When someone is at fault for a loved one’s death in Maryland, surviving family members can typically file a wrongful death case against them. If the case settles successfully, it will help the family recover from the various financial and abstract losses accrued due to their loved one’s passing.
However, you may also wonder how much a wrongful death lawsuit is worth. Will the case’s value be sufficient to compensate you fairly for all your expenses? Here are some of the factors that go into calculating your total damages.
Factors That Affect Settlement Amounts of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are four main considerations when determining the value of your wrongful death claim in Maryland:
Successful wrongful death settlements can repay you for the expenses resulting from your loved one’s passing. These typically include your funeral and burial expenses. However, the damages also account for other expenses if the deceased did not immediately die.
For example, suppose the deceased got hospitalized for a few days or went through surgeries after the incident that caused their fatal injuries. You would get compensated for the accumulated medical bills in such an instance. In addition, you could also get repaid for any wages lost during the time you or another family member had to watch over your loved one.
To get a more accurate estimate of your economic damages, you can make it a point to compile as many documents of death-related expenses as possible. These include your medical and funeral bills.
Value of the Deceased
Besides immediate death-related expenses, the court also lets you recover damages compensating for the value lost to your family and society when your loved one died. These can include:
- Your loved one’s life or health insurance coverages which you benefited from
- The loss of the goods and services rendered by your loved one’s job or business
- The support, guidance, and training they provided
- Loss of the loved one’s wages or pension
- Loss of the inheritance that would have increased if they lived
A wrongful death lawyer could work together with a financial expert in assessing your loved one’s value had they survived.
Pain and Suffering
Non-economic damages, also sometimes referred to as pain and suffering, repay you for the more intangible costs of your loved one’s passing. However, they are much more difficult to quantify compared to economic damages. In addition, the state does not have a defined rule on computing them, complicating matters.
However, one common formula used is the multiplier method. This is when your economic damages are multiplied by a particular value, usually between 1.5x to 4x or 5x. As you lost a loved one, you would likely get a higher, if not the highest, multiplier. One would argue that a death in the family would cause as much pain and suffering to someone as a severe or permanent injury.
Some forms of non-economic damages that get considered include:
- Psychological trauma
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium and companionship
Maryland does not have any damage caps on economic damages, which means there is no limit to the amount you could recover for your relevant expenses. However, the state does have non-economic damage caps.
In Maryland, the maximum amount you can receive in non-economic damages for wrongful death claims varies from year to year. Therefore, it is best to consult a lawyer to know the value of your wrongful death lawsuit before filing.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Maryland?
Wrongful death lawsuits in Maryland generally follow a three-year statute of limitations. Therefore, you only have three years from your loved one’s death to file your case. However, if their death is due to an occupational illness, you must file your lawsuit within ten years of the date of their death or three years from the discovery of the cause of death.
You must comply with this filing requirement to recover damages in your claim. The court will dismiss your case if this timeline is not followed. Getting in touch with a wrongful death attorney will ensure all time limits are met. The sooner you get started with your case, the sooner it allows your attorney an ample amount of time to adhere to all statutes.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys to Discuss Your Case’s Value Today
If you have other concerns regarding the value of a wrongful death lawsuit, you can always consult with the law office of Brown & Barron. Our wrongful death lawyers can help you better understand the relevant laws in your case. We can also use our years of legal experience to guide you through building your lawsuit, assist with pending tasks, and speak on your behalf in court.
You can get in touch with our legal team by calling us today. You may also speak with our live chat agent or send your case details on the free consultation form here. In addition, we provide 24/7 support, so feel free to contact us anytime you need legal assistance.