Losing a loved one in any kind of accident is a tragic, life-altering experience, especially when the accident resulting in your loved one’s death was preventable. While nothing can bring a family member back, or ease the pain caused by such a loss, aggrieved family members may find some solace in holding the responsible party accountable through a Maine wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death claim is a type of Maine personal injury claim in which the personal representative of the accident victim brings a claim against the parties believed to be responsible for the accident victim’s death. Wrongful death cases are commonly brought after fatal Maine car crashes, workplace injuries, or other tragic, preventable accidents.
This year, the Maine Legislature reorganized the state’s probate code, which contains the wrongful death act. Before July 1, 2019, wrongful death actions were brought under Maine Revised Statutes Title 18-A section 2-804; however, moving forward these claims are controlled by Title 18-C section 2-807. For the most part, the laws governing wrongful death cases are unchanged, with a few minor differences related to how courts distribute wrongful death damages awards.
The manner in which a plaintiff proves a wrongful death case remains the same. Typically, this requires a plaintiff establish that the defendant violated a duty of care that was owed to the defendant by some “wrongful act, neglect or default.” Additionally, a plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions were the cause of death. While this sounds straightforward in theory, establishing the causation element of a wrongful death claim can prove to be tricky.
Below are some additional facts about Maine wrongful death claims:
- To be considered timely, a plaintiff must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the death of their loved one.
- At most, a jury can award up to $500,000 for the loss of comfort, society, and companionship of the deceased.
- A jury may award up to $250,000 in punitive damages, if appropriate.
- The proceeds from a successful wrongful death case or settlement are payable directly to the deceased’s heirs, and do not become a part of the estate.
- A jury can specifically award an estate additional damages for reasonable medical and funeral expenses.
Another important aspect of a Maine wrongful death claim is that, if the deceased suffered a period of “conscious suffering” before death, there might be an additional claim based on this suffering.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a Maine Accident?
If you recently lost a loved one in a Maine accident, contact the dedicated Maine wrongful death attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. At our Portland law offices, we help injury victims and their family members obtain fair compensation for their losses. Our compassionate advocates understand the difficult time your family is going through, and ensure that we respect your grieving process. We handle cases across Maine, including in Bangor, Falmouth, Augusta, Lewiston, and Rockland. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the loss of your loved one, call 800-804-2004 to schedule a free consultation today. Calling is free, and because we work on a contingent-fee basis, we will not recover anything for our services unless we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.