Medical malpractice, unfortunately, often causes fatal injuries. When people lose their lives due to the incompetence of doctors, their loved ones are often able to recover compensation via wrongful death claims. If they seek economic damages, though, they must offer sufficient proof of their losses, otherwise, their claims may be denied, as demonstrated in a recent Maryland opinion. If you lost a loved one because of a doctor’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages via a civil lawsuit, and it is in your best interest to meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to gauge your options.
The Plaintiff’s Claims
Allegedly, the plaintiff’s adult daughter died due to complications related to a severe infection in her groin and leg area. The defendant doctor treated her during her illness. The plaintiff subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, in which she asserted wrongful death claims. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law as to the mother’s claim for economic damages.
It is reported that the court denied the motion, and the case proceeded to trial. The jury ultimately awarded the plaintiff $500,000 in economic damages for loss of household services and $500,000 in non-economic damages. The defendant appealed, and the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling. The plaintiff then filed a petition for writ of certiorari.
Demonstrating Economic Losses in Wrongful Death Cases
On appeal, the court affirmed the intermediate court’s ruling. The court noted that the economic damages awarded to the plaintiff were based on the assertion that the decedent would have provided household services to the plaintiff. The court found, however, that the plaintiff failed to produce adequate evidence to demonstrate that she was entitled to economic damages for the loss of services.
The court explained that a beneficiary in a wrongful death case must identify domestic services that have a market value and must have reasonably expected that the decedent would have provided such services. Typically, absent a legal obligation to provide such services, this requires proof that the decedent regularly provided the services in question in the past. The beneficiary must also provide evidence regarding the length of time the decedent would have likely offered the services in question.
In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff failed to provide a market value for the services allegedly provided by the decedent prior to her death. Additionally, the plaintiff did not offer evidence that the decedent intended to continue to offer such services. As such, the lower court rulings were affirmed.
Meet with a Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
People who suffer the loss of a loved one due to the reckless acts of health care providers are often able to recover substantial damages via wrongful death claims. If your loved one suffered fatal harm due to medical negligence, you should meet with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your rights. The trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can help you pursue the best result available under the facts of your case. You can contact us through our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.