the family member’s death, whether by a primary or secondary beneficiary. Virginia’s statute of limitations is two years. A highly skilled wrongful death lawyer can help expedite the process, particularly when everything is still new. It can be difficult for family members to know where to turn or how to proceed.

Contact an Attorney

The death of a loved one is an incredibly difficult time. When it is a wrongful death, it is even more difficult. Contact Malloy Law Offices today for a free consultation with a highly skilled Maryland wrongful death attorney. They will go over the facts of the case and fight tirelessly for the justice you and your loved one deserve.