If someone you care for has passed away due to the negligence of another, you need to contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Raleigh, NC to discuss your case. Losing a loved one is very painful, and is especially so when their death was caused by the wrongful act of another.
Your loved one’s death could be handled by NC General Statute 28A-18-2 or if they were harmed at work, through NC Worker’s Compensation law. This article discusses wrongful death outside of the work context. If your loved one was harmed at work read our post about Death Benefits in NC Workers’ Compensation.
It should be noted that NC 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 see 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).
Under North Carolina’s wrongful death statute, there are four types of compensation to be awarded to the estate of the decedent 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 punitive and nominal damages.
Some of the above are straightforward, while others are not. Medical and funeral expenses are all readily accessible amounts, but how do you value present monetary value of a deceased person or the deceased’s pre-death pain & suffering?
Through NC 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 can not 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.
A Wrongful Death Lawyer in Raleigh, NC will be 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 true cost to society caused by the loss of your loved one.
The Bishop Law Firm represents the families of wrongful death victims in Raleigh, NC. We do not get paid unless we win your case and we offer free case evaluations, (919) 615-3095. We wish you solace and comfort for your loss.