Wrongful Death Lawyers in Raleigh, N.C. Seeking Justice For the Families of Wrongful Death Victims
Suddenly losing a loved one is a challenging time for the entire family. However, if a family member has died due to wrongful death, the emotional distress can seem unbearable. In addition, if the decedent was the primary means of financial support for the family, the stress and anxiety are compounded even more.
Brent Adams & Associates of Raleigh, N.C., is a personal injury law firm dedicated to helping families receive the justice they deserve after the wrongful death of their loved ones. We recognize that no amount of compensation can bring your loved one back. However, we are passionately committed to assisting families in holding the responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions.
If you have suffered the death of a loved one in a wrongful death case, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and other related costs. Contact our law offices and ask to schedule a free case evaluation. We will review your case and determine if a wrongful death claim is appropriate for your circumstances.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
Sadly, wrongful death can occur due to a variety of causes. However, several common causes seem to be cited more commonly in most wrongful or wrongful death claims. They include:
- Construction accidents or other workplace accidents
- Car accidents
- Defective product
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
You may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit if you have lost a loved one due to the above-listed causes. Due to the complicated nature of wrongful death cases, you will need a qualified attorney to assist you with this type of legal action. Our legal team comprises attorneys with extensive experience in successfully handling wrongful death claims and obtaining maximum compensation for families.
What is Considered to Be Wrongful Death in North Carolina?
Wrongful death in North Carolina is defined as neglect or any type of wrongful act caused by the negligent actions of another person that would have entitled the deceased to file a personal injury lawsuit had they lived. Therefore, a wrongful death lawsuit is, in essence, a personal injury lawsuit that the victim can no longer bring for themselves and is instead filed by their legal representative to recover damages.
If you are uncertain if the fatal accident that took your loved one is legally considered wrongful death under North Carolina law, you need to speak with a knowledgeable attorney immediately. Brent Adams & Associates of Raleigh, N.C., has wrongful death attorneys who can explain the often overly complex laws surrounding wrongful death claims and address any concerns you may have about moving forward with your case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in North Carolina?
North Carolina law stipulates that only a decedent’s legal representative may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This personal representative is typically the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate. However, often in wrongful death cases, the deceased has not left a will, and therefore no one has been indicated to be the executor of the estate. In these types of instances, the family of the deceased can petition the court to appoint a personal representative. This appointee can then file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent.
However, suppose the individual who has been previously named in the decedent’s will cannot or is not willing to serve as the legal representative. In that case, the court will appoint another individual to serve in their place. Some of the most common choices of personal representatives include:
- Surviving spouse
- Adult children
If you are considering filing a lawsuit, it is in your best interests to hire a qualified wrongful death lawyer who can assist you protect your legal rights and assist you with the various complexities that surround these types of cases.
What Kind of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you have lost your loved one due to a qualifying event considered a wrongful death, you may be entitled to recover economic and non-economic damages. While no money can ever bring your loved one back, it can help your family with many unexpected expenses you may experience.
Economic damages are awarded to reimburse families for expenses they may have incurred due to their loved one’s death. In addition, economic damages may also be granted to cover the cost associated with any medical care or treatment the decedent acquired due to the injury that led to their death.
Some of the most common include:
- Funeral and burial expenses (within reason)
- Lost income
- Future earning capacity
Non-economic damages differ from economic damages as they do not have a monetary value attached to them. Instead, non-economic damages are awarded based on the unique circumstances that surround your case.
Some of the most commonly awarded non-economic damages include:
- Compensation for the pain and suffering the decedent endured before they died.
- Mental anguish suffered after the death of a loved one.
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and advice
- Loss of services, care, and protection of the decedent.
In certain instances, requesting punitive damages against the party responsible for wrongful death may be appropriate. Punitive damages are meant to punish the liable party if the act that caused the wrongful death resulted from malicious, reckless, or wanton behavior that could reasonably be assumed to prove harmful or cause injury or death.
If a wrongful death settlement is reached, there is intestate succession law that governs who should receive compensation as follows:
- A surviving spouse receives the entire settlement if they are the only family of the decedent.
- If there is a surviving spouse and one child, the two receive half of the settlement.
- If there is a surviving and two or more of the decedent’s children, the spouse receives one-third of the settlement, while the siblings split the remaining two-thirds.
Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
North Carolina has a strict statute of limitations regarding the length of time a lawsuit may be filed. Typically, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the decedent’s death.
However, there are exceptions to the rules that govern the statute of limitations. For example, the rule may be suspended if a lack of mental capacity prevents an individual from handling their legal affairs. In addition, the rule may be postponed in cases where the sole survivor of the deceased is a minor-aged child. In these instances, the time limit may begin once the child turns 18 years of age.
Finally, if the cause of the wrongful death is not discovered until a significant amount has passed, then the statute of limitations begins once the cause has been discovered. For example, this commonly occurs in medical malpractice cases.
You must speak with a qualified attorney as soon as possible if you feel you have a wrongful death claim. Even though two years may seem like a great deal of time, it can go by quickly. If you fail to file within the specified time period, you could lose your only chance at recovering compensation for the death of your loved one.
Brent Adams & Associates of Raleigh, N.C., understands this is an emotional and overwhelming time for your family. We will be your advocate with the insurance company and provide legal representation should the case need to proceed to litigation in civil court to recover the financial compensation your family deserves.
If your family member has suffered wrongful death due to another person’s negligence, contact our law offices by calling 919-781-7590 to schedule a free consultation with a qualified legal team member. We will gladly answer your questions and explain your legal options.