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What is Wrongful Death in North Carolina?

By Randall & Stump excels in criminal defense, serving clients in Charlotte, NC & other surrounding cities.
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Category Wrongful Death
Tuesday, February 19, 2019

wrongful death

Every death is a tragedy, but when another person had a hand in your loved one’s passing, it is even harder to bear. Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys has helped many families navigate wrongful death cases with compassion and aggressive advocacy. If you need assistance figuring out legal issues in the wake of a tragedy, call our Charlotte wrongful death lawyers at (980) 237-4579, or reach out online to schedule a free consultation of your case.

What Counts as a Wrongful Death?

Under North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) § 28A-18-2, any passing caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default of another” may result in possible grounds for a lawsuit. If the person had been injured instead of killed, and been able to bring a personal injury claim against the defendant, their personal representative could bring a wrongful death claim against the same individual.

A personal representative will either be named in a will, or the court will appoint one, usually a surviving spouse, adult child, or parents. This person can file on behalf of both the estate and other family members.

Even if a crime was committed in connection with the death, a lawsuit could still be filed in civil court, separate from any criminal proceeding. The personal representative is allowed to bring any evidence of how the loss has cost the family before the judge and jury.

What Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Claim?

After a wrongful death in Charlotte, you can file a lawsuit to recover:

  • Money for medical care, treatment, and hospitalization related to the injury that resulted in death.
  • Compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased.
  • Reasonable funeral expenses for the deceased.
  • The monetary value the deceased gave to the people bringing the lawsuit
  • Nominal damages, which recognize a legal wrong was done

If the fatal accident was caused by another person’s malice, or willful or wanton conduct, the jury might award punitive damages to the family. Normally, the amount of punitive damages is limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is more. If the defendant was driving while impaired, however, no such cap exists.

How Quickly Must a Lawsuit Be Filed?

In North Carolina, wrongful death lawsuits must generally be filed within two years. The clock does not start ticking until the date of death.

The statute of limitations, paperwork, and standard of evidence can be complicated, so the best way to see if you have a wrongful death case is to speak to a Charlotte personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Contact a Charlotte Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

If you do not submit a claim within the statute of limitations, you may not be able to file a lawsuit at all. A lot of details may be missed as more time passes, so it’s important to take action right away. Though money is often the last thing on a person’s mind after a traumatic accident, losing a loved one has a very real cost – and it’s one that you should not be paying if another person caused the death.

At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we know how wrongful death lawsuits work in North Carolina. Our attorneys provide full support, allowing your family to grieve and heal while we work on your behalf. For a free consultation, contact us today at (980) 237-4579.