According to news reports, last week a Maryland jury awarded $90 million to a family who lost their 13-year-old daughter 4 years ago. The wrongful death verdict, reached by a jury of six, is one of the largest in the court’s history.
The girl was struck by a Lincoln Continental when she was crossing Brinkley Road near Fisher Road in Temple Hills. The driver then hit another vehicle, as well as another young pedestrian who was walking on the other side of the street. The family sued the Prince George’s County Board of Education, where the girl was a freshman student, two weeks after the September 2009 crash, when she died as a result of her injuries.
The family alleged that the school system did not provide a safe bus stop for students, and further that the bus driver “persistently negligently failed to stop at the appropriate stop,” which resulted in the girl trying to ride a different school bus on the other side of the street. This meant she had to cross the street in order to be picked up.
Apparently parents in the district have expressed their concern for years regarding unsafe routes and late school buses. In some cases, due to budget cuts children are expected to walk 1-1.5 miles to school due to lack of busing services.
The school is expected to appeal the decision.
Under Maryland law, the Maryland Wrongful Death Statute governs wrongful death lawsuits. This type of claim, like the one brought by the young girl’s family, is pursued by the decedent’s surviving relatives. The lawsuit is intended to compensate the loved ones for the loss of the victim’s life and the love, companionship, etc., they would have had if the other party’s actions had not led to the loved one’s death. Only specific family members are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Maryland law is different than in many other states because there is no limit on the amount of economic damages that a court can award in a wrongful death action, which is possibly why the award in this case was so high. However, there is a limit for non-economic damages, which includes items such as loss of companionship.
The personal injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have many years of experience working with individuals and families who have suffered due to wrongful death in Maryland. We have represented families who have lost loved ones as a result of wrongful deaths caused by hospital negligence, medical malpractice, auto accidents, and other traumatic events. If you believe that you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or wrongful actions of someone else, please contact us through our website or at 1-800-654-1949 for a no-cost consultation.
More Blog Posts:
3 Year Old Killed in Maryland Garage Door Accident, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published April 15, 2013
Man Receives 10 Year Sentence For Deadly DUI in Potential Wrongful Death Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published April 8, 2013