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Why file a wrongful death claim and who is eligible to file?

Most people have heard the words wrongful death claim, but they may not understand what this type of claim can be filed for or who is eligible to bring this type of claim to court. Simply put, a wrongful death claim may be filed when a person’s life is ended due to the negligence of someone else or their specific intent to cause harm. Maryland residents who have lost a loved one under one of these circumstances retain the right to take legal action against the person deemed responsible.

In order for a wrongful death case to be successful certain elements must exist. Two of these elements include determining if intent or negligence caused or contributed to the fatality and the ability to show that the loss resulted in harm to surviving family members, which equates to financial losses. Families who have suffered monetary losses from items such as funeral expenses, loss of income, loss of inheritance or any other expenses related to their loved one’s death may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Along with a wrongful death claim, survival actions may also be filed to seek compensation for any physical harm suffered by the decedent and to recover any expenses incurred by the victim before their death — such as medical expenses.

The loss of a loved one is, understandably, difficult to bear and can take quite an emotional toll on surviving family members, particularly if the death occurs in an unexpected or untimely manner. Having to tackle the financial consequences of this type of incident can push surviving family members to their limits. Filing a wrongful death claim may help surviving family members focus on remembering their loved one and dealing with the emotional aspects of their loss as opposed to worrying about all the financial consequences. Those eligible to file such claims include parents, spouses and children, although in some circumstances, extended family members may also be eligible.

So, why would a decedent’s surviving family members consider a wrongful death claim? This type of claim can help bring closure to a tragic family event and, if successfully litigated, can provide compensation for the current and future monetary damages encountered because of this loss. Maryland residents who find themselves in this unfortunate situation are not alone in their struggles and may take this legal action to help move past this terrible tragedy.

Source: Findlaw, “Wrongful Death: Who Can File?“, Deanne Katz, Nov. 4, 2014