Whenever a driver’s negligence causes a fatal motorcycle accident, the surviving family of the deceased may wish to pursue financial compensation for the loss of their loved one. In Maryland, this is done through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death lawsuits in Maryland must meet several criteria before a party is entitled to financial recovery. First, the potential plaintiff must establish that they are the proper party to bring the lawsuit. In Maryland, the law requires that a “primary beneficiary” bring the lawsuit, if one exists. A primary beneficiary is defined as a spouse, parent, or child of the deceased. If there is no living primary beneficiary, a “secondary beneficiary” may be able to file the lawsuit. A secondary beneficiary is anyone related to the deceased by blood or marriage who relied on the deceased for financial support.
Once a party has established they are the proper plaintiff, they must prove the elements of a wrongful death claim. Essentially, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed some duty of care to the deceased and that the defendant’s violation of that duty resulted in their death. In most motorcycle accident cases, the duty owed to the deceased is easily established because all motorists owe a duty of care to those with whom they share the road. However, the remaining elements of a wrongful death case must still be proven.