The Court of Special Appeals in Maryland says that the family of deceased mechanic Joseph Wilbon will not get the nearly $500,000 they had won for Wilbon’s wrongful death.
This latest ruling is based on a technical violation, because attorneys for the family did not file the wrongful death lawsuit within six months of Wilbon’s death in 2000. Wilbon’s family had been awarded $498,000 by a Baltimore City Circuit Court jury, and now the court is reversing the decision.
According to the attorney for Wilbon’s family, two Baltimore police officers had mistakenly identified Wilbon as a homeless person, and, as a result, took their time in getting him to the hospital.
According to reports, two police officers, Officer Jeffrey Mathena Jr. and Officer Trainee Franklin Hunsicker, had Wilbon in their custody for over an hour on June 5, 2000 before taking him to an emergency room where he had a seizure while waiting for treatment. He died from cardiac arrhythmia within an hour of arriving at the hospital.
The Baltimore jury had awarded Wilbon’s family the settlement in April 2005 on the grounds of false arrest, and imprisonment, and battery.
Wrongful Death Statues
In the U.S., each state has a statute of limitations regarding how long a period of time a person has to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The length of time varies, but a person must file the suit within this period, or their case will not be considered. Often, the person or persons being sued for wrongful death will try to have the case dismissed because the suit was not filed within the statute of limitations period.
Depending on the state where the wrongful death occurred, the statue of limitations period may begin running from the time the death actually happened. In another state, the statute of limitations may start when the death is discovered to be a wrongful death. There may even be different statute of limitations for victims of wrongful death who did not die right away from the cause of wrongful death. The amount of recovery allowed in a wrongful death claim will also depend on the state in which the wrongful death occurred.
If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death case, it is important that you speak with a wrongful death attorney immediately who is knowledgeable about your state’s statute of limitations and can advise you on what to do next. An attorney can also help you file your lawsuit immediately to ensure that you are within the statute of limitations.
Court vacates ‘wrongful death’ verdict, Examiner.com, December 30, 2006
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