There is nothing more upsetting than the wrongful death of a family member. When the wrongful death results from medical malpractice, it can be particularly devastating for the family. You may ask “who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit?” We can help you get answers to this question. If you believe you may have a wrongful death claim, contact the local wrongful death lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt Federico & Cardea today.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death, generally speaking, is a civil lawsuit in which damages are sought for causing a person’s death. Wrongful death often results from medical malpractice.
Indeed, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, anesthesia errors, medication mistakes, ER negligence and other types of medical malpractice can all result in wrongful death.
Survival Actions vs. Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
In Maryland, if a patient dies as a result of medical malpractice, a survival action and/or wrongful death lawsuit could, potentially, be filed.
Below, we discuss the differences between a survival action and a wrongful death claim.
In a survival action, the deceased’s estate can recover for damages incurred from the time of the medical malpractice until the time of the decedent’s death.
These damages include the deceased’s conscious pain and suffering, any medical bills incurred and/or funeral and burial expenses.
Essentially, a survival action compensates the decedent’s estate for the injuries suffered before he or she died.
A survival action for medical malpractice need not be filed prior to the death of the decedent.
Wrongful Death Action
Unlike a survival action, which is brought on behalf of the deceased’s estate, a wrongful death action is brought on behalf of the deceased’s legal beneficiaries.
Wrongful death beneficiaries can, potentially, recover for the grief they have experienced and continue to experience as a result of the wrongful death.
Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Suit in Maryland?
Pursuant to Maryland’s wrongful death statute, primary wrongful death beneficiaries for medical malpractice cases in Maryland include the spouse of the decedent as well as the decedent’s parents and children.
These individuals are, generally speaking, eligible to file a wrongful death suit in Maryland.
Siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are considered secondary beneficiaries and are not entitled to recover for wrongful death in Maryland medical malpractice cases unless there are no primary beneficiaries and the secondary beneficiary was “substantially dependent upon the deceased.”
If you have additional questions about the differences between survival actions and wrongful death cases and/or your eligibility to file a wrongful death suit, do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced attorneys at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt Federico & Cardea. We are here to help you.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
At Baird Mandalas Brockstedt Federico & Cardea, we are frequently asked “how are wrongful death settlements paid out?”
There are two types of damages that a wrongful death beneficiary may recover in Maryland medical malpractice cases; economic and non-economic damages.
This category of damages refers to monetary losses including past and future lost wages.
Non-economic damages for primary wrongful death beneficiaries in Maryland resulting from medical malpractice may include the beneficiary’s mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, as well as his or her loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, advice, marital care, parental care, counsel, guidance and training.
Contact our knowledgeable lawyers for more details on what wrongful death damages may be available to you.
How to Divide a Wrongful Death Settlement
The answer to the question “how to divide a wrongful death settlement” can vary due to the unique circumstances of each individual claim.
For example, a child of the deceased individual might receive more compensation than a parent because he or she was financially dependent on the deceased.
Indeed, Maryland’s wrongful death statute states that damages may be awarded to the beneficiaries proportioned to the injury resulting from the wrongful death.
Can a Sibling Sue for Wrongful Death?
As noted above, primary wrongful death beneficiaries in Maryland include spouses, parents and children of the deceased.
Siblings are not considered primary wrongful death beneficiaries and, therefore, are not eligible to recover for wrongful death unless there are no primary beneficiaries and the siblings were “substantially dependent” on the deceased.
What Is the Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
It is critical that you are aware of the time limit for filing your Maryland wrongful death claim.
If you do not file your claim before the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, or deadline, you may be precluded from pursuing the case.
According to section 3-904 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings article of the Maryland Code, wrongful death claims due to medical malpractice must be filed within three years of the death of the injured person.
If you have further questions regarding the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim for medical malpractice, contact our experienced lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt Federico & Cardea.
How Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You
Now that you know who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s time to take action. For more information as to how the Baltimore wrongful death lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt Federico & Cardea can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.
Our wrongful death lawyers have decades of experience and are ready to fight for you. We have received numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients.
James Cardea, the managing partner of our medical malpractice group, has been consistently recognized as one of Maryland’s top medical malpractice attorneys by multiple organizations as well as one of Maryland’s top 100 attorneys by Maryland Super Lawyers.