The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one creates immediate and long-lasting repercussions for the surviving family members. When the death is the result of another party’s negligence, family members will certainly feel anger but may not be inclined to immediately pursuing legal action.
Quick action in such cases, however, is critical because unlike most personal injury claims in which the statute of limitations in Maine is six years, a party only has two years to file a wrongful death action. Need an Injury Attorney Maine understands that families need time to grieve, which is why our lawyers handle all of the paperwork and court filings in order to meet strict deadlines.
Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action in Maine
State law in Maine allows for two different types of legal actions following the death of a loved one. A wrongful death claim must be brought by and in the name of the personal representative of the deceased person, under Maine Revised Statute Title 18-A Section 2-804.(b). Statutory beneficiaries in such cases are typically the spouses or minor children of the deceased.
Survival actions, established under Maine Revised Statute Title 18-A Section 3-817, are brought by the estate of the deceased. Whereas a survival action is a claim that belongs to the deceased and allows for recovery of damages accrued up until the moment of his or her death, a wrongful death claim lets the deceased’s beneficiaries recover benefits that would have been received from the deceased if not for his or her death.
Causes of Wrongful Death in Maine
Many different types of accidents can result in a person’s death. People who file wrongful death or survival actions will be required to prove that another party’s negligence caused the deaths of their loved ones.
Some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths in Maine include:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Commerical Vehicles
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Uber/Ridesharing Accidents
- DUI Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Workplace Accidents
Wrongful Death Awards in Maine
Maine Revised Statute Title 18-A Section 2-804.(b) also provides that amount recovered in every wrongful death action is for the exclusive benefit of:
- The surviving spouse if there are no minor children;
- The children if there is no surviving spouse;
- One-half for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse and one-half for the exclusive benefit of the minor children to be divided equally among them if there are both surviving spouse and minor children; and
- The deceased’s heirs to be distributed as provided in Maine Revised Statute Title 18-A Section 2-106 (Maine’s incestancy law) if there is neither surviving spouse nor minor children.
Wrongful death lawsuits can seek compensation for economic damages (calculable monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, or funeral costs), noneconomic damages (non-calculable harm such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or emotional distress), and possibly punitive damages (awards intended solely to punish negligent parties for particularly egregious or reckless conduct). State law in Maine does not limit awards for economic damages, but nonecomic damages are limited to $500,000 and punitive damages are capped at $250,000.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Maine
Need an Injury Attorney Maine knows that no amount of money will ever fully make up for a loved one’s death. Wrongful death or survival actions, however, can help replace income that has been lost and achieve a certain level of closure to a very painful chapter in the lives of a family.
Our Maine personal injury lawyers will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, no obligation consultation. Our firm is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer all of your legal questions.