Columbia Wrongful Death Attorneys
Portner & Shure, P.A. Is Here for You & Your Family
The death of a loved one causes indescribable grief for their family. This loss is made even worse with the knowledge that a loved one experienced pain and anguish in the moments leading up to their death. The Maryland wrongful death statute provides families with a mechanism to obtain compensation for their loss. Due to the high stakes surrounding a given wrongful death case, it is important that you obtain representation from a fearless Columbia wrongful death attorney who can help you pursue justice. At Portner & Shure, P.A., we have been successfully representing the families of those wrongfully killed in Howard County for over 25 years. We are here to answer your questions and provide you with the compassionate, personalized legal guidance you need. We know that this is an extremely challenging time in your life; let us help you navigate it.
To share your story with our team and learn how we can help, call (855) 954-4141 or submit a free and confidential case evaluation form today.
Wrongful Death Claims vs. Survival Actions
In order to have a viable wrong death case, the deceased individual must have had grounds to file their own personal injury claim against the person responsible for their death had they lived. For example, in a car accident resulting in an individual’s death, the deceased individual would have been able to sue the other driver had they lived.
In any wrongful death case, there are actually two claims:
- Survival Actions: A survival action is asserted by the family members on behalf of the deceased person through their estate. In the eyes of the law, the “family” includes a child, spouse, or parent. In a survival action, the family is seeking compensation for the pain and suffering that the deceased person experienced prior to their death. Additionally, the family is also entitled to compensation for expenses surrounding the death of the deceased individual, such as funeral and medical expenses.
- Wrongful Death Actions: A pure wrongful death action is a claim made by the individual family members. In a wrongful death action, the surviving family members are seeking compensation for the loss of companionship, consortium, income, and support that they received from the deceased.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death claims often occur due to another person’s negligence.
A wrongful death often occurs as a result of:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Industrial accidents
- Product liability
Wrongful death cases are often legally and factually complex. Accordingly, insurance companies spend vast sums of money defending these claims.
Damages & Caps on Wrongful Death Claims in Maryland
Maryland allows personal injury victims to claim economic and non-economic damages. In a wrongful death case, claims for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of income are considered economic damages. A claim for loss of companionship, consortium, grief, and the pain and suffering the deceased endured prior to their death are considered non-economic damages.
Maryland state law limits the amount of money that can be recovered for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. With regards to economic damages, there are no limits.
Litigation & Defenses to Wrongful Death Claims
As previously stated, in order to have a viable wrongful death case, the deceased individual must have had grounds to file their own personal injury claim against the person responsible for their death. In any personal injury case in Maryland, including a wrongful death claim, the person bringing the claim must prove all elements of a claim by a preponderance of the evidence, i.e., 51%.
Accordingly, any defenses available in personal injury claims are available in wrongful death claims. In order to understand this, a brief examination of Maryland’s contributory negligence doctrine is required.
Maryland is one of four states that continues to follow the defense doctrine of contributory negligence. Under this doctrine, if a victim is deemed to have acted negligently, and their negligence contributed to their injuries, they are precluded from recovering anything. Stated more clearly, a victim must be completely blameless in order to recover compensation. In a wrongful death case, if the deceased did something that contributed to their death, their estate and their family are precluded from recovering.
Another defense often asserted in wrongful death cases is causation. In such defenses, the at-fault party is arguing that, while they were negligent, their act of negligence did not cause the deceased’s death. For example, if a deceased individual was suffering from a prior medical condition, the other party may argue that the prior medical condition was the cause of death.
How Our Firm Can Help
The Columbia wrongful death attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been obtaining excellent results for wrongful victims in Howard County and throughout Maryland for over 25 years. Our reputation for excellence can be seen in the numerous awards our firm has earned, as well as the many five-star reviews our attorneys have received from past clients. Additionally, insurance companies are well-aware of our reputation and our litigation skills in the courtroom.
We offer all of our personal injury and wrongful death representation on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no fees unless we secure compensation for you. Additionally, we offer free initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose in reaching out to our legal team.
Give us a call at (855) 954-4141 or submit an online contact form to request your free and confidential consultation today.