After someone is fatally injured in a motorcycle accident, the family of the deceased is often left not just emotionally distraught but also in a bad financial place. This is especially the case if there were exorbitant medical bills, or if the deceased was an income earner. A wrongful death lawsuit is a way for the aggrieved family members of a deceased accident victim to recover financially for their loss.
Wrongful death lawsuits must be brought by the proper party in order for the court to hear the case. In Maryland, the law prefers that a “primary beneficiary” bring the lawsuit. A primary beneficiary is defined as a spouse, parent, or child. However, in some cases, even a person in one of these three categories will not be eligible. For example, a parent will not be permitted to bring a wrongful death action based on the death of their child if they were criminally involved in the child’s death.
If there is no primary beneficiary available to bring the lawsuit, a secondary beneficiary can file a case. A secondary beneficiary is a person who is related to the deceased by blood or marriage and who was “substantially dependent” on the deceased. In some cases, there is substantial litigation as to whether a party qualifies as a secondary beneficiary. Once a party has proven to the court that they are a proper party, they must then prove that the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentional act caused the death of their loved one. This too can be complex, depending on the circumstances giving rise to the accident.