In many cases, the law allows for family members to pursue compensation for the death or injury of their loved one by bringing an action against those responsible. The Court of Appeals of Maryland recently examined a wrongful death action in an opinion issued on May 22, 2017. The plaintiffs in the case were the mother and the minor son of the decedent.
In 2009, the victim in the case had been shot and killed by the defendant, while he was working as the defendant’s farmhand. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant buried the victim’s remains in order to conceal his wrongdoing. In 2015, the plaintiffs filed their complaint against the defendant. After the circuit court dismissed their claims as time-barred, the plaintiffs appealed.
A wrongful death action is brought for the benefit of the surviving family members to compensate for the losses occasioned by their family member’s death. Maryland law provides that the time period for bringing a wrongful death action that accrues on behalf of a minor plaintiff is tolled during the period of minority. On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that the wrongful death action of the victim’s son was tolled during his period of minority, pursuant to this rule. The court agreed, holding that the plain language of the rule provided for the tolling of a wrongful death claim until the age of majority, from which time the wrongful death action must be filed within three years.