If an accident or malpractice results in a death, there are two possible claims under Maryland death claim law, a “wrongful death action” and a “survival action.”

A wrongful death action can be brought by “primary beneficiaries,” which include a spouse, parent or child of the deceased person, or an adult child who is 21 or younger and to whom the deceased parent contributed 50% or more support. If there are no primary beneficiaries, “secondary beneficiaries” can file this claim. These are any person related to the deceased by blood or marriage who was wholly dependent upon the deceased. The elements of damage that can be recovered depend on the relationship of the person filing the claim to the deceased.

A survival action, on the other hand, is not an action by the survivors, but instead is an action by the deceased’s estate, on behalf of the deceased. In substance, this is the action that the deceased could have filed, had he or she survived. Damages include such things as medical expenses incurred before the time of death, funeral expenses (up to $3,500.00), lost wages until the time of death and conscious pain and suffering. The ultimate beneficiaries of any recovery under a survival action are the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate.

Maryland death claim law is technical and can be quite complicated. If you have such a claim, you should consult with a Maryland death claim lawyer.

To learn more about this complicated area of the law, contact us.