If your family has lost a loved one because someone else was negligent, you may think you should be compensated for the value of the person’s life being cut short. However, any North Carolina wrongful death attorney will explain that the law does not work that way. The reason is, the law recognizes that everyone is going to die, so the loss of life is not something you get compensated for.
However, there is a North Carolina Wrongful Death Statute that says family members of a deceased person are entitled to be compensated for some very specific losses, and the list is long. We will be glad to answer any questions you may have about a wrongful death claim, in a free consultation.
Who can bring the claim?
A wrongful death lawyer will help direct you to the best way to set up an estate for your deceased loved one. Under the law, the administrator of the estate is the person authorized to bring a wrongful death claim or a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased’s surviving family members (husband or wife, financially dependent children, parent, or sibling). The wrongful death attorney technically represents the estate administrator, and the administrator has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate, for all of the beneficiaries.
Time is of the essence
We know that talking about a legal case soon after your family members’ passing can be distressing. However, getting an experienced and qualified wrongful death attorney involved early in the case can make a big difference. First, the North Carolina statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death.
Also, like with any personal injury claim, a prompt investigation can help preserve the important evidence you will need to prove who is responsible for the death. For these reasons it is important to contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to start the process.
What can you expect your wrongful death attorney to do?
Our wrongful death lawyers work with private investigators and experts in diverse fields such as engineering, accident reconstruction and medicine to prove how the death was caused. In these cases, we often file a lawsuit right away, because we know the fight will be tough and because we want to act fast to preserve your rights.
This is what an estate administrator can ask a North Carolina jury to consider when it makes an award of monetary damages to the estate of someone killed by someone else’s negligence:
- Medical costs of the deceased before he died
- Pain and suffering of the deceased between the time of the injury and the moment of death
- Funeral expenses
- Net income of the deceased
- The loss of the deceased’s services (household chores, home maintenance, etc.)
- The loss of protection given by the deceased to his family
- The loss of the care and assistance given by the deceased to his family
- The loss of the deceased’s society
- The loss of the deceased’s companionship
- The laws of the deceased’s comfort
- The laws of the deceased’s guidance
- The loss of the deceased’s kindly offices
- The loss of the deceased’s advice
- Punitive damages if they are warranted
These are some examples of the kinds of cases our wrongful death attorneys have handled:
- A man who was driving to work when a woman ran through a stop sign, sending his truck spiraling into the air and crashing into a telephone pole and ejecting him from his truck
- A factory worker killed in a plant explosion
- A water softener installer whose driver’s door was sheared off by an oncoming dump truck
- A young married woman walking for exercise on the morning after the Fourth of July, when she was hit by a drunk driver who had tried to “sleep it off” before getting behind the wheel
- A woman participating in a charity ride who was struck and killed by the driver of the truck who tried to pass her on the left while she was making a left-hand turn
- A construction worker who was killed when the roof of an industrial building collapsed
- An injured worker who died after his doctor prescribed Methadone without monitoring whether his body could metabolize the drug
If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or other wrongful conduct, you should talk to a lawyer now to protect your legal rights. Contact the wrongful death lawyers of Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC for a free consultation.