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Overview of Maryland Wrongful Death Law

As leading Maryland personal injury lawyers, we are often asked to explain Maryland law regarding wrongful death lawsuits.

Generally, a wrongful death claim is brought by a surviving spouse, child or parent. A Survival claim is brought by the personal representative of an estate.

To recover for a Wrongful Death cause of action, plaintiff must prove: 1) death; 2) negligence of the defendant; and 3) defendant’s negligence proximately caused death of decedent. Weimer v. Hetrick, 309 Md. 536, 547 (1987). In addition to the elements set out by case law, the Wrongful Death statute provides that the plaintiff must be within a category of defined beneficiaries under the statute and the claim must be brought within the applicable time period, 3 years after death of decedent. Md. Cts & Jud. Proc. Art. § 3-904.

To recover for a Survival cause of action, plaintiff must prove: 1) defendant’s negligence was direct and proximate cause of decedent’s injuries; 2) decedent lived after the injury; and 3) between time of injury and time of death, decedent experienced conscious pain. Tri-state Poultry Coop. v. Carey, 190 Md. 116, 125 (1948).

For further information, please contact the Maryland personal injury lawyers at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin and White.