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Wrongful Death

There are two types of claims to consider when a loved one dies as a result of another’s negligence. The names are misleading, but it makes sense: Wrongful Death Claim and Survival Action Claim.

Wrongful Death Claim

The first claim is the wrongful death claim, which is made by the surviving relatives of the deceased. Under the Maryland Wrongful Death Statute, the family is permitted to recover for economic damages, such as lost wages and the services the deceased would have provided. The family may also recover damages for their pain and suffering associated with losing a loved one.

Survival Action Claim

The other claim associated with the death of a loved one is the survival action. This too is a product of statute, and is a claim made by the decedent’s estate. The survival action is the claim that the decedent could have made if he had not died. This includes the medical expenses prior to death, any lost wages prior to death, and pain and suffering from the time the decedent was injured to the time of death. To make a successful claim for pain and suffering in a survival action, the estate must show that the decedent was conscious and aware between the time of the injury and the time of death. The funeral expenses are also part of the survival action.

When a person dies as a result of another’s negligence, whether it is a motor vehicle collision, medical malpractice, or some other claim, the family should look into both wrongful death and survival actions.

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