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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Author: Portner & Shure

The loss of a family member is a heartbreaking and difficult experience. Even worse is if their death was caused by the carelessness or negligence of another. The unexpected death of a loved one can create a significant amount of emotional pain for the surviving family members, especially if the deceased was the head of the household or the primary means of financial support. Fortunately, in these difficult times, a wrongful death claim can be filed to help surviving family members receive compensation for the loss.

At Portner & Shure, our experienced attorneys understand the sensitive nature of this type of case. Our team has years of knowledge and experience to help you hold the responsible party liable and pursue the fair compensation your family deserves. Wrongful death cases were created as a legal way to exact retribution when the death of a loved one is caused by the legal fault of another individual or entity. While these cases can be complicated, our lawyers will help guide you through the entire process to lessen the burden during this difficult time.

Because we practice in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., there are specific rules in each state for who can file a wrongful death claim. In the sections below we will briefly outline who can file the claim and what damages may be recovered in each state.

Maryland Wrongful Death

In Maryland, there are specific rules for who can file a wrongful death claim. Primary beneficiaries including spouse, parents, and children can file a wrongful death claim, survival claim, or both. If there are no primary beneficiaries, secondary beneficiaries including siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews, and other relatives may file.

Damages awarded in Maryland may include:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage costs
  • Damages for the deceased’s pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of deceased companionship and guidance

Virginia Wrongful Death

In Virginia, statutory beneficiaries may file the wrongful death claim and include the deceased’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and any relative who lived with the deceased or is entitled to inherit the deceased’s estate.

Damages awarded in Virginia include:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Value of lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, support
  • Emotional pain and anguish
  • Punitive damages

Washington, D.C. Wrongful Death

In Washington, D.C., a personal representative of the deceased’s estate must file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving spouse or domestic partner. If none exists, then the next of kin such as children, parents, or siblings may file the wrongful death claim.

Damages awarded in Washington, D.C. include:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of companionship, support, and care

There is a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in each state. For Virginia and Washington, D.C. the claim must be filed within two years of the deceased’s date of death and in Maryland, the claim must be filed within three years date of the death.

If you’ve recently lost a family member due to the negligence of another person or entity, please contact us today for a free consultation at (855) 954-4141. We serve clients throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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