We recognize how difficult it can be to deal with a painful loss caused by substandard medical care. Fortunately, in these circumstances, the law is on your side. You and your family can file a lawsuit against the medical care provider who was responsible for the malpractice.
In these cases, the victim’s family members may recover damages based on the financial and personal consequences of the wrongful death. While Maryland limits the number of damages for personal harms a court may award, that should not dissuade you from seeking legal counsel as soon as possible if you suspect medical malpractice.
To get started, the seasoned Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at Bennett & Heyman can provide you with a free initial case assessment when you call today. To hear more about your legal options for recovery, call our offices today at (410) 429-7856.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice?
When you lose a family member or loved one to medical malpractice in Maryland, you have the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party who provided the negligent or reckless care. A wrongful death lawsuit allows the beneficiaries named in the suit to claim compensation for their financial and personal losses that resulted from the medical malpractice.
It can be helpful to think about a wrongful death lawsuit the same way as a personal injury lawsuit. The main difference is that, in a wrongful death, the victim dies as a result of the defendant’s behavior. Therefore, the damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit are based on the losses that the beneficiaries suffered, rather than the losses to a personal injury victim themselves.
How Are Damages Calculated for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Maryland?
Because the damages from a wrongful death lawsuit go directly to the beneficiaries, the amount of damages is calculated based on their direct losses. These losses may be strictly financial as well as personal. Below are some of the typical categories upon which wrongful death damages will be assessed for medical malpractice cases:
- Lost income from which beneficiaries would have benefitted (wages, pension, retirement plan, etc.)
- Other benefits that beneficiaries lost access to, like medical insurance coverage
- Medical expenses for additional care after the malpractice
- Funeral costs
- Loss of services that the decedent provided, such as childcare
- Loss of companionship or comfort
- Loss of mentorship, training, guidance, or education
- Emotional pain and suffering
The damages are awarded to each beneficiary proportionally based on how each suffered as a result of the wrongful death. For instance, if the decedent provided childcare to their children, the damages for the cost of replacing this lost service would go to the other parent who would have to either pay for childcare or give up their income to provide care themselves. Our knowledgeable Baltimore personal injury lawyers are well-versed in breaking down cases to assess what our clients stand to gain from pursuing them.
Maryland Damage Caps for Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claims
Maryland is one of several states that have passed laws that limit the value of damages a court can award in a wrongful death lawsuit. In Maryland, plaintiffs are limited in terms of their non-economic damages claims, not economic damages. Non-economic damages are those harms that are personal in nature, like pain and suffering and loss of companionship. This cap won’t limit a beneficiary’s ability to recover for concrete financial losses such as funeral costs or medical bills.
To figure out the non-economic damages cap for a wrongful death resulting from medical malpractice, a little arithmetic is required. You will need to factor in the year that it occurred as well as the number of beneficiaries named in the suit. The limit increases by $15,000 each year on October 1.
For instance, let’s say you were trying to calculate the non-economic damages for a wrongful death that happened on September 20, 2021 with one beneficiary. In this case, the statutory limit for how much you could claim would be $845,000. If the malpractice occurred on October 20, 2021, the cap would raise to $860,000. Further, if there were two or more named beneficiaries instead of one, the cap increases to 125% of the original limit, or $1,075,000.
Remember, just because Maryland has limits on non-economic damages does not mean that you will only be limited to that exact amount for compensation. Economic damages are not bound by this law. To get a more precise idea of how much you and your family could recover from the party that caused your loved one’s wrongful death, speak to one of our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers today.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim for Medical Malpractice in Maryland?
Maryland has laws, called statutes of limitations, that dictate the length of time that plaintiffs have to formally file their claim. However, in medical malpractice cases, this matter gets complicated because medical malpractice might not be immediately obvious when it happens.
Therefore, Maryland’s statute of limitations gives you three years from when the plaintiff discovered or reasonably should have discovered the connection between the death and the malpractice. If you miss the deadline, you will be barred from recovering at all, so for this reason, we urge you reach out to our Baltimore wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible if you have any suspicions about the circumstances of your loved one’s death.
Bennett & Heyman Can Help You Claim Damages for a Medical Malpractice Death in Maryland
To get a free case assessment from our diligent Maryland medical malpractice attorneys, call Bennett & Heyman today at (410) 429-7856.