We never anticipate that, at any moment, the worst could happen. However, sometimes it does, and families are left grieving the terrible loss of a loved one. When loss is caused by the careless, negligent, or reckless actions of another, the pain can be even more difficult to bear because you carry the burden of knowing this didn’t have to happen.
Nothing can bring back the loved one you have lost or instantly heal the heartbreak that you are feeling. While it may not be the first call that you make, you may find some solace in consulting with the legal team at DeMayo Law Offices in order to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
A wrongful death claim may be an important step for your family to make sure this type of accident never happens again. You may not be thinking about your financial situation during this difficult time, but a wrongful death claim can help compensate you for medical bills, funeral costs, lost income, and the pain and suffering you are experiencing.
The legal team at DeMayo Law Offices understands that you need time to grieve and heal. We work hard to hold reckless or negligent parties responsible for the accident that claimed your loved one, placing the burden of investigation and pursuing legal justice squarely on our shoulders. We will put our years of experience to work with you to help you recover the compensation you deserve while offering you a compassionate shoulder to lean on for your emotional well-being.
If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one due to a careless or negligent accident, contact our office today at (704) 291-9200 to schedule a free initial case evaluation.
What Is a Wrongful Death Case?
North Carolina law defines the phrase “wrongful death” as death occurring as a result of a “wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” A wrongful death case is very similar to a personal injury case, the unfortunate difference being that the negligent or careless action didn’t just cause an injury, it resulted in someone losing their life. Since the person is no longer living, the claim must be filed on behalf of the deceased, by a party looking to seek damages on their behalf; typically, this would be a close family member.
In the state of North Carolina, the law also specifies that a wrongful death claim may be brought to trial if the action that leads to death meets the legal definition of a felony. It is important to note that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case, not a criminal one. The result of a civil lawsuit can be monetary damages; no jail time or criminal penalties can be levied. What this North Carolina statute means is that even if a criminal case is pending, family members may still file a wrongful death lawsuit while the criminal case is proceeding through the court system.
How Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work in North Carolina
In North Carolina, there are several ways in which a wrongful death claim may be brought to court. If the deceased had an estate plan that named a personal representative, then that person would be allowed to pursue a case on the deceased person’s behalf. The estate representative is typically known as an executor. If there is no personal representative, then a surviving family member would be able to bring about a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one. The surviving family member who may pursue legal action in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit is determined by North Carolina’s intestate succession laws. Typically, that would be a spouse or surviving adult children, depending on the circumstances.
The beneficiaries of any compensation won from a wrongful death lawsuit are also strictly spelled out. North Carolina law dictates that only certain individuals are allowed to receive compensation from a wrongful death case. Again, the beneficiaries are determined by North Carolina’s intestate succession laws. That means that the beneficiaries of the lawsuit may be different than the beneficiaries spelled out in a will or other documents.
North Carolina law also dictates that those wishing to bring a wrongful death case to court must do so within a certain amount of time. This is known as a statute of limitations. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations on wrongful death cases is two years from the date of the individual’s death. While a loved one’s first instinct may not be to call an attorney, it is in a family’s best interest to get an attorney on their side soon after the incident.
Why Do You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?
Not only is there a time limit on when you can file a case, waiting too long can mean that valuable evidence that could help your case might be lost or destroyed, which may prevent a lawsuit from succeeding. An experienced attorney can help secure this evidence before that happens. An attorney will also be able to gather documents, photos, incident reports, medical paperwork, and other supporting paperwork needed to strengthen your case.
Wrongful death cases are complicated and can be difficult to fight. That’s because, for the party or company responsible for the wrongful death, a wrongful death suit can mean losing a great deal of money. Large companies, especially, have money and resources to pour into protecting themselves, their assets, and their profitability. Having a strong attorney on your side ensures that you have the means to fight back and won’t have to navigate the complicated legal process on your own.
Accidents That Can Lead to Wrongful Death Cases
There are a variety of different types of negligent or reckless accidents that can have fatal consequences. At DeMayo Law Offices we have attorneys who are experienced at handling any number of different circumstances related to wrongful death suits. Here are examples of the types of cases we often handle:
- Automobile accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Medical malpractice cases
- Workplace accidents
- Nursing home negligence cases
- Product liability cases
- Premises liability accidents
- Defective medical devices
- Dog bites
While this list seems extensive, it may not cover your individual circumstances. Contact our office to set up a personal and free case evaluation. Our legal team will be able to review the facts surrounding your individual case and let you know what your legal options may be.
Damages in North Caroline Wrongful Death Cases
While wrongful death cases are about seeking justice as well as compensation, wrongful death cases are civil cases, which means that if an individual or party is found liable for your family member’s death, their responsibility is solely expressed in monetary damages. In North Carolina, the possible damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death case include:
- Medical expenses that resulted from the accident, including hospital bills, surgeries, doctor’s bills, rehabilitation, and hospice care.
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Income lost as a result of the person’s death
- Loss of the deceased person’s protection, care, and other assistance
- Loss of comfort and companionship
- Pain and suffering
North Carolina also allows for punitive damages to be awarded under certain circumstances. Punitive damages are not intended as compensation for loss; they are used as a way to punish the behavior or conduct that caused the accident. It is a way for the courts to send a message that the circumstances that led to the accident are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
In the end, punitive damages are meant to serve as a deterrent. If punitive damages are awarded in a wrongful death case, they are first doled out to repaying the deceased’s estate for pursuing legal action, then to attorney’s fees, funeral, burial, and medical bills, then to the beneficiaries themselves.
DeMayo Law Offices Can Handle Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you have lost someone close to you because of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you may be overwhelmed with grief and emotions right now. At DeMayo Law Offices, we understand that you are hurting and need time and space to work through your feelings. We want you to know that while we will be tough in the courtroom, we will treat you with the sensitivity and compassion we know you need. You still have a lot to work through, but don’t hesitate to call and get started on your case, before the offending party takes advantage of your grief and makes bringing a case against them more difficult.
With over 150 years of combined years of experience, the Monroe personal injury attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices have the skills and resources it takes to fight for you and get you and your family the compensation you deserve. If your loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence, please contact us at (704) 291-9200 to schedule a free case evaluation.