When a person has been killed in a car or motorcycle accident, the family may get confused about whether they can bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Often in these cases, criminal charges will be brought against the person who caused the accident. And because of this, most families assume they also cannot bring a lawsuit as well. However, this is not true. Families can still bring a wrongful death suit—even if the individual has criminal charges pending against them—in order to obtain compensation for their loved one’s death.
Last week, a man died in a two-vehicle collision on Route 50 near Berlin. According to a local news article, a driver of a Jeep was crossing Route 50 to continue northbound when a motorcycle struck the Jeep from behind. The motorcycle driver was then ejected and thrown into the median. The motorcycle driver was pronounced as deceased, and according to police, charges are pending against the Jeep driver.
What Is the Effect of Criminal Charges on a Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Individuals who have lost a loved one in an accident often assume that if there are criminal charges, they cannot bring a civil lawsuit too. However, family members can still bring a wrongful death lawsuit to financially recover from the loss of a loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action filed by the loved one of the deceased with the help of a personal injury attorney. There can be no criminal penalties in a wrongful death case; instead, the only available recovery is money. This is because criminal charges are brought by criminal prosecutors and can lead to incarceration—not monetary fines to be given to the family.
Additionally, there are elements to a wrongful death lawsuit that potential plaintiffs should keep in mind when bringing a suit. The plaintiff’s attorney must prove the deceased’s passing was due to an at-fault party acting in a negligent or reckless matter. It is also essential to prove this reckless behavior was the direct cause of the deceased’s injuries.
Another job of the plaintiff’s attorney is proving the defendant was wholly responsible for the accident. Maryland law uses a legal concept called contributory negligence: if the deceased person is found at all responsible for the incident, the family could be prohibited from financially recovering. Therefore, attorneys will work extremely hard in wrongful death lawsuits to prove the defendant totally caused the accident.
Because it is sometimes difficult to establish the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit, people who have recently lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident should call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a Maryland Wrongful Death Attorney
If your loved one has been killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. Our lawyers have recovered more than $55 million for our clients. We understand how difficult it can be after a loved one has passed. Therefore, our attorneys will work our hardest to hold the liable party responsible and financially recover on your behalf. Contact us at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free consultation and speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.