If someone you care for has passed away due to the negligence of another, you need legal advice from a wrongful death lawyer in Raleigh, 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 loved ones 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.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
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 ).
A NC wrongful death claim allows the deceased person’s personal representative or estate to have a claim against the at-fault party for their negligence which resulted in the injury to the deceased person.
What Can You Recover From a Wrongful Death Claim in North Carolina?
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 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 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.
NC Personal Injury or NC Workers’ Compensation?
Your loved one’s wrongful death claim 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.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Raleigh, NC Today
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 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 Overview of a NC Personal Injury Case