What You Should Know About North Carolina’s Wrongful Death Laws
The unexpected death of a loved one can be heart-wrenching, especially when it is caused by the negligence of another person or entity. While no amount of money can make up for the loss, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is one way to seek justice and accountability on behalf of the deceased.
In North Carolina, wrongful death laws exist to protect survivors in their pursuit of justice. It should be noted that wrongful death cases can be emotionally challenging and complex, so having an experienced attorney is crucial in maximizing your chances of getting a favorable outcome.
This article will discuss what wrongful death is and offer more information on North Carolina’s wrongful death laws.
What Is Wrongful Death?
In North Carolina, wrongful death is a term used to refer to a legal claim where someone has died due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person or entity. Wrongful deaths can occur as a result of medical malpractice, workplace accidents, motor vehicle accidents, intentional acts of violence such as murder, defective products, and other negligent actions.
Although financial compensation cannot undo what has been done, it can help families cope with the tragedy and serve as a deterrent against future negligence or wrongdoing. Each case is unique, so it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. Whitley Law Firm’s personal injury lawyers may be able to help, so reach out as soon as possible if you wish to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Who Can File for Wrongful Death?
Because there are various laws throughout states for wrongful death claims, some states actually limit who can and cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit. In North Carolina, to file a wrongful death lawsuit, an executor or administrator of the estate must be identified. Some individuals who could fill this role include:
- A surviving spouse
- Parents of the deceased
- Adult children
However, individuals with felony convictions are not qualified to serve in either role. It is important that whoever serves as the estate representative understands the relevant legal processes and procedures involved in filing and managing a wrongful death lawsuit successfully.
Furthermore, they need to clearly understand their legal rights and any financial obligations associated with representing the Estate in such a case.
What Damages Can Be Collected?
Damages are awarded to a victim’s family who has experienced an injury or wrongful death due to another party’s negligence. This compensation can include economic and non-economic damages, such as grief counseling services, lost wages, medical bills, and loss of companionship or guidance for children.
Damages also cover funeral expenses in the event of wrongful death. Victims and their families can seek damages related to physical pain and mental anguish caused by the incident. It is up to the court or jury to determine how much money should be awarded in a case like this.
Other special damages may be given besides these two main types of damages. If the court finds that the at-fault party was acting with conscious disregard for safety and life, punitive damages may also be applicable. Punitive damages are a form of legal action that can be sought when someone dies due to another’s negligence or reckless behavior.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for cases involving wrongful death is two years from the date of death, although there are some exceptions. For instance, in rare cases, a lawyer may be able to extend the deadline if they can provide evidence that demonstrates good cause.
Generally speaking, though, two years is the maximum time limit available for those filing a wrongful death claim in North Carolina. It’s important to understand this time limit and work with an experienced attorney who can help bring your case to court within it.
Begin Filing Your Wrongful Death Claim Today
Filing a wrongful death claim can be an emotionally and financially challenging process. It is important to seek legal advice if you are considering taking legal action for a wrongful death lawsuit. A skilled attorney can help you understand your rights, evaluate your case, and build a strong argument in court.
You don’t have to face this difficult time alone – get started by contacting an experienced lawyer today.