The surviving family members of a decedent may bring a wrongful death action against the person responsible for the death of their loved one by working with a Maryland personal injury attorney. When negligence is alleged against a municipality or law enforcement officers, they may be held to a different legal standard. In a July 20, 2020 case, the Court of Special Appeals reviewed a wrongful death claim against the county and a police officer. One of the issues on appeal was whether summary judgment was property granted in favor of the defendants as to the gross negligence of the officer.
The plaintiffs in the case were the parents of a 17-month-old child. The police officer was pursuing a suspect who had fled the scene of a hit-and-run accident at a high rate of speed. The officer was driving at an average speed of 90 miles per hour to keep up with the suspect, in a residential and commercial area. The car chase ended when the suspect ran a red light and struck another vehicle. That vehicle was forced onto the curb, where it struck a stroller carrying the plaintiffs’ child.
The plaintiffs sued the county and the police officer, alleging gross negligence and wrongful death, among other claims. The defendants claimed immunity from liability under Maryland law. After the lower court granted summary judgment for the defendants, the plaintiffs appealed on multiple grounds.