Wrongful Death in North Carolina
The death of a loved one is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult when the death occurs due to the negligence of another. When your loved one passes away unexpectedly, they can leave the family with a large void. The family of a wrongful death victim may be owed compensation for their damages. An experienced North Carolina wrongful death attorney can help you and your family during this stressful time.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when someone dies due to the negligent, wrongful act or default of another. A wrongful death does not necessarily mean that the person who caused it intended to cause harm. Instead, a person could be responsible for a death because of the negligent or wrongful acts they took or because they failed to take action. Everyone has a duty of care to ensure that what they do does not harm someone else.
One common example of wrongful death may be when a victim dies following a car accident. The driver responsible for the accident may not have intended to hurt anyone, but his negligent actions might have resulted in death. For instance, the driver may have been speeding or might have driven through a red light which caused the accident and subsequent death.
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “Are the laws or rules applying to a wrongful death claim different from a personal injury not involving death?”
What Causes Wrongful Deaths?
There are many types of accidents and incidents that might result in wrongful death. Some of the common reasons for wrongful deaths include car accidents, truck crashes, bicycle accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, construction and work accidents, and criminal acts. Vehicle accidents may result in injuries and fatalities. If the driver was negligent, the result could be considered a wrongful death. A person does not have to be charged or found guilty criminally to bring a wrongful death case.
Wrongful Death Damages
There are many damages that a family may incur as the result of a wrongful death. Damages may be economic or non-economic. Some of the damages allowed for wrongful death in North Carolina include:
- Medical costs
- Pain and Suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Value of the deceased person to the claimant
- Punitive damages
- Nominal damages
Some costs are economic, meaning that there is an actual dollar amount. Medical costs, for instance, are economic because there is an actual bill for them. Non-economic damages are those that do not have an automatic dollar amount associated with them. For example, pain and suffering is non-economic damage. The court has some discretion when deciding non-economic damages. The judge will evaluate many factors to determine non-economic damages.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Only someone who meets the criteria can file a wrongful death claim. Usually, the spouse or other close relatives seek to obtain compensation for the death of their loved one. In North Carolina, only the estate administrator, executor of a will, or a person identified through intestacy laws can file a wrongful death claim. An estate administrator is typically a surviving spouse, adult child, or parent of the deceased.
If your loved one died because of the negligence of another, you may be owed compensation for the damages you suffered. Contact our attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a free consultation.
Sometimes an accident happens that does not result in a serious injury. If there are no damages, you could not prevail in a personal injury claim. Every case is different and has a unique set of facts. The best way to determine how to proceed is with guidance from a skilled personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will evaluate the merits of the case to help you decide whether it is prudent to move forward with a personal injury case. If you suffered serious injuries or other damages, you might be able to prevail in your case.
Contact our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.
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