What You Need to Know About Maryland Wrongful Death Statutes

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Someone who has died as a result of medical malpractice, defective products or an auto accident often leaves behind a family looking how to move forward. Beyond the funeral, there is the option of pursuing a legal remedy against the alleged negligent party, with two separate claims that are worth considering.

The first is what is known as a survival action claim, and it is similar to a personal injury claim the lost relative would have filed had they been alive. It covers any pain and suffering that happened in between the injury and eventual death. Families should recognize that if a coroner deems death to have been instantaneous, then this legal route is not viable as part of a wrongful death case in Maryland. The current statutes limit the damages to $680,000 if filed by one family member, and $1.7 million if there are two or more involved in the case.

However, there are two additional damages payments that are computed differently. The wrongful death claim itself also has a cap of $680,000 and roughly $1 million for multiple plaintiffs. If a Maryland wrongful death attorney can prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the death, those damages may be awarded even if the fatality occurred instantaneously. However, the lack of a cap on the third type of damages can be significant to families.

If a parent with the primary income suffered a fatal injury, that could put the remaining family members in a severe financial bind. It’s why Maryland wrongful death attorneys also fight for economic damages. While an not a completely exact science, expert witnesses are usually called in to determine the lost wages that would have been paid to the lost parent or family member over the rest of their lifetime. The reason that it is inexact is that promotions generally occur every few years and some people retire at different ages.

The key thing to note with economic damages is that they may require the use of actuaries, the statistics analysts that insurance companies also use to determine policy rates based on age and demographic factors. Considering the financial safety at risk, choosing the right Maryland personal injury lawyer could mean the difference between being able to pay monthly bills and scrambling from week to week.

Finally, a note on medical malpractice in Maryland. Although doctors carry their own insurance policies for this, state law actually has a lower limit on damages outside of lost wages. Combined, the limit is $650,000 for a single plaintiff and just over $800,000 for two or more parties in a medical malpractice case that includes a wrongful death claim.

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