Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is a profound experience, made even more difficult when it’s due to an accident or another’s actions.

Tragic events like car accidents, plane crashes, and product injuries can result in the wrongful death of a loved one. In such cases, it’s crucial to seek justice and hold the responsible parties accountable.

The loss of a loved one who provided financial support can be especially challenging.

If you lost a loved one to an accident in Maryland, contact us at Bennett & Heyman, P.A. Our attorneys have years in the courtroom and around negotiating tables. We’re here to be your voice for justice.

When a loved one’s passing leaves you with financial burdens, seeking legal action against those responsible may be necessary. This involves filing a lawsuit to prove their negligence caused the death. To succeed, you must demonstrate four key elements:

  1. The defendant owed a duty to the victim.
  2. The defendant breached that duty.
  3. The defendant’s breach caused death and other harm.
  4. The victim died, plus you must prove the other harms that were caused (known collectively as “damages”).


Keep in mind, just because someone died does not automatically mean it was someone else’s fault. The following are all typical examples of parties who might be held accountable for deaths:

  • Pilots, conductors, or drivers who were operating the vehicle in which the death occurred.
  • Other drivers who caused the accident.
  • Property owners who left unreasonable dangers on their property, such as open pits, electrical hazards, or drowning hazards that caused the accident.
  • Product manufacturers whose faulty products caused electrocution, fire, or other harm.
  • Negligent medical professionals who allowed your loved one to die in their care.
  • The person responsible for causing any other deadly accident.


Multiple parties may be responsible, allowing you to enjoin them as defendants in the wrongful death suit. For example, an airplane pilot and his coworkers may be responsible for a plane crash. However, the plane manufacturer and the engine manufacturer might also be liable. Similarly, if a doctor’s negligence leads to a patient’s death, the doctor, the hospital, and the drug company that manufactured the medication the doctor prescribed may all be liable.

In some cases, the employer of the person who caused the death may also be held liable. This is because of a legal doctrine called “respondeat superior,” which holds employers responsible for the torts of their employees committed within the scope of their employment. For example, if a truck driver causes a fatal accident while on the job, the trucking company may be held liable for the death.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or persons, you should speak to an attorney to discuss your legal options. An attorney can help you determine who is liable for your loved one’s death and can file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf.

When a loved one dies, no money can ever replace them. Some things are replaceable, however. For instance, if a parent or spouse died, you may be able to get a court to replace any of these financial losses:

  • Lost wages your loved one and your family will no longer receive
  • Lost benefits (e.g., health, dental, and vision insurance)
  • Lost inheritances your loved one would have had later in life
  • Lost investments of the deceased

In addition to the financial damages, you can also recover monetary damages to compensate for the pain and suffering your loved one faced before death, which might include the pain of the accident, treatment, and death itself.

You can also collect damages related to your own suffering as part of the deceased’s family. This includes monetary awards for things like:

  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of protection, care, advice, guidance, etc.
  • Grief counseling
  • Funeral expenses

These are expenses and mental costs suffered by the living members of the deceased’s family, and they can also be collected in a wrongful death suit.

According to Md law, only the “wife, husband, parent, and child of the deceased person” can sue for wrongful death. Code, Cts. & Jud. Pro Code § 3-904. This means that grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and siblings can not sue for wrongful death, even if the deceased was responsible for their care.

There are limits to parents being able to sue for the wrongful death of a child under certain situations, including if they have been convicted of child abuse or committed acts of abuse (without conviction).

It is also essential to remember that the vast majority of wrongful death cases must be filed within three years of the accident. The deadline may be longer for some cases of death due to workplace injuries and conditions. Always check with a lawyer about your ability to sue and the required deadlines to make sure your case gets heard by a court.

Bennett & Heyman Attorneys are Here to Help

If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, contact one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys to discuss your case at 410-421-7730.

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