Understanding Wrongful Death vs. Survival Actions in Maryland

When a loved one unexpectedly passes away because of an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and at a loss for what to do next. Although the path to healing is a long and complicated one for all who are involved, understanding the legal avenues you have available to you can be crucial for finding closure and receiving the compensation you and your loved ones deserve after an accident.

According to a recent local news report, Maryland State Police are investigating a multiple-vehicle crash that killed a local man and injured a pedestrian. Based on a press release from local authorities, troopers responded to a report of an accident involving five separate vehicles and a pedestrian at around 3:00 AM. A preliminary investigation found that a Dodge rear ended a Chevrolet, which led to a separate driver stopping his vehicle on the shoulder to assist with the accident. A Nissan then also crashed into the Dodge and hit the pedestrian. Separately, a Chevrolet also stopped at the scene before being struck by a GMC. The driver of the second Chevrolet was pronounced dead at the hospital. Local police are continuing to investigate the accident.

In Maryland, like other states, there are specific laws governing legal avenues for accidental deaths and compensation for these losses. Maryland defines wrongful death as one stemming from “an act, neglect, or default including a felonious act which would have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.” In simpler terms, this means that if the deceased could have brought a lawsuit against the at-fault party if they had survived the accident, then their relatives and loved ones have the standing to bring a claim upon their passing.

Maryland has two types of claims that can be brought by loved ones: a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action. Deciding which one to file depends on who is bringing the lawsuit and the compensation that the claimant is seeking to recover.

Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by relatives of the deceased, which include spouses, parents, or children of the deceased. If no one qualifies into these categories, the wrongful death suit can also be brought by individuals related to the deceased by blood or marriage who were substantially reliant on them. In wrongful death actions, plaintiffs are suing for compensation to rectify the harm inflicted upon them as a result of losing their loved one.

Survival actions are slightly different from wrongful death claims. In survival actions, the party suing is typically the decedent’s estate. This individual typically serves as the deceased’s personal representative and sues for compensation for the harm inflicted upon the deceased leading up to their death.

Do You Need a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you or someone you know was recently injured or killed in a Maryland car accident, contact the attorneys at The Schupak Law Firm today. Our lawyers have years of experience representing the injured and will work to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 240-833-3914.

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