Durham Wrongful Death Lawyer

NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

If someone you care for has passed away due to the negligence of another, you need legal advice from a wrongful death lawyer in Durham, NC to decide your next steps. Losing a loved one is very painful and is especially so when their death was caused by the wrongful act of another.

Surviving family members of those who have died unexpectedly may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual or company responsible if they want to seek compensation.

The wrongful death attorneys of The Bishop Law Firm are committed to helping surviving family members seek justice for the unexpected and wrongful death of loved ones.

We offer free case reviews and no fee unless you win. Start your free case review online now.

NC Personal Injury or NC Workers' Compensation?

Your loved one's wrongful death case could be handled under NC General Statute 28A-18-2 or, if they were harmed during a workplace accident, through NC Workers' Compensation law. This article discusses wrongful death outside of the work context. If your loved one was harmed at work, read about Death Benefits in NC Workers' Compensation.

Also read Durham Personal Injury Lawyer

What are Wrongful Death claims?

Wrongful death claims can arise from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, premises liability, work injuries, to name a few. If someone else's negligence caused the death of your loved one, a wrongful death claim should be explored.

In Durham, in 2022, 24 people died from car crashes (Durham Car Accident Statistics). In October 2023, CBS17 reported that the number of pedestrian deaths had quadrupled in Durham.

In addition to deaths from car accidents, "falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for North Carolinians of all ages" (via NC DHHS). A property owner's failure to warn of a dangerous condition can have devastating affects.

It should be noted that North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, which means that if your loved one was even 1% at fault for the incident causing their death, their estate cannot recover (but review Last Clear Chance Doctrine ). Contributory negligence is the harshest form of negligence for a plaintiff and only a handful of states still have it (but unfortunately, NC still does ).

In certain circumstances, the at-fault party may be facing criminal charges for their actions. If a criminal case has been filed, you will need to follow that case and provide any assistance requested by your local district attorney.

This may help a victim's family obtain justice as well as lay a strong foundation for a wrongful death claim. The outcome of the criminal case can have a serious impact on a wrongful death claim, so you need to do all you can to assist in the investigation and criminal proceedings.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

An estate will need to be created after your loved one's death to allow for the gathering of evidence, medical bills and funeral costs. The estate will need a personal representative appointed as well.

A North Carolina wrongful death claim can be filed by the deceased person's personal representative. This representative or estate will have the right to assert a claim against the at-fault party for their negligence which resulted in the injury to the deceased victim.

A thorough investigation of the at-fault party's' actions which caused the fatal injury will be needed by a Durham Wrongful Death Lawyer to determine if punitive damages are warranted. An accident reconstructionist or other experts may be necessary to attain maximum compensation.

What Can You Recover From a Wrongful Death Claim in Durham?

Under North Carolina’s wrongful death statute, there are four types of compensation to be awarded to the estate of the decedent whose death was proximately caused by the negligence of the at-fault party.

These damages include expenses for care, treatment, and hospitalization incident to the injury resulting in death; the deceased’s pre-death pain and suffering; reasonable funeral and burial expenses; and the present monetary value of the decedent to the persons entitled to receive the damages recovered. The statute also allows for compensation in the form of nominal and punitive damages.

Some of the above are straightforward, while others are not. Medical expenses and funeral expenses are all readily accessible amounts, but how do you value the present monetary value of a deceased person or the deceased’s pre-death pain & suffering?

Through North Carolina case law, the courts have determined a way to evaluate the present monetary value of a deceased person to their survivors. There is no fixed formula, but the courts allow jurors to consider several factors to calculate these damages. The factors include the net income which the deceased would have earned during the remainder of their life; the services, protection, care, and assistance provided by the decedent to their next-of-kin; and the society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice the deceased would have offered to their survivors, but for their untimely death.

Valuing pain & suffering for a living person can be difficult but valuing it for a deceased individual is doubly so because the deceased person cannot tell you what they went through. Fortunately, a thorough examination of the deceased’s medical records, as well as statements from witnesses, family, and friends, can all be used to bolster recovery for your loved one’s pain and suffering.

Punitive Damages can be awarded when the conduct of the negligent party was determined to be fraudulent, malicious, or willful or wanton. Punitive damages can be difficult to obtain, but when they are warranted, these damages should definitely be pursued.

Contact a Durham Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

Durham Wrongful Death Lawyers are able to help you navigate the stressful and often exhausting process of successfully investigating and bringing a wrongful death case to court and can provide a jury with guidance on the full cost to society caused by the loss of your loved one.

Call The Bishop Law Firm today to discuss your wrongful death lawsuit with an experienced wrongful death attorney today. We provide free case consultations regarding your legal options for receiving compensation and we do not get paid unless we win your case.

Also read North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer

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