Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident caused by a negligent driver is a devastating experience. While you may be grieving and not thinking about money during this difficult time, it is important to take steps to make sure whoever caused the accident is held financially responsible. Learn the facts about filing a wrongful death claim and see how an attorney can help.
Is Wrongful Death a Criminal or Civil Case?
When someone is injured by the negligent or reckless actions of another party, the injured victim can seek monetary compensation for their damages. In a wrongful death case, the victim’s injuries were so severe that they did not survive the accident. The surviving relatives of that victim may still come forward and file a civil lawsuit to recover damages on behalf of their loved one.
A wrongful death claim is a civil case because it seeks to recover monetary compensation for the damages sustained by the victim and by the victim’s family. A civil case can take place at the same time as a criminal case if, for example, the victim was killed by a drunk driver who is being charged with a felony.
Who Can Seek Compensation for Wrongful Death?
North Carolina laws give immediate relatives the right to seek compensation in cases where their loved one has died as a result of another party’s wrongful act, neglect, or default. In practical terms, that means a wrongful death claim can be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. The personal representative is usually named in the will. If the decedent had no will, a probate court would appoint one.
That person may initiate a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries. This would allow any surviving beneficiaries (usually the decedent’s spouse and children) to receive compensation for damages, including any medical bills, funeral expenses as well as loss of future income. It can also include compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of companionship.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help?
If your loved one was killed in a car accident, a wrongful death attorney such as the ones at Brent Adams & Associates can help you fight back to hold the at-fault party responsible for your loss and your damages. Reach out to our office at (910) 249-6891 to learn more.