Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience. It’s even more heart-wrenching when that loss is due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct. In such cases, you could be entitled to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Baltimore to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. However, seeking compensation is not always easy. That is why you need an experienced Baltimore wrongful death lawyer representing you.
If you find yourself facing the unexpected loss of a family member, here are 7 vital things you should know about wrongful death lawsuits in Baltimore.
1. What Does the Law Define as a Wrongful Death?
Start by understanding what is a wrongful death, legally speaking. Wrongful death refers to a death caused by another party’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions. These actions can include numerous situations, such as medical malpractice, car accidents, workplace accidents, and defective products. A lawsuit for wrongful death is a civil action that allows the victim’s family to seek compensation for their losses.
2. Who Can File a Wrongful Death in Baltimore?
Understandably, surviving family members want to know who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit. In Maryland, only specific individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit. They include the deceased’s spouse, parent, or child.
In cases where the deceased has no surviving immediate family members, a secondary claimant, such as a sibling, niece, or nephew, may file the lawsuit. This person must be related to the deceased by blood or marriage and show they were substantially dependent on the deceased.
3. How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Maryland?
The statute of limitations is a critical factor in wrongful death lawsuits. In Maryland, surviving family members typically have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, some exceptions may shorten or extend this period.
Failure to file within the specified timeframe may result in losing your right to seek compensation. To ensure you do not miss any deadlines, consult a wrongful death attorney in Baltimore after losing your loved one as soon as possible.
4. What Types of Compensation Are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The victim’s family can seek various damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages aim to compensate your financial and emotional losses due to the wrongful death.
Economic damages might include funeral and burial costs and loss of financial support. Non-economic damages encompass the family’s pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of parental care and guidance. Compensation for the deceased’s losses, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, etc., would fall under a separate survival action.
In limited scenarios, the court might award punitive damages to punish the responsible party for their egregious conduct and deter others from similar behavior. However, punitive damages are relatively rare in Baltimore wrongful death cases.
5. How to Prove a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Baltimore
Wrongful death lawsuits require a comprehensive investigation to establish the responsible party’s negligence or misconduct. This investigation will likely involve collecting and reviewing medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and other relevant documentation. Additionally, your attorney might consult expert witnesses to provide testimony on specific aspects of the case, such as the cause of death or the financial impact of the loss.
An experienced wrongful death attorney in Baltimore can guide you through this process, ensuring you have the necessary evidence to build a strong case. You need a strong case because the defense will vigorously refute your claim.
The defendant’s insurance adjuster or attorney might argue that the deceased somehow contributed to their death. This argument is crucial because Maryland is one of the few remaining states that follow the outdated legal theory of contributory negligence. That means your family will not recover any compensation if the deceased was even 1% at fault for the incident or accident. The adjuster may also attempt to minimize the value of your claim. They might dispute the damages sought or question the extent of your losses.
You need a skilled wrongful death attorney in Baltimore who can anticipate these tactics and develop compelling counterarguments. Otherwise, you could lose the case, and your family will not receive any compensation.
6. Be Cautious When Speaking with the Defendant’s Insurance Company
As mentioned, the defendant’s insurance company plays a significant role in resolving a wrongful death claim. You must be very cautious about what you say, or the insurance company will try to use it against you. Refrain from providing recorded statements or signing any documents before consulting your attorney.
7. How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take to Resolve?
While most personal injury cases resolve long before trial, assume your case might go to trial. Every case is unique, so the time it takes to resolve will vary. A competent wrongful death attorney in Baltimore can help negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, fighting for your family to receive a fair settlement.
A trial involves presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and making persuasive arguments to convince the jury of the defendant’s liability. A knowledgeable and experienced wrongful death attorney in Baltimore can effectively represent your interests in court. This can increase your chances of a favorable outcome sooner rather than later.
Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can be emotionally challenging for your family. The legal process may require reliving the tragic events surrounding the death and confronting the responsible party. It’s essential to have a robust support system in place, including friends, family members, and professional counselors, to help you navigate the emotional aspects of the case.
A compassionate wrongful death attorney in Baltimore can also provide guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring that you are treated with empathy and respect while pursuing justice for your loved one.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Baltimore
Seeking justice through a wrongful death lawsuit in Baltimore can be daunting. Understanding the vital aspects of such cases, from eligibility and deadlines to potential damages and the role of insurance companies, is critical to ensuring the best possible outcome for your claim.
You can confidently navigate this complex legal process by working with a skilled, experienced wrongful death attorney in Baltimore.
At Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, LLC, we recognize this is a terrible time for your family. If you want to pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties, we’ll be there for you every step of the way. With years of experience successfully representing surviving family members, we know what it takes to build a winning case.
Contact our office today to learn more and schedule an initial consultation.