When someone is killed through the negligence or wrongful actions of another, that person may be liable for their wrongful actions. Through filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the person or party responsible for the accident can be required to compensate the surviving family members. If a loved one died and you suspect the accident was caused by negligence or wrongful actions of another, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
Wrongful Death Claims in North Carolina
Under North Carolina law, wrongful death is caused by “a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” Similar to a personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death claim needs to show the other party's negligence or wrongful actions caused the victim's death. A company or business may also be liable for an accident, including product defect cases or where an employer is responsible for the wrongful actions of an employee.
Wrongful death claims can involve any type of accident, including:
- Car accident,
- Medical malpractice,
- Defective medicine,
- Product defect,
- Intentional act,
- Dog attack,
- Slip and fall,
- Bus accident,
- Truck accident,
- Bike accident,
- Electrical shock,
- Construction accident,
- Roofing accident,
- Burn injury,
- Drowning, or
- Chemical injury.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is filed by a personal representative of the decedent's estate. This may include the person designated as the personal representative in a will or estate plan. If there is no designated personal representative, the court may appoint one. The personal representative could include a family member, spouse, adult child, or parent.
Depending on the outcome of the lawsuit, any damages awarded may be distributed to pay off the expenses of the lawsuit and legal fees, with the remainder going to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries of the wrongful death damages depend on the situation but may include children, spouse, or other relatives based on North Carolina succession laws.
What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The money damages available in a wrongful death claim depend on the situation. Some of the damages available relate to injuries suffered while the victim was still living. Other damages provided for the surviving family members. Wrongful death damages can include:
- Medical expenses for the victim after the accident, until he or she died,
- Pain and suffering while the victim was still alive,
- Funeral and burial expenses,
- Compensation the family would have expected had the individual not been killed in the accident, including financial support, services, companionship, and guidance.
In some cases, punitive damages may be available when the accident was caused through malice or willful or wanton conduct.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There is a time limit to filing a wrongful death claim in North Carolina. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” However, there may be exceptions to the time limit. If you file a claim too late, you may be barred from receiving any compensation after the death of a loved one. Contact your North Carolina wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your claim is filed in time.
Cape Fear Wrongful Death Lawyer
If a child, spouse, or other relative died because of another person's negligence, you may have a claim for damages. The person responsible for the accident should be held accountable. Contact North Carolina wrongful death attorney Matthew J. Dixon today for a free consultation on your case.