Wrongful Death of a Child
Wrongful Death Lawyers in Maryland
Recently, you have suffered the truly irreparable loss that is the loss of a child. There is no greater pain. The tragedy has completely disrupted your life. You can’t think about or focus on anything. Though you want justice against the party responsible for your child’s death, you simply have neither the energy nor the will to pursue a lawsuit. Dealing with legalities is the last thing you want to do.
The compassionate attorneys at Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC understand your reasons for not wanting to file a wrongful death claim. That is why we are offering to handle your legal matters in your stead so you can get the compensation you need to push all else aside and focus on mourning the loss of your child.
To speak with one of our dedicated legal staff, call (301) 812-4777. We are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we are ready to help.
What Is Wrongful Death?
In Maryland, a wrongful death is a death that occurred due to a wrongful act. The Court of Appeals defined a wrongful act as one that would have given the right to the deceased person to file an injury lawsuit had they lived. These can include acts of negligence or intentional acts that cause fatal injuries.
The following are some common causes of wrongful death to children in Maryland:
- Vehicle accidents – Parents take a lot of time and care to research the appropriate car seat or booster seat to make sure their children are as safe as possible in the car. Unfortunately, no matter how safe you are, you cannot control the decisions of other drivers. Aggressive drivers, distracted drivers, drunk drivers, and other negligent drivers can cause severe crashes that will change your life in an instant. No matter how good a child seat may be, some children do not survive car or truck accidents.
- Pedestrian accidents – Many children walk to school, walk to friends’ houses, or simply play outside in front of your house near the street. Even if you teach your child about pedestrian safety and crosswalks, a car can still hit them even if they are obeying all the rules. Pedestrians have no protection from an impact with a vehicle, and children can be particularly vulnerable to devastating injuries because of their small size.
- Bicycle accidents – Riding a bike is still a favorite pastime for many children. Even with the right helmet, a child can still be at risk of severe injuries if a car crashes into them while riding a bicycle. Many drivers don’t take the time to notice whether there are bicycles around them and especially small bicycles. Children can also suffer fatal injuries in bike crashes that happen due to defective bicycles or dangerous roadways.
- Daycare and school accidents – When you drop your child off at daycare or school, you should trust that the teachers and employees will take good care of your child. Some parents receive the devastating call that their child suffered fatal injuries while in the care of a daycare or school, and such injuries often occur because an employee acted negligently. Some acts of negligence that can lead to a child’s death include failing to properly supervise the child, inadequate security, dangerous premises, and more. As a child gets older and begins playing sports at school, the risk of fatal sports injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury, also increases.
- Medical malpractice – While children can be resilient, they often require medical care to treat injuries and illnesses. From the time of their conception, children rely on doctors to help them overcome health risks and thrive. Doctors and other medical professionals can commit medical malpractice in many ways that may threaten the life of a child. First of all, doctors can make mistakes during pregnancy, labor, and delivery that can cost a child’s life. Failing to identify risks or conditions in the mother or child can lead to an infant’s death. As a child grows older, doctors can make many errors, including failing to diagnose or treat conditions, surgical errors, medication errors, and more.
- Premises liability accidents – Children are precarious and like to explore their surroundings. This can be dangerous when a business or property owner fails to properly keep their premises safe for visitors or customers. Many different premises liability accidents can be fatal for children, including hotel accident, amusement park accidents, swimming pool accidents, dog bites, falls from heights, construction site accidents, playground accidents, and many more.
- Products liability accidents – Children come into contact with a wide range of products on a daily basis. From toys to furniture to home appliances to sports equipment, the risk always exists that a product will be defective and will cause tragic injuries. Baby and child products help parents immensely, though these products can also cause severe injuries if they malfunction. Car seats, high chairs, cribs, changing tables, swings, and more can result in the sudden death of a child if they are defective. Manufacturers should be held fully responsible for any losses their products caused.
- Violent acts – Perhaps the most devastating fatal incident is an act of intentional violence that lead to a child’s death. Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for children of all ages, and many parents have to face this tragic situation on a regular basis in Maryland. Whether a death occurred due to domestic abuse or by a stranger, the parents who were not involved in the homicide have the right to recover for their loss. It is important to remember that a civil case for wrongful death is an entirely separate matter from a criminal case for homicide. In fact, the standard of proof in a civil case is lower than in criminal court. This means that even if a prosecutor can’t prove a homicide beyond a reasonable doubt, you still may be able to prove a wrongful death by a preponderance of the evidence.
The above are only some accidents and incidents that can lead to a wrongful death claim. Each case is unique, so please consult with our committed attorneys to discuss your rights today.
Collecting Damages for the Wrongful Death of a Child in Maryland
In a wrongful death claim, parents can pursue compensation for their own emotional distress as well as for their child’s pain and suffering prior to death. As of October 1, 2014, the total amount for non-economic damages is capped at $1,200,000 on wrongful death claims with two or more beneficiaries in Maryland. The cap is increased by $22,500 on October 1 each year.
If the wrongful death claim involves an unmarried child between the ages of 18 and 21, the parents can pursue non-economic damages as long as the parents supported more than half of child’s income within a year of their death.
As of October 1, 2014, the total damages the child’s estate can recover for fear, pain, and suffering prior to death is capped at $800,000 in Maryland. The cap is increased by $15,000 on October 1 each year.
Since the legal analysis required to calculate non-economic damages is quite complex, it is absolutely necessary to consult with an attorney to determine the full extent of damages.
Filing Your Claim in Time
According to Section 9-304(g)(1) of the Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the date of the decedent’s death. If you fail to file your claim in time, you will completely forfeit your right to pursue compensation, no exceptions. If you file a wrongful death lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, the defendant can file a motion to dismiss the case, no matter how egregious their behavior was that caused the accident.
While three years may feel like a long time, you should always remember that it takes time to prepare a persuasive claim. Our attorneys have the resources to investigate what happened and gather evidence to support your wrongful death case. We handle every step of the process with as little stress on you as possible, so please don’t wait to call.
The sooner we can start helping you, the better, so make sure to contact a trusted lawyer ASAP to get started on your claim right away.
Our Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers are Ready to Help You in Your Time of Need
The attorneys at Alpert Schreyer Poe will handle your wrongful death claim with the utmost sensitivity and care it warrants. We will keep close communication with you every step of the way, but also remember to respect your space and privacy as desired. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to address them to us.
You can call (301) 812-4777 or submit an online contact form, and we will get back to you in prompt fashion.
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We have over 30 years of experience serving injured clients across Maryland and DC.
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