The immense pain of losing a loved one is amplified when their death is caused by the actions of another. While monetary compensation cannot bring a loved one back, it can help ease the financial burdens experienced with their passing.
If your loved one has died at the hands of another, Mehta and McConnell, PLLC., is ready to help get you the financial recovery you need and deserve.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
The North Carolina wrongful death statute states a wrongful death is “when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another…” Wrongful death typically arises when a loved one’s death is caused by another individual or entity’s act, omission, or neglect.
After someone’s death, the personal representative of that person’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for the death. If there is a will, the personal representative is often named in the will. If the victim died intestate, or without a will, the court can appoint a personal representative to handle the victim’s estate.
Who Can Receive Compensation for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Not just anyone can recover financially for the death of another. Typically, only the victim’s heirs can recover from a wrongful death lawsuit. The victim’s personal representative is the only individual allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit, and they do so on behalf of the victim’s family.
The compensation received from a wrongful death lawsuit will go to the victim’s estate. The personal representative can use some of the funds to pay for expenses of bringing the wrongful death action and any outstanding burial or medical expenses.
A court distributes the remainder of the money among the victim’s heirs. Heirs are those who would stand to inherit if the victim died without a will, usually meaning spouses, children, parents, or siblings, depending on the circumstances.
Damages Available for Wrongful Death Claims in North Carolina
After a loved one’s death, certain relatives can seek damages to cover expenses and suffering related to the decedent’s untimely passing. Wrongful death damages can include:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost income and benefits;
- Funeral expenses;
- The victim’s pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Loss of companionship.
In some cases, you may also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are a special type of damages the law uses to punish and deter defendants. If the defendant’s malicious or willful conduct caused the death, punitive damages may be granted.
In many instances, damages can be challenging to calculate. A wrongful death attorney will thoroughly review the details of the case to determine what damages are owed.
How Are Settlements for Wrongful Death Determined?
Putting a dollar amount on a person’s life is extremely difficult to do. However, in wrongful death claims, a calculation must be made to determine how much recovery is reasonable. To calculate fair wrongful death compensation, courts give a lot of weight to the following criteria:
- The age of the victim;
- The victim’s health at the time of death;
- The victim’s income at the time of their passing;
- The victim’s earning capacity;
- Overall value of lost benefits;
- Medical bills incurred;
- Funeral and burial expenses; and
- Ages and needs of the victim’s surviving dependents.
Your wrongful death attorney will review these very specific details to help determine a just wrongful death lawsuit settlement amount. They will also use evidence and documentation to support their conclusion.
North Carolina Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
While financial recovery can slightly ease the pain of losing a loved one, you may lose the right to receive any compensation if a wrongful death claim is not filed in time.
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the victim’s death. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the two-year period, you will more than likely lose your right to recover any sort of compensation.
Secure your right to recovery after a loved one’s death. Seek the help of a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Consult with a North Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney
Mehta and McConnell, PLLC., is a newly formed partnership with a combined thirty years of experience. Our firm aims to provide top-quality legal representation for clients in need.
We understand the frustrations that come with a loved one’s death, and we are standing by and ready to help. We offer free consultations. Contact us today, and let’s begin working on your case.