Wrongful death claims can be hard to navigate when suffering from a loss of a loved one, especially if you were dependent on the deceased. The Daniel Holoman & Associates team is here to provide you with FAQs about wrongful death claims to assist you in this difficult time.
What is considered a wrongful death?
A wrongful death claim is a civil cause of action for damages when a person’s negligence causes the death of another person. A wrongful death claim can be brought under a number of different circumstances, including death caused by:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Drunk driving wrecks
- Truck crashes
- Falls or other injuries due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property
- Injuries from dangerous or defective consumer products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
How long do wrongful death cases take to resolve?
There’s not a set answer for this question, as the length of the case depends on the particular facts of the case, including where the case occurred, the amount of evidence in the case, the number of issues that need to be litigated and the number of parties, witnesses, and experts that are involved. It can take anywhere from few months to a few years. There are many complexities to each case which is why legal counsel is advised before proceeding with a wrongful death claim.
Can any relative of the deceased file a wrongful death claim?
Not exactly. In North Carolina, only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This may be a person that was named as the executor in a will; or if there is not a will, the family will need to decide who will be the administrator and personal representative of the estate and apply for appointment with the court. In many wrongful death cases, this is usually a surviving spouse, parent, or adult child.
When should I file a wrongful death claim?
The statute of limitations in North Carolina (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-53 (2021).) for wrongful death claims is two years of the person’s death, which means the case needs to be filed before two years have passed. Other states have different time limits for filing wrongful death actions, so it is important to talk with a lawyer that is familiar with the laws in your state. Because these cases often involve detailed investigations that can take time, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible if you believe you may have a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one.
How are damages calculated?
Damages in a wrongful death case will depend on the particular facts of each case. In North Carolina, the Wrongful Death Act only allows for certain categories of damages in these cases, which include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased
- Loss of the deceased person’s income and assistance
- Loss of the society and companionship of the deceased
- Loss of the services, protection, care and assistance of the deceased
In certain cases, the jury can also award punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. These damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter them from similar behavior in the future.
Our Wilmington Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help.
Our experienced attorneys understand how hard it can be after suffering a significant loss in the family, which is why we are here to help you seek justice on behalf of your loved ones. If you have any questions about filing a claim, do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team as soon as possible. You deserve justice, and we are here to fight for you.
The Daniel Holoman & Associates team handles wrongful death litigation in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Call our office today at (866) 380-2281 or visit our website to fill out a form for a free consultation.