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Maine’s Wrongful Death Act: Money Damages for Those Left Behind

It is  sad to hear of a shooting death that involves a close family member. The senseless murder of a family member is a tragedy that touches everyone in the deceased’s circle of family, friends and community.

The shock of a violent death can leave family members so emotionally upset that months or even years might pass before a family member begins to question “Can those left behind can receive compensation for the loss of a loved one that stems from a criminal act?”

The answer is that, yes, money damages are available in many cases for the wrongful death of a loved one.

Money damages in a civil lawsuit can be sought for death caused by a negligent act or intentional act that robs a family of a loved one. The lawsuit is for money damages under Maine’s Wrongful Death Statute. Briggs & Wholey, LLC is experienced bringing wrongful death lawsuits under Maine’s Wrongful Death Act.

The decedent’s Estate can receive funeral expenses under the Wrongful Death Act. The decedent’s Estate can also recover money damages if it can be proven that an injury leading to death caused conscious pain and suffering, or resulted in medical expenses for treatment of the injury that lead to the death.

Certain individuals close to the decedent can recover up to $500,000 in wrongful death money damages in Maine for lost income that the deceased might have earned if living, or for the loss of “comfort, society and companionship of the deceased.”. Those who are able to recover up to $500,000 in damages include a living spouse, children under the age of eighteen(18), or, if there is no surviving spouse or minor children, “heirs at law”(which might include adult children, parents of the deceased, siblings of the deceased and other relatives).

The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Maine is two years from the death, unless the death is from medical malpractice (in which case the statute of limitations for a claim is three years.)

In Maine, a Wrongful Death Act claim must be brought in the name of the Personal Representative of the Estate of the decedent. Before a lawsuit can be filed someone must be named as the Personal Representative of the Estate of the deceased. This is usually an easy process. (You can find information about how to file to be named as Personal Representative of an Estate at: http://www.courts.state.me.us/faq/probate.shtml.

Alison Wholey Briggs Mynick, RN, Esq.

Briggs & Wholey, LLC
Rockport, ME
800. 596.1099