In Maryland, family members may bring a wrongful death action against a defendant whose negligence caused the death of their loved one. The Maryland wrongful death statute allows the plaintiffs to recover economic and non-economic monetary damages resulting from their loss. In a November 1, 2019 case, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed the jury’s award of damages to a plaintiff who had prevailed in her wrongful death action against the defendant.
The case arose from the death of the plaintiff’s daughter’s in 2013. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against the medical providers who treated her daughter, including the defendant. Following a trial, the jury found the defendant liable for the wrongful death of the plaintiff’s twenty-two-year-old daughter. The jury awarded the plaintiff $500,000 in non-economic damages and $500,000 in economic damages for the loss of her daughter’s services. The defendant subsequently appealed the jury’s award of economic damages.
The specific issue on appeal was whether the plaintiff had sufficiently established her damages claim for the loss of her daughter’s household services. The court confirmed that in a Maryland wrongful death action, a covered beneficiary may recover for both economic and non-economic damages. After reviewing Maryland case law and other legal authority, the Court of Special Appeals went on to present a three-part rule for determining when a beneficiary in a wrongful death action may recover economic damages for the loss of household services.