Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one is devastating. That grief is compounded if your loved one's death was preventable.
A wrongful death lawsuit can hold a negligent or malicious party accountable if they caused or contributed to a loved one's death.
The wrongful death attorneys of Greenblatt & Veliev, LLC can help. Set up a free case review at our law office in Rockville, MD.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In the state of Maryland, the surviving spouse, parents, or children of the deceased are allowed to file a wrongful death case. If none of those parties are living, the blood relatives of the deceased person or those related to the decedent by marriage can file a wrongful death case if they were substantially dependent on the deceased.
If you wonder if you're eligible to seek compensation under Maryland's wrongful death laws, our attorneys can provide answers.
The Statute of Limitations Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit
In the state of Maryland, there is a three-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death or personal injury claim. Once that timeframe has passed, you won't be able to seek legal action save for rare exceptions. (See our wrongful death FAQ at the bottom of this page to learn about the exception.) It's imperative that you contact our lawyers as soon as possible to get your case moving.
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The loss of a loved one can be devastating. While legal action may not be on your mind at the moment, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you cover funeral expenses, related medical bills, and the pain and suffering caused by untimely passing.
Do you live in Frederick or nearby? To discuss your loss with a wrongful death attorney, contact our law firm today. You can also call our Rockville personal injury office to set up a complimentary legal consultation.
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Proving Wrongful Death in a Civil Lawsuit What Needs to Be Established
Duty of Care
Duty of care means that another party is expected to act reasonably in order to prevent someone else from being injured. In the most basic example, this could mean a driver following basic traffic laws to avoid causing a car accident.
Breach of Duty of Care
A breach in one's duty of care means that they failed to act responsibly in order to prevent harm. In medical malpractice cases, this could mean the failure of a physician or pharmacist to note allergies or contraindications with medication before implementing treatment.
Cause and effect are key in proving wrongful death. The case must demonstrate that a person's breach of duty of care directly caused a person's death. Evidence such as medical records, accident reports, and witness testimony can help show causation.
With all of the above established, a personal injury lawyer can then outline the damages related to the loss of a loved one. The different losses a household has experienced will help determine the amount being sought in legal compensation.
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Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action What Is the Difference and Why It Matters
Wrongful death actions are brought against a negligent party by the surviving family members of the deceased. This allows the family of the deceased to sue for the loss of their loved one.
Damages sought in a wrongful death lawsuit cover the emotional anguish caused by the loss, the loss of companionship, and loss of support to the household.
Survival actions, by contrast, focus on the suffering a lost loved one experienced prior to their death. In that regard, the focus of a survival action is similar in some ways to a personal injury claim.
Damages sought in a survival action cover medical bills prior to death, property damage from the fatal incident, and the decedent's pain and suffering.
Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths
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Speak With Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Request a Free Initial Consultation
During a free consultation with our wrongful death lawyers, we'll review the circumstances of the fatal accident and help you understand what steps you should take next. While the current situation may feel overwhelming, you can count on our lawyers to listen patiently and provide compassionate insight. Contact Greenblatt & Veliev, LLC in Rockville today. We're happy to help our neighbors in Frederick and surrounding areas.
Wrongful Death FAQ
Should I file a wrongful death lawsuit or a survival action?
Generally, your relationship to the deceased person will determine if you should file a wrongful death claim or a survival action. Family members and financial dependents will often file a wrongful death claim while an executor for the deceased's estate may instead file a survival action.
When you discuss your case with our wrongful death attorneys, we'll help you determine the proper course of legal action to take.
Are there exceptions to the three-year statute of limitations?
Yes. You can file a wrongful death case after the three-year statute of limitations has passed if a loved one died as a result of an occupational disease.
The term "occupational disease" refers to a condition that develops as a result of toxic exposure at the workplace while a person was employed. An example is mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure at a work site.
In cases of wrongful death due to occupational disease, the following statute of limitations applies:
- Within 10 years from the date of death, or
- Within 3 years that the occupational disease was identified, whichever comes first
Is there a cap on damages in wrongful death lawsuits?
Yes. Maryland does have a cap on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases. As of 2023, the cap on non-economic damages in wrongful death claims is $935,000 for a single beneficiary. The cap increases annually by $15,000 on October 1st.
The presence of multiple beneficiaries and the circumstances of a wrongful death can affect non-economic monetary awards. Our Rockville wrongful death lawyers can discuss these matters in more detail as the litigation process unfolds.
Why are punitive damages rarely awarded?
While it may seem like punitive damages would be common in wrongful death claims, they are still quite rare. Before juries can award punitive damages, the state of Maryland requires proof of actual malice, rather than just gross negligence.
Proving malice in the death of a loved one can be quite difficult. When reviewing your case, our wrongful death lawyers can help parse the difference between negligence and malice and help provide perspective on what kinds of damages are worth pursuing during the wrongful death lawsuit.
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