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Baltimore Wrongful Death Lawyer

Baltimore wrongful death lawyerThe death of a loved one is tragic, no matter the circumstances. However, a loved one’s passing can be even more devastating if caused by a senseless and careless act. Seek justice on behalf of your dearly departed loved one by enlisting the help of a Baltimore wrongful death lawyer.

Throughout this article, we will discuss various topics related to wrongful death cases. The information provided here should prove helpful in the aftermath of the tragedy you are dealing with.

Wrongful Death Definition

What is wrongful death? Before you decide on the actions to take following the tragic passing of your close relative, you should first determine if it is indeed a case of wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil action people can file after their loved one dies due to either the negligent or intentional actions of another party. Crucially, a wrongful death action is not the same as a criminal charge.

You can bring a wrongful death action and a criminal charge against the same person. Because they are different, a defendant can be not guilty of committing the criminal offense while still being liable for the wrongful death. That can happen because the burden of proof for wrongful death lawsuits is lower than criminal charges.

Since they regard a wrongful death case as a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must be mindful of the statute of limitations if they intend to file one. In Maryland, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is three years from the day of the injured party’s passing. Hire a wrongful death attorney so you can proceed with your claim properly.

Elements of Wrongful Death

Four elements must exist in every wrongful death claim. Without these elements, your claim may not succeed in court.

Duty of Care

The first element that must exist in any wrongful death case is the duty of care. In a case where the wrongful death stemmed from a car accident, you and your Baltimore personal injury lawyer can point out that the drivers involved all owed a duty of care to each other. Product manufacturers also owe a duty of care to consumers, and medical professionals owe that same obligation to their patients.

Breach of Duty

Next, we have the breach of one’s duty. The breach is the action the guilty party commits that lead to the wrongful death. It could be a negligent act, such as distracted driving, or an intentional action, such as committing assault. In either case, they breached the duty of care, leading to the tragic occurrence.

Causation

The third element is causation. To prove that this element exists, you and your accidental death lawyer must show that the defendant’s actions directly caused the death of your loved one. You must establish causation, or else the lawsuit may fall apart.

Losses Sustained

Finally, you must prove that the wrongful death of your loved one also led to losses on your part. Examples of losses you can highlight in your lawsuit include your loved one’s medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages. The death of a relative can also be a traumatic experience. That is why many plaintiffs in wrongful death cases also receive compensation for their pain and suffering.

Types of Wrongful and Accidental Death Cases

Wrongful deaths can stem from different types of unfortunate incidents. In this part of the article, we will discuss some of the more common types of wrongful death cases.

  • Vehicular Accidents – Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are all common causes of wrongful death cases. One driver acting erratically on a Baltimore County road somewhere can cause an accident leading to lost lives. Do not give a negligent driver a pass for their foolish behavior. Instead, hold them responsible for the accident together with your accidental death attorney.
  • Defective Product Accidents – A defective product can also give rise to a wrongful death claim. For example, if a defective product causes a fire in your home and someone dies, you can hold the manufacturer accountable for what happened. The fact that they let that defective product reach the market is proof of their negligence.
  • Medical Malpractice Accidents – We put our complete trust in doctors because they have undergone years of education and training to treat the conditions that ail us. Of course, no doctor is perfect. They can still make mistakes, some of which have fatal consequences.
    Prepare to file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation in the aftermath of that terrible incident.
  • Negligent/Inadequate Security Incidents – Negligent or inadequate security can also set the stage for a wrongful death incident. For example, if a commercial establishment is not secure, a criminal could come in and fatally harm a patron. In some cases, the people tasked with providing security may be the ones endangering the people in the establishment. That is the case if a bouncer assaults one of the patrons in a Towson bar or nightclub.

What Does “Liable for Wrongful Death” Mean?

When you say that someone is “liable for a wrongful death”, that does not automatically mean that they are guilty of a more serious offense such as manslaughter or homicide. As we noted earlier, a defendant can be found not guilty of committing a crime, but they could still be ordered to provide compensation for a wrongful death lawsuit.

