Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in North Carolina?
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Although no amount of money can reduce the anguish you are experiencing, a wrongful death claim can provide you and your family with financial relief and hold the responsible party accountable during this tragic period. If you’re going through the grieving process and want to know more about these claims in North Carolina and recoverable damages, it’s best to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney.
Understanding Wrongful Death
A death that is the result of a “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another person is known as a wrongful death. Personal injury accidents, as well as intentional criminal acts, may lead to wrongful death. At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we represent clients who have lost their loved ones because of car accidents, truck collisions, motorcycle crashes, nursing home neglect, slip and falls, medical malpractice situations, or intentionally-inflicted injuries.
Personal Representatives May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In North Carolina, the only individual who has the right to file a wrongful death claim is the personal representative of a decedent’s estate, which is either the Executor or Administrator. It is important to note that an estate must be opened in order to bring about a wrongful death claim.
If the deceased had a will or an estate plan, the personal representative listed would serve as the person filing the claim or lawsuit. In the event they did not have a will or estate plan, the court will appoint one. Typically, the court will appoint a surviving spouse, parent, or child of the deceased as the personal representative.
Types of Recoverable Damages
Compensation or damages may be available for a wide variety of losses resulting from the passing of your loved one. According to North Carolina law, the damages that may be recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Loss of companionship, comfort, protection, and services
- The pain and suffering the decedent endured before their death
In some North Carolina wrongful death claims, punitive damages may be recovered. Rather than repaying the loved ones of decedents, the purpose of these damages is to punish the behavior that led to the death, and warn other individuals and organizations not to engage in similar types of actions that led to the individual’s death.
Since recoverable damages vary from case to case, it is wise to consult a wrongful death lawyer who can investigate your case and inform you of which damages are applicable in your situation.
Proving Wrongful Death
To collect compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must demonstrate that the alleged at-fault party acted with negligence. To do this, you are required to prove the following elements:
- The party had a responsibility to act in a reasonable manner to prevent injuries.
- The party failed to act in a reasonable manner.
- The lack of action or negligence proximately caused the victim’s death.
North Carolina wrongful death claims must be filed two years from the death of your loved one. If you miss this statute of limitations, you may lose your opportunity to recover damages.
Do You Want to Know if a Wrongful Death Lawsuit is Right for Your Family? Contact Us for Help
If you have lost a loved one due to another party’s negligent actions, you are likely experiencing a number of emotions as you grieve your loss. While you and your family spend time with each other and concentrate on healing, reach out to a wrongful death lawyer at Randall & Stump, PLLC. A lawyer from our firm can handle all aspects of your case.