Losing a loved one due to a tragic event such as a motor vehicle or other type of accident can be devastating, particularly when the accident is caused by the negligence or recklessness of someone else’s actions.
Many people’s lives are never the same afterward, and the consequences can last a lifetime. Aside from the loss of companionship and the emotional distress, losing a loved one may result in a reduction in household income or financial support.
Primary and secondary beneficiaries
Before pursuing compensation for wrongful death, it is important to learn if you meet the legal requirements to file a wrongful death claim. Under Maryland law, the following people may sue for wrongful death of the deceased victim:
These people are called primary beneficiaries. There are some exceptions to this law. For example, a parent may not file a wrongful death claim, or receive wrongful death proceeds, if they are convicted of, or committed, certain criminal acts. Additionally, a child may not recover wrongful death benefits if the child caused the wrongful death of the parent.
If no primary beneficiaries exist, secondary beneficiaries may file the wrongful death lawsuit. A secondary beneficiary is defined as anyone who is related to the deceased victim by blood or marriage and who was substantially dependent on the victim.
Help with establishing your case
Once you’ve confirmed that you meet the requirements to file a wrongful death claim, your next step is to prove your case. A court examines various elements to determine if wrongful death is established.
A wrongful death action takes place in civil court, so the elements and burden of proof differ than cases brought in criminal court. Attorneys can help with building a case and advising you on the types of wrongful death damages you may qualify for.