In that case, the court found insufficient evidence to justify the criminal charge but still regarded the civil claim as valid. Remember this during your conversations with your personal injury lawyer. Do not forget that filing a wrongful death lawsuit is still something you can do even after they dismiss the criminal charges.

What Is “Loss of Consortium” in Maryland?

“Loss of consortium” is a term you may hear your personal injury attorney use while the two of you are working on the lawsuit. So, what does that term mean? The term is used to acknowledge the loss of love and companionship that people experience following the passing of a loved one. It is an important thing to note because it can figure into the damages awarded in a personal injury claim.

Average Wrongful Death Settlement

Predicting precisely how much the settlement package will be worth in your wrongful death case is an impossible task. There are too many variables to consider, and they can all affect the final value of the settlement. That said, we can guess if your settlement will be on the higher or lower side based on a few key factors.

Among the factors to consider are the expenses that went into treating the decedent’s injuries when they were still alive. We should also consider the cost associated with laying them to rest. We also have to consider the decedent’s financial status and earning capabilities. Accounting for their age is important as well. By considering those different variables, you can determine the amount of income your family lost due to the incident.

The settlement should also acknowledge the impact that incident has on the loved ones left behind by the decedent. This is why intangible losses such as loss of consortium and pain and suffering weigh heavily in wrongful death cases. A settlement package will likely end up on the higher side if all of those variables are present in a wrongful death claim.

Notably, the worth of a settlement package may also plunge to zero if it looks like the decedent shares any blame for what happened. Because Maryland is a state that follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, they bar the side of the plaintiff from recovering damages if they share even one% of the blame.

Baltimore Crime and Inadequate Security

If you own a business like a convenience store or a gas station in Baltimore City, you need to invest heavily in security. Investing in security is a must for any commercial establishment owner; it matters even more if your business is prone to robberies. By properly securing your establishment, you can prevent a horrific incident from taking place. Doing that will also help you avoid getting served with a wrongful death lawsuit.

Also, we must acknowledge that many businesses based in Baltimore are more likely to be victimized by criminals. Neighborhood Scout’s crime index notes that Baltimore is safer than only four% of all the cities in the United States. However, the crime rates are also concerning. The violent crime rate per 1,000 residents is 16.27, while the property crime rate per 1,000 residents stands at 31.36.

As a business owner, you must spare no expense in shielding your customers from criminal activity. Avoid being hit with an inadequate security claim or possibly even a wrongful death claim by getting all the necessary security features for your business.

Maryland Wrongful Death Statute

For this section of the article, we want to highlight the specific Maryland laws that affect how wrongful death lawsuits should be handled in the state. These are the laws that your injury law firm will help you comply with to ensure that your claim will be deemed legitimate by the court.

The Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases

Earlier in this article, we mentioned that the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in Maryland is three years from the day the injured party passed away. That is the standard time limit for most wrongful death cases. However, there are different deadlines if your loved one’s death is related to an “occupational disease”.

Maryland law describes an “occupational disease” as an ailment a person contracted throughout their employment or a condition that developed as a result of their exposure to a toxic substance in their workplace. If your loved one died due to an occupational disease, you would have three years to file the lawsuit from the day you learned that the disease caused their death. The maximum time limit for a wrongful death claim caused by an occupational disease is ten years.

Reach out to a Baltimore wrongful death lawyer as soon as you discover that an occupational disease caused your loved one’s death. You will avoid exceeding the statute of limitations by acting quickly.

The Parties Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The wrongful death statute in Maryland also indicates which parties are eligible to file that lawsuit. The decedent’s spouse, children, or parents are the ones who should make that claim. If the decedent has no surviving spouse, children, or parents, a person related to them by blood or marriage can file the lawsuit. However, that person can only pursue the claim if they were “substantially dependent” on the decedent.

Baltimore Wrongful Death Law Firm

Picking up the pieces in the wake of your loved one’s death is an incredibly difficult undertaking. However, here at Leppler Injury Law, we can make that process a bit more manageable by handling your wrongful death lawsuit. Contact us today if you need help moving forward with your wrongful death claim.

Some of the locations in and around Baltimore County our wrongful death law firm serves includes Towson, Ownings Mills, Cockeysville, Lutherville-Timonium, Pikesville, and more.