Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland?

By Harold Dwin on October 24, 2023 | In Personal Injury

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The sudden loss of a loved one can completely upend a family’s life. Not only must they suffer through the painful emotions of shock and grief, but they may also endure overwhelming financial repercussions. Funeral costs can be expensive for families on a limited budget. Furthermore, they may have depended on their lost loved one’s income for financial support.

A Maryland wrongful death action could recover compensation for the financial and other losses you have endured. But who can sue for wrongful death in Maryland? Understanding wrongful death claim eligibility and family members’ legal rights can help you know what steps to take at this difficult time.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

A successful wrongful death claim in civil court can hold the party responsible for your loved one’s death accountable for their careless actions. While no legal process can bring your loved one back, attaining justice can be helpful in the grieving process. Furthermore, it can help you make up for the financial ground you have lost due to your loved one’s passing.

Wrongful death compensation can include money for:

  • Funeral costs and medical expenses
  • Lost financial contributions for dependents
  • Mental anguish, pain, and suffering
  • Loss of companionship, care, counsel, guidance, and education
  • Loss of marital, parental, or filial care

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?

In Maryland, a death is wrongful if it was caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. The injuries that resulted from those actions must have made the deceased individual entitled to pursue a personal injury claim if they had survived. Some common causes of wrongful death claims include:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents 
  • Defective products
  • Premises liability
  • Homicide 

Eligible Parties for Filing a Maryland Wrongful Death Claim

Maryland wrongful death laws and regulations recognize certain survivors’ right to file wrongful death claims:

Spouse’s Right to File a Claim

In Maryland, a deceased person’s surviving spouse can file a wrongful death lawsuit. They can seek compensation for losing their spouse’s love, companionship, household services, and financial support.

Children’s Eligibility and Rights

If the deceased person had surviving minor children, they also have legal standing to file wrongful death suits. They can recover damages for losing their parent’s support, guidance, nurturing, and companionship. Adult children may also be able to file a claim in some cases.

Parents’ Standing in Wrongful Death Case

If the deceased person did not have a spouse or children, their surviving parents may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

Siblings and Extended Family Members

In rarer cases, siblings, grandparents, or other family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This situation is more common if they were financially dependent on the deceased person or lost a caregiver.

The Role of Executors in Filing Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In many states and the District of Columbia, the executor of the decedent’s estate has the sole authority to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Maryland law, however, any of the above-mentioned legal parties in wrongful death cases have the right to file a suit themselves.

Contact the Wrongful Death Attorneys at Cohen & Dwin, P.A.

If you have lost a close relative due to another party’s negligence or intentional actions, we at Cohen & Dwin, P.A., offer our deepest condolences. We understand that you are going through a challenging time, and we want to help make things easier for you. With over 100 years of combined experience helping survivors attain justice, we are ready to stand up for your rights and work to secure the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Attorney Harold Dwin

Attorney Harold P. Dwin, co-founder of Baltimore premier law firm Cohen & Dwin, P.A., is proud to be able to help clients in need by simplifying complex legal matters and solving legal problems that cause immeasurable stress.