It is natural for Baltimore-area residents who have experienced the loss of a loved one to want nothing more than to grieve over their loss. Added to this grief can be feelings of confusion over how the person died, particularly when the death occurred during an accident involving another person. In these circumstances, individuals can work with professionals to determine how the death occurred, and whether someone else may be held liable in a wrongful death action.
The feelings of confusion may be particularly true in cases where a fatal accident does not seem to add up. For instance, the family of a 24-year-old woman who was killed while riding her bike recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit, despite originally being told the woman was responsible for the crash. Initially, the police report indicated the crash was the woman's fault, but a surveillance video that was later discovered showed what really happened. Reportedly, the cause of the accident was a truck driver that was going too fast to make a safe right turn during rush hour.
It is also important to consider in cases like this that victims or the victim's family only have a certain period of time within which to file a wrongful death cause of action. Typically, this time begins from when the person discovered, or should have discovered, that another person caused the death of the loved one. This can vary, however, based on the circumstances of the accident, and whether the case would be similar to a personal injury lawsuit held by the deceased person.
State laws also impose varying time deadlines to file a lawsuit. Accordingly, individuals should consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to determine when they must file a wrongful death claim by, and how to best uncover all of the circumstances that led to the death itself.
Source: ABC 7, "Wrongful death lawsuit filed in cyclist death," Dan Noyes, Sept. 3, 2013.