If you are grieving the loss of a loved one who died due to the careless or reckless actions of someone else, the heartbreak can be overwhelming. Nothing can bring back your loved one, but you may be able to hold the responsible party legally accountable for their actions.
Those who suffer an untimely death of a close family member can end up with a pile of medical bills and funeral costs. At the same time, they often lose the income that their family relied on. Pursuing a wrongful death claim can help you recover the cost of treating your loved one’s injuries and the money they would have earned working. The at-fault party may be forced to compensate you for your loved one’s pain and suffering.
The North Carolina wrongful death lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices understand what you’re going through and would like to offer our assistance. We can help you heal financially, if not emotionally. Our years of experience helping surviving families recover compensation make us a reliable resource for those who want to know if their loved one’s death qualifies. Just call (877) 333-1000 to schedule a free initial case evaluation to find out.
How Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work
Under North Carolina law, a surviving family member or estate representative can bring a wrongful death action when the wrongful, reckless, or negligent acts of another person or entity cause someone to die.
The personal representative of the deceased person files a claim or lawsuit for monetary compensation in these civil cases.
The statute of limitations (or legal time limit) for filing a wrongful death claim in North Carolina is two years. There are some exceptions to this, so the rules can be confusing. Starting the process as quickly as possible will help you gather pertinent evidence and documents before they’re lost. Experienced legal counsel from DeMayo Law Offices will ensure your claim meets the necessary deadlines.
Why It’s Important to Have a Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death claim is a complex process. You need to gather numerous documents to prove your claim, including incident reports, medical records, photos, and non-public records like employment histories. To prove medical malpractice, you must obtain the services of a medical expert witness.
Theoretically, you could do it yourself. But if you want the best chance to win a full, fair financial settlement, you need an experienced attorney.
A seasoned DeMayo Law Offices lawyer can prepare and file your wrongful death claim, so you don’t have to navigate the complicated system on your own. If we have to, we can bring your case to court and prove its validity in front of a judge.
Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
Almost any kind of fatal accident caused by someone else can prompt a valid wrongful death case, but most claims fall into one of the following categories.
Statistics gathered by the National Safety Council reveal that an estimated 38,800 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2019. This is a small reduction from previous years, but it’s still a shocking number. Careless drivers who speed, drive drugged or drunk, or engage in other dangerous behaviors often cause these fatal crashes. They can be held responsible for their recklessness or negligence in an automobile accident wrongful death claim.
Sometimes doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel make grave errors or fail to provide adequate care. When medical staff does not follow the correct procedures, they can make mistakes during surgery, while diagnosing an illness or injury, treating an illness, or prescribing medication. These mistakes can be fatal. When they are, you can initiate a wrongful death claim against the doctor or other caregiver that caused your family member’s death.
Selling defective products to consumers can be hazardous. Unfortunately, every year the market is filled with dangerous drugs, toxic food, faulty vehicle parts, and even harmful children’s toys. The federal government requires companies to test their goods before they reach consumer shelves, so if they release an unsafe product, they are at fault for any injuries it causes. Manufacturers and sellers of defective products can be held liable for wrongful death using product liability law.
Employers must provide a safe working environment for all of their employees. Certain occupations are inherently higher risk, but deadly accidents can occur at any job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 5,250 workplace fatalities occurred in 2018.
When a fatality happens in a North Carolina workplace, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provides death benefits to the surviving family. However, if another entity besides the employer is at fault, such as an equipment manufacturer, your attorney can help you bring a wrongful death action against that party.
Our compassionate legal team at DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P. can sort through the complexities of a workplace wrongful death and advise you of all of your options.
Property Accidents (Premises Liability)
Property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their premises safe, but not all do. When a death occurs because a property has not been maintained responsibly, you may be able to begin a premises liability claim. They can be brought against home, land, or business owners, and even government entities. Some examples of premises liability accidents are:
- Slip and falls
- Dog bites and other animal attacks
- Physical assaults
- Swimming pool drownings
- Malfunctioning property equipment injuries, such as escalators or elevators
Premises liability wrongful death claims can be more complicated than others. It’s not enough to just verify that the death occurred on the property and that the property was in a hazardous condition. You must also prove that the property owner was aware of the danger but failed to fix it or provide adequate warning about the hazard.
It is important to have a knowledgeable lawyer who understands the intricacies of North Carolina wrongful death law so that they can build a strong case on your behalf. DeMayo Law Offices has a team of attorneys who are trained to make the best argument possible.
Nursing Home Negligence
People who can no longer care for themselves on a daily basis often move into nursing homes. These residents and their family members depend on their caregivers to keep them safe and comfortable. That makes them extremely vulnerable when those caregivers are negligent.
Sometimes nursing home staff or other residents take advantage of this vulnerability and intentionally harm someone who can’t defend themselves. Other times, conditions within the facility prevent appropriate medical or personal care. Both situations constitute nursing home negligence.
Unfortunately, nursing home employees and administrator negligence causes preventable, untimely death every year. When this tragic loss of life happens, family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the facility.
Types of Damages to Recover in Wrongful Death Actions
When at-fault parties settle a wrongful death claim or a judgment orders them to do so, the compensation they pay to surviving family members is referred to as “damages.” In North Carolina, the types of damages that courts can award in these cases can include funds for:
- Medical expenses incurred by the injury that lead to death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering of the deceased
- Loss of the deceased’s income, services, care, and companionship
In rare cases, a judge may award the victim’s family punitive damages. Courts award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party for the conduct that led to the wrongful death and discourage other people or companies from engaging in similar neglectful behavior.
Although monetary compensation can never undo the tragic loss of a loved one, it can relieve the financial burden you face and provide your family with some comfort and security.
Choose DeMayo Law Offices to Handle Your Wrongful Death Case
The attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices have over 150 combined years of experience. Since 1992, we have represented thousands of clients and attained numerous large settlements and verdicts for them. With so much practice, we have the experience to handle any wrongful death case and pursue compensation that acknowledges the value of your loved one’s life.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death
Here are some answers to a few common questions about wrongful death claims. Our experienced attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices can answer any other questions you have when you call (877) 333-1000.
How do I know if I have a wrongful death claim?
Any death caused by the negligence of another person or entity can be the basis for a wrongful death claim. Proving this can be a complicated process. An attorney who understands the laws and procedures for wrongful death cases, like ours at DeMayo Law Offices will determine if your claim has legal merit.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
In North Carolina, claims must be filed by the designated personal representative of the deceased. This representative is either the executor of the will or if there is no will, the administrator of the estate.
Who is eligible to receive the damages from a wrongful death lawsuit?
Damages awarded for North Caroline wrongful death claims first pay any outstanding estate expenses, medical bills, funeral expenses, or legal fees. The surviving family members—spouse, parents, siblings, and children—receive the remaining amount.
We’re Here to Help
Unfortunately, there are more causes of wrongful deaths than we can cover. If you have lost someone due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, please allow us to review your case. You may be able to demand fair compensation from the responsible party.
The NC wrongful death lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices will work diligently to win the settlement or judgment you deserve. We know you need compassion and respect during this difficult time, so we’ll never talk down to you. Instead, we’ll walk you through the whole process, step by step. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation by calling us today at (877) 333-1000 or fill out our brief online form.
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