Fatalities Arising from Car Accidents
As many drivers already understand, sustaining one or more injuries in an automobile or other motor vehicle-related road accident is almost assured, especially at highway speeds or when a commercial truck is involved. Roadway accidents are reported on almost daily here in the Baltimore area on the evening news or in the daily newspapers. As deadly and unwelcome as car, truck and motorcycle wrecks can be, they are also rather commonplace as occurrences on Maryland roadways in and around cities like Annapolis, Bowie, and Frederick, MD, as well as over in the District.
Being motorists ourselves, the professional legal staff at the Law Offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, spends a fair amount of time behind the wheel on Maryland’s beltways and surface streets. Each of us has, at one time or another viewed the aftermath of a serious highway wreck, urban collision or pedestrian accident. While most people are not usually subjected to the volume of auto accident news and information that personal injury lawyers and police officers may be, one thing is certain: When a car, truck or motorcycle crash results in bodily injury, the results can be tragic. When people are hurt or killed in car crashes, the responsible party should be held accountable for the damages resulting from that collision.
While not nearly as common as injury accidents, fatal roadway collisions make a frequent appearance on TV and in the news. As attorneys practicing personal injury law, the staff at Lebowitz & Mzhen is quick to point out that being a cautious motorist is one of the more important ways in which a driver can avoid the tragic results of a car, truck or motorcycle accident. Any individual who wishes to avoid being hurt or killed on Maryland roadways would be well advised to maintain a constant awareness of the surrounding traffic situation and exercise a modicum of care when sharing the road with others.
Unfortunately, even the most careful driver can find himself in a situation where a traffic accident is unavoidable. And while we do not wish a fatal car or commercial trucking accident on anybody, there are instances when a family member may have been killed as a result of the negligent actions of another motorist. In cases where an accident victim has died at the scene of a road accident, or passed away hours later in the hospital, the family of the deceased victim may consider speaking with a qualified auto accident lawyer regarding a wrongful death lawsuit.
Quite often, what seems like an innocent mistake or lapse in judgment on the part of one driver is actually the result of a conscious decision or deliberate action. Whether directly or indirectly related to the death of the victim, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney well-versed in handling auto accident cases. The lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen are skilled trial attorneys who know Maryland injury law and understand the pain and suffering that a fatal automobile accident can inflict on a victim’s family.
In cases of a wrongful traffic-related death here in Maryland, state law allows the victim’s surviving family members to file a lawsuit against the other driver on their own behalf. Typically these types of claims seek to compensate members of the victim’s family for the loss of the victim's life, as well as his or her love, companionship and financial support. The claim is usually based on what the family would have expected had the victim survived and lived a full, productive life.
At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we know that the law provides for only certain individuals to file a claim of wrongful death against another party. Those who are permitted to file such a lawsuit are referred to as beneficiaries of the wrongful death claim. Under Maryland’s legal statutes, a child, parent or spouse of a deceased victim are the only ones allowed to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible person or entity. In cases where there are no surviving beneficiaries, the law provides for a secondary beneficiary, though this is allowed only under certain specific circumstances.
While a wrongful death lawsuit can never bring back the person lost to a tragic fatal car accident, nor can it truly compensate the family for the permanent loss of a loved one, the law does provide for some financial relief and occasionally a modicum of emotional closure when the negligent party is finally held accountable for his or her actions. As experienced personal injury lawyers, Lebowitz & Mzhen legal staff understands how important this can be to the grieving family members following the death of a child, parent or spouse.
Damages in a wrongful death claim can be greatly contested depending on the circumstances of the fatal car accident and other important facts in the case. Maryland’s legal statutes relating to wrongful death suits are specific when it comes to economic and non-economic damages. Under the proper circumstances, a claim can include lost earnings, on which there is no statutory cap. It is not uncommon for the awards in wrongful death lawsuits to be quite large depending on the victim’s earning power at the time of his or her death.
But while economic damages in can be large, due to the lack of a cap, the non-economic damages in a wrongful death case are limited by law. This means that the amount of money a family may be awarded for intangibles such as lost companionship, love and emotional support can be limited. Another kind of lawsuit that can be filed following a fatal car accident is referred to as a “survival action.” This is a legal claim brought by the victim's estate on behalf of the victim and it is designed to compensate the deceased person’s estate for the pain suffered while the victim was dying up to the moment of death.
Whether a loved one is killed due to the actions of a distracted commercial truck driver or a passenger car driver talking on his or her cellphone, the decision to sue for damages as part of a wrongful death case should be discussed with a qualified personal injury lawyer skilled in Maryland injury law and experienced in traffic accident cases.
Lebowitz & Mzhen have represented numerous Maryland residents who have been injured in automobile and trucking accidents, as well as helping the families of those who have perished in senseless and tragic traffic wrecks. In cases where the death occurred due to negligence, the professionals at Lebowitz & Mzhen are ready to assist victims and their families to recover costs due them under the law. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in an automobile accident, please contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You may email Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen; or call toll-free at (800) 654-1949.