The unexpected death of a loved one is never an easy thing to process. The emotional suffering from a situation like that can stick with those close to the deceased for the rest of their lives. The fact that their death may have been completely preventable can make it feel even more devastating. Depending on the circumstances, another person, company, or entity could be held responsible for the death of a loved one regardless of their intention. In that scenario, it is important to know who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim as well as how the process works in the state of Maryland. If someone close to you has recently passed away due to the actions of another party, reach out to a Landover wrongful death lawyer at Judy Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.
What is the process for filing a wrongful death claim in Maryland?
Maryland law typically defines wrongful death as a death resulting from an act, neglect, or default including a felonious act which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued. What this means is that wrongful death claims function very similarly to personal injury lawsuits, with one of the key distinctions being the victim does not have the ability to file their own claim. When this is the case, eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit is usually reserved for the spouse, children, parents, and chosen personal representative, often referred to as the executor, of the decedent’s estate. However, while most states do not allow other relatives that do not fall under any of these categories to file a claim, Maryland has an exception to this rule. If no one else who belongs in these groups survives the deceased, any biological relative financially dependent on the decedent will become eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Another similarity between personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death claims is that the statute of limitations for both of them is three years from the incident. Although, when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, the period of time to file a claim can depend on certain circumstances. For example, if the cause of death was due to an occupational disease, anyone who is eligible would have to file a suit within 10 years of the date of death. This can vary depending on when the occupational disease was discovered as the cause of death. Based on when it was identified, the claim would have to be filed within three years of its discovery. It should also be noted that a skilled lawyer with experience in wrongful death claims will be needed throughout the process.