Family of Victim Not Prevented From Filing Wrongful Death Case Even When Victim Filed Personal Injury Case While Alive

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Maryland decided a very interesting case involving the parents of a young boy who died after complications involving his birth. In the case, Spangler v. McQuitty, the court determined that although the young boy had successfully recovered compensation for his injuries in a medical malpractice case against the defendants, that did not prevent the boy’s parents from pursing a wrongful death case against the same defendants based on the same conduct.

The Facts of the Case

The McQuittys filed a birth injury case against the defendant doctors after their son was born with the severe condition of cerebral palsy. While the McQuittys were actually the ones who were filing the paperwork, the lawsuit was brought in the name of their son. Ultimately, this case was successful, and their son recovered $5 million for his injuries.

After the boy recovered for his injuries, he passed away from complications related to the injuries he sustained at birth. After their son’s death, the boy’s parents then filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the same defendants, claiming that they were responsible for their son’s death. In response to the allegations, the defendants claimed that they had already been held liable for their negligence in delivering the boy, so they should not be subject to liability again.

Generally speaking, under the law, a person can only be held liable for their actions once. This means that if a person is sued and is found to be liable, they cannot be sued by the same party for the same conduct. However, what the court in this case had to decide was whether Maryland’ wrongful death statute created a new cause of action that could be pursued by the boy’s parents. Ultimately, after a long discussion of the state of the law in Maryland, the court determined that it did allow a wrongful death lawsuit to be brought.

Of course, this will not always be the case, and cases like this are often very fact-specific. However, this case does stand for the proposition that in some cases a wrongful death case may be filed by the surviving family members even if the accident victim has already successfully filed and won a negligence case against the same defendants.

Have You Lost a Loved One Due to Another Party’s Negligence?

If you have recently lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland or Washington, D.C. wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits must be brought by certain parties, generally those related to the victim by blood or marriage. To find out if you are an eligible party, and to discuss your case with an experienced attorney, call 410-654-3600. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to help you recover compensation for the loss of your loved one.

More Blog Posts:

State Court Finds Premises Liability Case against Government Sufficient to Proceed Toward Trial, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 20, 2016

Plaintiff’s Procedural Mistake Results in Dismissal of Premises Liability Case, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, June 30, 2016

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