There is nothing quite as tragic as the unexpected passing of a loved one. No matter how old or young, a sudden death is shocking to family and friends alike. Little can be done to ease the grief of family members who have lost one of their siblings, children or parents, but this is not to say that -- in the case of a negligence-related auto or trucking accident -- the party(s) responsible for that individual’s death should not be held legally accountable for their carelessness.
As personal injury attorneys handling cases in Maryland and the District of Columbia, the professionals at the law offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, can fully understand the grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one in a fatal trucking-related traffic wreck. Although serious injuries resulting from a bad highway or beltway crash can affect a person for months or years to come, not to mention leave the victim with chronic pain possibly for a lifetime, a fatal crash is so much more permanent and emotionally painful for the victim’s family.
Wrongful death claims can be one way for a victim’s loved ones to achieve closure, at least in terms of seeing the negligent party held financially responsible for their loved one’s demise. Considering the randomness of many fatal road accidents -- leaving with no time for “goodbyes,” but only the empty void of the loved one’s absence -- family and friends of the victim are often left with only grief at their loss and anger toward the responsible party.
Wrongful death statutes here in Maryland and other states as well came about for the most part because negligent parties involved in fatal accidents could not be sanctioned for their actions. What this meant was even though a person who was injured in a negligence-related accident, such as a traffic collision, was legally within his or her rights to file a lawsuit against the party(s) whose actions caused them physical harm, the same was not true of deceased victims. That is, those individuals who died as a result of another party’s negligent actions or behavior could not, by virtue of their not being alive, file a lawsuit against the responsible individual. With the advent of wrongful death laws, victims’ families (as defined by statute) may file suit on their own behalf.
Multiple scenarios can be cited where the family of a person killed in a traffic accident -- such as a motorcycle, automobile or commercial trucking wreck -- has the right under Maryland law to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party(s). Defendants in such wrongful death cases can range from a negligent motorist or truck driver to an automotive parts manufacturer or distributor. Regardless of whether a fatal trucking collision may be due to careless vehicle operation on a trucker’s part; failure of a defective truck or trailer component, which contributed to the fatal crash; or poorly loaded/secured cargo that shifted and resulted in loss of vehicle control, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen are ready and willing to provide legal representation for victims and their families.
In Maryland, the state’s Wrongful Death Statute covers cases of death resulting from a negligent act on someone’s part. Legally speaking, these types of lawsuits are brought by the victim's family on their own behalf and typically seek to compensate members of the victim’s family for his or her loss of life, as well as the loss of the deceased individual's love and companionship. Furthermore, many wrongful death claims involve recovering damages in the form of long-term financial support that the victim’s family could have expected had the victim not died as a result of the alleged negligence.
It is important to point out that Maryland law only allows certain people to file a wrongful death claim. Known as the "beneficiaries" of a wrongful death suit, these specific individuals include the victim’s spouse, parent or child. If there are no surviving beneficiaries, as stated, then occasionally a secondary beneficiary may be able to recover damages, but only under a limited set of circumstances. As Baltimore trucking accident attorneys, Lebowitz & Mzhen knows that retaining a qualified personal injury expert can help victims’ families to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
It goes without saying that an experienced legal professional should understand the law and how to use it to the best advantage of his or her client. For instance, in the area of wrongful death, an adult-aged child (21 years and over) may bring a wrongful death claim against another party who is believed to have caused the death of that individual’s parent. Similarly, a parent has the legal right to file a wrongful death claim following the death of his or her child, even in situations where the child was 21 years or older.
There are many facets to Maryland personal injury law that must be considered when deciding whether a wrongful death claim is justified. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, our legal team has the training and courtroom experience to guide families through the legal process. As experienced trial attorneys with a strong background in auto, trucking and motorcycle injury accident cases, we have the skills to assist those families who have lost a loved one at the hands of a reckless motorist, careless trucker, or other negligent third party. Please contact us by phone (800-654-1949), or email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.