Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, but that loss can feel even greater if it was due to someone else’s negligence. In these situations, people have difficulty grieving because they feel a myriad of emotions and are left with many unanswered questions.

While nothing is going to make up for the loss of your loved one, the personal injury attorneys at Mann Law can make sure that the at-fault party is held responsible and accountable for their actions.

We have handled hundreds of wrongful death cases that involve complex legal and medical issues. Take the time you need to grieve, and allow an experienced wrongful death lawyer handle the legalities for you.

Fatal Accidents in Maine

Wrongful death is an umbrella term that covers many types of fatal accidents. What all wrongful death accidents have in common is that the victim’s passing was due to another party’s negligence.

Wrongful death cases are handled in civil court. Types of fatal accidents that we handle include:

Maine Wrongful Death Statistics

maine wrongful death statistics

What is a Wrongful Death Action?

According to state law, a death is considered wrongful when it is caused by a wrongful act or negligence and when the person who died would have had a claim against the negligent party had they survived.

In other words, wrongful death is when an individual dies from a reckless, careless, or intentional act by another party, be it an individual or organization.

In Maine, the party bringing the wrongful death action must prove that the wrongdoer was careless and that their negligence was more responsible for the death than anything that the person who died did.

They must also prove that your loved one’s death was not caused by an unrelated preexisting condition.

Deadline to File Suit

The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is only two years after the date of death. If you fail to file your wrongful death claim by the deadline, your claim may be thrown out of court. This is why it’s critical to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.

However, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, including medical malpractice cases. If your loved one died due to medical malpractice, the deadline for bringing a claim is three years from the date of the malpractice or from the date that you discovered their passing was caused by medical negligence.

There are other rare exceptions, and some deadlines are as short as six months from the date of the incident leading to the death. Consult with a lawyer as soon as possible if you believe a loved one was killed as a result of another person’s fault.

Who Can Seek Compensation in a Local Wrongful Death Case?

Under Maine law, the personal representative (PR) of the deceased person’s estate is the only party allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Maine. The law calls the deceased loved one the “decedent.”

A PR is an individual or entity appointed by the Probate Court to administer the estate of someone who has died.

The PR could be someone who was named in the will of the person who died. The attorneys at Mann Law can assist you or the family of the deceased in starting an estate and naming a PR. The responsibilities of a PR are governed by the Maine Probate Code.

The PR has to prove the following:

  • The income that the family will lose because of the death of their loved one
  • The value of the lost companionship, comfort, and guidance that the family will lose because of their family member’s death (up to $500,000)
  • The pain and suffering suffered by the person who died between their injury and death
  • The decedent’s medical expenses and funeral and burial expenses

Although the PR must bring the claim to court, any compensation awarded in the case, after payment of funeral and burial costs and legal fees, must be distributed to surviving family members, known as beneficiaries.

This may include children, dependents, spouses, and in some cases, parents. The role of the personal representative is to distribute the settlement or verdict to beneficiaries in accordance with state law.

Compensation Available in a Wrongful Death Claim

The Personal Representative of the decedent’s estate brings the wrongful death lawsuit to win compensation for the family. Maine recently amended the wrongful death statute in 2019 to increase the cap on these types of claims.

The PR may seek the following types of compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Burial and funeral expenses,
  • Damage to property,
  • Lost wages,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Loss of society, comfort, and companionship, or
  • Punitive damages.

Survival Claims under the State’s Wrongful Death Statute

A survival claim is different from a wrongful death claim. A survival claim arises when the death is not immediate. This type of claim is also filed by the Personal Representative as described above.

A survival claim under the wrongful death statute pursues damages on behalf of the estate that the deceased individual could have recovered up to the time of death.

Work with a Wrongful Death Attorney Today

Losing a loved one unexpectedly in a preventable accident is one of the most tragic and difficult experiences you can go through. Our deepest sympathies go out to you if your loved one died due to the fault of another party.

At Mann Law, our wrongful death lawyers lawyers have successfully helped families like yours navigate even the most complex of cases. We understand the toll that these tragedies take on families, and we are ready to help.

While nothing will bring back your loved one, the experienced and compassionate lawyers at Mann Law will work hard to see that the at-fault party is held accountable and that you recover the compensation you deserve, so call today.