A wrongful death is one caused by another person’s careless or negligent actions. When someone’s passing can be classified as a wrongful death, the deceased’s primary or secondary beneficiaries have the right to file a wrongful death action and a survival action. Doing so allows the plaintiffs to seek compensation for the losses the deceased incurred prior to their death, any conscious pain and suffering the deceased experienced, and the tangible and intangible losses family members and dependents have experienced firsthand.

What are Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases?

  • Medical malpractice
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Defective products
  • Dangerous premises
  • Construction accidents
  • Nursing home negligence
  • Motorcycle accidents

What Kind of Medical Malpractice Could Result in Wrongful Death?

While any wrongful death is tragic, those caused by a negligent healthcare provider can be especially devastating because you trusted certified professionals to adhere to acceptable levels of care. The lawyers of Schochor, Federico and Staton provide vigorous representation to beneficiaries suffering due to the actions of doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and all other parties who play a role in providing healthcare. Our law firm maintains a special focus on helping clients with medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits, including those involving:

  • Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis
  • Cancer
  • Emergency room negligence
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors

We also handle wrongful death lawsuits related to birth injuries, medication errors, bacterial infections, and neglect or abuse.

Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis

Medical conditions that are not correctly diagnosed in a timely manner have the ability to spiral out of control and cause irreparable harm to an individual’s health. When a failure to diagnose or an incorrect diagnosis results in the death of someone close to you, you have the right to seek compensation from the professionals who failed to recognize and prescribe treatment appropriate to their condition.

One of our firm’s attorneys can work with you if a loved one died because a healthcare provider failed to diagnose and treat their:

  • Cancer
  • Brain injury
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Gastrointestinal disorder
  • Gynecological condition
  • Cardiac disease
  • Psychiatric disorder
  • Infection
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Internal bleeding
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Diabetes

Cancer-related Deaths

The failure to catch cancer early on can cause a once-treatable condition to progress into more serious stages where successful treatment is impossible. When a healthcare professional’s failure to recognize or treat any form cancer results in an individual’s death, survivors have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Our firm has extensive experience helping clients recover damages in cancer-related wrongful death claims.

Emergency Room Negligence

Errors made in the emergency room can have especially deadly consequences. Types of emergency room negligence that come into play during wrongful death lawsuits involve:

  • Failure to order necessary tests
  • Failure to properly interpret tests and studies
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to monitor a patient’s progress
  • Nursing negligence
  • Delayed treatment or failure to treat
  • Lack of communication among a healthcare team
  • Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose a medical condition
  • Lab errors
  • Paperwork errors
  • Inadequate training
  • Staffing issues
  • Failure to admit/premature discharge

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are some of the most common causes for medical malpractice lawsuits. When a surgical error or complications from a surgery result in death, primary or secondary beneficiaries of the deceased can and should pursue legal action. Our team can help if you lost a loved one because of:

  • A prolonged surgery
  • Improper administration of anesthesia
  • An allergic reaction to medication used
  • Improper surgical technique
  • Damage to other internal organs
  • Infections caused by poor intra-operative and/or post-operative care
  • Blood clots
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Anesthesia Errors

Let the Attorneys and Medical Investigators at Schochor, Federico and Staton Help You

Schochor, Federico and Staton specifically focuses our wrongful death practice on claims involving medical malpractice. While the pain of losing a loved one due to someone else’s misconduct cannot be undone, we can help your family receive closure by holding negligent parties responsible for their actions. Since our firm has been handling medical malpractice cases since our founding in 1984, we have a thorough understanding of how to build strong cases to help plaintiffs pursue the maximum compensation possible in wrongful death cases. We have filed more medical negligence cases than any other law firm in Maryland and have won more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts.

Contact us online or call us today at 410-234-1000 to speak with one of our attorneys about your case. You pay nothing unless we make a recovery on your behalf.


At Schochor, Federico and Staton, we understand the devastation you feel over the wrongful death of a loved one. While our lawyers do everything possible to ensure you receive compensation for the negligence of healthcare providers, we understand that families need to learn more about wrongful death and grieve on their own. We hope you find the resources below useful.


Schochor, Federico and Staton is your source for knowledgeable answers to questions about wrongful death lawsuits. While our attorneys are easily accessible should you wish to speak to someone in person or over the phone, we have compiled answers to some of the questions we frequently receive below.

What is wrongful death?

Many people are confused about what exactly wrongful death means. In essence, wrongful death is when someone dies due to another person’s negligence and leaves behind dependents who are emotionally or financially harmed due to their death. Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit depends on the dependents the decedent left behind and state law, and damages in a wrongful death case are awarded based on the pain and suffering and economic losses survivors incur.

What is a survival action?

A survival action is a claim filed by a personal representative — a party designated to protect the rights of the deceased — to seek damages for pain and suffering the victim endured, as well any economic expenses sustained prior to the victim’s death. Damages are measured based on harm done to the deceased, and some states place a cap on the amount of money recoverable in a survival action.

How much can I recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?

The amount of damages that can be received depends on state law and how many claimants there are. For example, the cap for non-economic damages in Maryland for claims arising in 2011 is $695,000.00 for one claimant or $868,750.00 for two or more claimants. It increases $15,000 each year, so the cap in 2016 is $770,000 for one claimant and $962,500 for two or more.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

One of the biggest questions to be answered after the death of a loved one is whether or not you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Maryland, wrongful death claims can be filed by:

  • Parents
  • Children
  • Husbands
  • Wives

These relatives are called primary beneficiaries. In the absence of primary beneficiaries, extended relatives connected to the deceased by marriage or blood—called secondary beneficiaries—have the right to file a wrongful death or survival action so long as they were substantially dependent on the deceased individual. In the District of Columbia, persons who were receiving financial support from the decedent can file a wrongful death suit for the loss of that support. The ability of a common law spouse to file a wrongful death suit is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Who can I sue in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Many different parties can be held responsible in wrongful death lawsuits. Some of the most common plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit involving medical malpractice are:

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Urologists
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurses
  • Psychiatrists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Radiologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Gastroenterologists

What is the difference between a primary beneficiary and a secondary beneficiary?

Primary beneficiaries are the family members closest to the deceased—spouses, children and parents. Secondary beneficiaries are extended family members or legally dependent parties who relied on the victim for financial support. Secondary beneficiaries may only file a wrongful death lawsuit if there are no primary beneficiaries.