Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, P.A.

Baltimore Law Blog

Baltimore families depend on one another for support of all kinds. Throughout the years, families ideally grow closer together, which can make it all the more difficult when tragedy strikes and a family member is lost.

When a family member is killed because of someone else's negligence, the surviving family members may have a cause of action for wrongful death they can bring against the person responsible for the death. The wrongful death claim is typically based on negligence, meaning the person responsible can be held liable when he or she violated a duty of care that was owed to the deceased person.

Through the wrongful death claim, individuals can obtain many different kinds of damages to compensate them for their loss. Under Maryland law, the available damages extend far beyond lost wages or straight economic damages, as damages may also be available for things like loss of companionship.

This is for good reason, as the loss of a loved one impacts many different areas of the surviving family members' lives. Not only does the death bring about a tremendous financial loss because the husband, wife or parent is no longer able to earn an income, but there are severe emotional consequences that result as well. The companionship, protection, care, advice and counsel that is lost when a family member dies simply cannot be replaced.

While it is difficult to value the lost companionship provided by a deceased loved one, the impact can be reduced to an award of damages in the wrongful death action. Evidence can be put on in the case to demonstrate the companionship and care the deceased person provided, which will show the judge or jury how valued the loved one was in the family. Although the damages will not replace this lost companionship, it can provide some measure of relief for families who have been thorough the tragedy of losing a loved one.

Source: General Assembly of Maryland, "3-904," accessed on Sept. 19, 2015

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