Wrongful Death

Signs or Symptoms of Abuse or Neglect

Wrongful Death

When a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act of another, it may be possible for certain surviving relatives to sue the wrongdoer and recover damages for the loss they sustained.

To pursue a wrongful death case against a health care provider your attorney will need to have the medical records reviewed by a health care provider who can establish legal causation, or proximate cause. If your loved one has died under suspicious circumstances, you may want to request an autopsy through the state coroner’s office. Often the funeral director can assist you in that process.

Depending on the state, damages will include the losses associated with the death of your loved as well as the “pecuniary” loss suffered by the relatives (i.e., the loss of financial support, expenditures on medical and funeral expenses).

Virginia – Code of Virginia § 8.01-50 addresses wrongful death claims causes by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another party.

Maryland – Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article § 3-904 – Wrongful death claims were created by this statute. In Maryland, the only “beneficiaries” who can bring an action for wrongful death are the wife, husband, parent, and child of the deceased (“primary beneficiaries”). If there are no primary beneficiaries, any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage who was wholly dependent upon the deceased may bring an action. According to this statutory language, unmarried cohabitants are not beneficiaries.

District of Columbia – D.C. Code Section 16-2701 defines a “wrongful death” as an injury leading to death of a person, “caused by the wrong act, neglect, or default of another person or corporation.”