Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

 

Unfortunately, sometimes a person is killed as a result of another’s negligent actions.  If you are the family member of an individual who has been killed by another’s negligence, there are remedies available to provide you with compensation.  Of course no amount of compensation is going to bring back your loved one, or provide a substitute for having them in your life.  The loss of a loved one often presents not only emotional hurdles, but financial ones as well.  The law is designed to at least provide some economic relief when an individual is negligent in causing the death of another person.

  A wrongful death claim differs from a survival action based on who can bring the claim and its purpose.  A wrongful death claim is designed to provide a remedy for persons who have lost a loved one as a result of another’s negligence.  A survival action may be brought on behalf of the estate of a decedent for any action which they could have pursued, but for their death, typically for conscious pain and suffering that preceded death.  In cases involving accidental death, such as a car accident, these two claims may co-exist.  The survivor may pursue a wrongful death claim while the estate may bring a survival action. 

  A Maryland wrongful death claim exists because the legislature has passed a statute allowing the claim.  The following elements must be proven to prevail on a claim for wrongful death:

  (1)      death;

  (2)      proximately caused by the negligence of the defendant;

  (3)      resulting in damages to person(s) listed in the statute;

  Generally a party has three years from the death of the person to file suit; however in some cases additional time may be permitted.

  A wrongful death claim may be brought by the spouse, parent, or child of the deceased person.  If there is no person who qualifies in these roles, another person who was related to or substantially dependent on the deceased person may make a claim. 

  A wrongful death claim is brought for the benefit of the decedent’s survivors.  A survival action is brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, to recover on behalf of the decedent, and for the estate, damages, such as pain and suffering, sustained by the decedent prior to his or her death.  The beneficiaries of a claim for wrongful death may or may not be the same as the beneficiaries of a survival action.  It depends on whether the decedent had a will and if so who the beneficiaries were.

  Wrongful death claims may compensate the plaintiff for financial loss, but may also cover things such as loss of consortium, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance and education.   

  Generally, an action for wrongful death must be brought within three years of the death of in the injured person.  Where the death is caused by exposure to toxic substances in the workplace, the action may be brought within ten years of the death or three years after the cause of death is discovered, whichever is shorter.

  As mentioned above, a survival action is designed to provide recovery for the deceased victim of another’s negligence.  In other words, it is brought, on behalf of someone who has died, for pain and suffering that occurred following a negligent act, but before the death.  In order to successfully prove a survival claim, the plaintiff must show: (a) that the defendant’s negligence was the direct and proximate cause of the decedent’s injuries; (b) that the decedent lived following the injuries; and (c) that between the time of injury and the time of death, the decedent experienced conscious pain.

  Even a short period of time can be enough for the decedent to experience conscious pain.  Compensation can also be attained for pre-impact fright suffered by the deceased.   

 

The information contained on this page is provided as general information and does not constitute legal advice.  The experienced attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. can assist you if you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another.  Contact our office to schedule a no-obligation consultation to review your rights.  There is never a consultation fee for claims involving personal injury or wrongful death.

 

 

The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

 

 

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Our Attorneys

Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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