Wrongful death lawsuits: the differences between states

When you lose a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death suits can let you seek damages from whoever caused the death. But where you sue can determine how you do it.

If you live in the Virginia or Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., area, you may work and live in different states. And an accident that causes a wrongful death can happen in either state as well. But the rules of filing a lawsuit vary between Virginia and Maryland.

Who can file the lawsuit?

One of the main differences between the two states is who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Virginia, only a personal representative can bring a suit to court. These people, called executors or administrators, are responsible for the deceased person’s estate. They can file a wrongful death lawsuit in their name.

Maryland has more options for who can file

In Maryland, family members can file a claim without the executor. Spouses, parents of minor children and minor children can bring their own lawsuits to a court. However, an executor can also file on behalf of the estate.

The statute of limitations varies between the states

Another difference between the two states is the statute of limitations. In Maryland, you have three years from your loved one’s death to file a lawsuit. If a disease from toxic exposure in the workplace led to death, you have up to 10 years. In Virginia, you only have two years for any claim.

Both states let you seek compensation

Regardless of where you file, you can seek similar damages. Both states allow you to sue for compensation due to medical bills or lost wages. You can also seek damages for mental anguish and loss of companionship.

Where you file a wrongful death lawsuit can determine the rules you follow. But whether you file in Maryland or Virginia, courts allow you to seek damages for the unexpected death of a loved one.