WHEATON WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS
Serving Montgomery County, Maryland for Over 25 Years
Tort law, more popularly known as “personal injury” law, is a field of law designed to provide victims or their family members with compensation for the loss they suffered as a result of the negligent actions of another individual or entity. Nowhere else does the principle of “being made whole again” come into play more so than in wrongful death cases. Wrongful death cases are often legally and factually complex matters that are powerfully defended by insurance companies. Accordingly, those who wish to pursue wrongful death lawsuits should obtain representation from an equally zealous attorney. The Wheaton wrongful death attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been successfully representing victims and families in Montgomery County for over 25 years.
To learn how we can help you with your wrongful death lawsuit, contact Portner & Shure, P.A. online or call our office at (240) 233-2801 for a free consultation.
Maryland Wrongful Death Law
In any Maryland wrongful death case, there are three parties: the at-fault person/party being sued, the victim’s family, and the victim’s estate (which is formed by the victim’s family). This is because a wrongful death case includes two claims—a survival action and a wrongful death claim. While a survival action is a claim that is made by the victim’s estate against the at-fault party, a wrongful death claim is a claim that is made by the victim’s individual family members against the at-fault party. These claims are separate and distinct.
A survival action is essentially a claim being made by the deceased victim through their estate. In a survival action, the victim’s estate is claiming damages and pain and suffering that the victim suffered prior to their death. These damages include medical expenses and funeral expenses.
A wrongful death claim is a claim made by the victim’s individual family members. The “family” includes a child, spouse, or parent. In a wrongful death claim, these family members are seeking damages for the loss of companionship, consortium, income, and support that the victim provided.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death cases arise out of the negligence of another individual or entity.
Common causes of wrongful death include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Fires and explosions
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Industrial accidents
- Dangerous property conditions
- Work-related accidents
Damages & Caps on Wrongful Death Claims
While Maryland law allows claims for economic and non-economic damages, there are caps in wrongful death claims. Specifically, Maryland law limits the amount of money that can be claimed for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. This cap increases each year. With regards to economic damages—such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of income—there is no cap.
Litigation & Defenses
For a wrongful death claim to be viable, the victim must have been able to pursue their own personal injury case against the negligent party. The concept is illustrated with the survival action. Accordingly, any defenses available in the personal injury claim are available in the wrongful death case.
There are three common defenses that are often asserted in personal injury and, by extension, wrongful death cases:
- Contributory Negligence: Maryland allows a civil defendant to assert contributory negligence as a defense. Contributory negligence is a common law defense that precludes recovery by a victim if evidence is put forth showing that the victim acted negligently and that the victim’s negligence contributed to their injuries.
- Assumption of Risk: Additionally, Maryland also allows a civil defendant to raise assumption of risk as a defense. Assumption of risk is a defense that precludes a victim from recovering. In order to succeed under this defense, the at-fault party must present proof that the victim had knowledge of the risk, appreciated the risk, and, despite knowing of the risk, undertook the risk of danger.
- Lack of Proof: Finally, another defense that is often asserted is lack of proof. Under Maryland law, a person who files a lawsuit has the burden of proving all the elements of their case by a preponderance of the evidence, i.e., 51%.
How Portner & Shure, P.A. Can Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim
For over 25 years, the attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been obtaining compensation on behalf of injured victims and the families of those wrongfully killed in Montgomery County and throughout the state of Maryland. Our reputation for excellence can be observed in the numerous awards our firm has earned, as well as the countless five-star reviews written by our past clients.
Additionally, insurance companies are well aware of our reputation and litigation skills in the courtroom. At Portner & Shure, P.A., we provide all personal injury representation on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not collect any attorneys’ fees unless we obtain a settlement or judgement on your behalf.
Request a free initial consultation with one of our Wheaton wrongful death attorneys today; call (240) 233-2801 or contact us online.
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