Wrongful Death Attorney in Cary
Common law dictates that the deceased cannot pursue a suit against another person, therefore any legal claim ends once the plaintiff is dead. However, several states have passed wrongful death statutes which give families the ability to pursue compensation if their loved ones died due to the negligent actions of others. Though a human life can never be replaced, these wrongful death statutes allow families some measure of compensation for that which is irreplaceable.
We understand the importance and the time it takes to grief for these terrible losses, but to get the compensation your loved one deserves, call and speak to one of our attorneys soon, as the statute of limitations in North Carolina for recovery from wrongful death cases is two years. If you want to speak to a wrongful death lawyer, contact one of our attorneys at the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood in Cary today at 919-233-0520.
Example instances where a wrongful death claim may result:
In addition to the above cases, another important consideration in a wrongful death payout is a lien from Medicaid. A legal requirement of receiving Medicaid treatment is the repayment of medical expenses in the event of a settlement, but this amount is capped under the special circumstance of a wrongful death suit. To learn more about how our attorneys can help in this situation, please visit the Medicaid lien page.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by a personal representative of the defendant or the defendant’s estate. Representatives are typically appointed based on the deceased’s estate plan. They are usually immediate family members of the deceased. In most cases, they are the spouse or adult children of the deceased. However, if a representative is not appointed or the representative refuses to pursue the lawsuit, the court can appoint a representative.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death is defined as a fatal personal injury caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another. A wrongful death claim is when a representative seeks to recover from damages caused by the party that caused the death. Wrongful death lawsuits are often filed to receive financial compensation to help preserve the family and help with expenses related to the family’s needs. These cases can also be used to set new legal precedents, severely punish the responsible party in cases of gross negligence, and help families achieve some closure. While no amount of money can bring a loved one back, settlements can help provide financial security when the family’s financial provider has passed.
To prove a wrongful death claim you need to establish duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. An example of a wrongful death claim with all of these components would be a drunk driver causing an accident that results in the death of another driver.
- The drunk driver had a duty to follow the laws for regulating a vehicle
- The drunk driver breached the duty by driving drunk
- The drunk driver’s reckless driving and inebriation caused the accident and the drunk driver was intentionally causing a situation that would likely end in someone being injured or harmed
- The resulting damage was a family losing a loved one, damages to their vehicle, losing financial security, funeral expenses and costly medical bills
Calculating Wrongful Death Damages
Calculating damages caused by wrongful death is very complex and there are many different factors to consider. Judges and juries must take into fact the actual damages caused by the incident and the future earnings and life expectancy of the deceased. In many cases, expert witnesses provide opinions on potential damages. Your wrongful death attorney will be the best person to speak to about damages.
How are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
North Carolina has a specific law regarding the payout for wrongful death cases. The North Carolina Intestate Succession Act provides how the decedent’s estate will be distributed in cases where an NC citizen dies with no valid will. These same laws apply to wrongful death suits even if the deceased has a will. This means that estranged family members and those who were intentionally left out of the will still have their rights to their share of the settlement. If you have questions about the distribution of proceeds from a wrongful death settlement, contact our law firm in Cary, NC.
Due to the time limitations with a wrongful death claim, please contact one of our attorneys as soon as possible, at 919-233-0520, if you feel that you may have a claim.