Can I Sue For The Wrongful Death Of A Child In North Carolina?

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Can I Sue For The Wrongful Death Of A Child In North Carolina?

Experiencing the loss of a loved one is extremely difficult, especially when it’s because of someone else’s mistakes. In North Carolina, just like in many other places, families who have lost someone because of an individual’s actions can choose to seek justice by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This legal process aims to help the surviving family members by compensating them for the financial and emotional hardships they’ve faced.

Understanding Wrongful Death Laws In North Carolina

In North Carolina, the regulations concerning wrongful death are detailed in Chapter 28A of the state’s General Statutes. According to these regulations, a wrongful death happens when someone passes away due to another party’s negligence, wrongful action or failure. This can include various situations, including car accidents, medical errors, faulty products or even deliberate acts of violence.

Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death?

Not everyone has the authority to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, only specific family members or beneficiaries of the deceased hold this privilege. The following individuals in North Carolina may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

  • Spouse And Children. Typically, the surviving spouse and children of the deceased are entitled to file a wrongful death claim. If there are no surviving spouses or children, other family members might be eligible to pursue a claim.
  • If the deceased individual didn’t leave behind a surviving spouse or children, their parents might be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is especially important in situations where the deceased is a minor child.
  • Personal Representative. If there aren’t any surviving eligible family members to file a wrongful death claim, the deceased person’s personal representative of the estate might have the option to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries.

Types Of Damages Available

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the objective is to provide compensation to the surviving family members for the hardships they’ve faced due to the loss of their loved one. In North Carolina, the potential damages that could be awarded in a wrongful death case includes the following.

  • Economic Damages. These represent concrete financial burdens endured by the surviving family members, including medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income or financial assistance, and the worth of household help performed by the deceased.
  • Non-Economic Damages. These refer to the intangible losses that can’t be quantified with a specific amount, such as emotional anguish, pain and suffering, deprivation of companionship, and loss of consortium (which refers to the loss of advantages stemming from a family bond).
  • Punitive Damages. In certain circumstances, the court might grant punitive damages to penalize the defendant for exceptionally wrong behavior and to discourage similar actions in the future. Nonetheless, punitive damages aren’t accessible in every wrongful death lawsuit and are usually reserved for cases of extreme negligence or deliberate misconduct.

The Process Of Filing A Lawsuit

Initiating a wrongful death lawsuit in North Carolina can present a complicated and demanding journey, particularly for individuals grappling with the emotional aftermath of losing a loved one. Below are the fundamental stages in seeking a wrongful death claim.

  • Consultation With An Attorney. The initial step involves seeking guidance from attorneys who are experts in wrongful death lawsuits. This lawyer can examine your case particulars, determine the validity of your claim, and offer recommendations on the most suitable approach to take.
  • Investigation And Gathering Evidence. Upon retaining legal representation, your attorney will start investigating the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s passing, such as collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, scrutinizing medical documents, and seeking insights from experts to establish liability.
  • Filing The Complaint. Upon determining the validity of your claim, your attorney will submit a complaint to the appropriate court on behalf of eligible family members or beneficiaries. The complaint will detail the case specifics, including allegations against the defendant and the damages sought by the plaintiffs.
  • During this phase, both parties will exchange pertinent information and evidence. This may involve document requests and witness statements.
  • Negotiation And Settlement. In many instances, the parties may seek to settle the case through negotiations before trial. If an agreement is reached, it can streamline proceedings and offer a quicker resolution for surviving family members while saving time and expenses for all involved.
  • Should negotiation fail, the case proceeds to trial. Evidence and arguments will be presented by both sides to the judge or jury, who will make the final decision.
  • If either party is unhappy with the trial’s outcome, they may have the option to appeal to a higher court.

How Can A Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?

  • Case Evaluation. Initially, attorneys play a vital role in assessing the circumstances surrounding the death to determine the validity of the case. They meticulously scrutinize available evidence like police reports, medical records, and witness statements to establish grounds for a wrongful death claim. This initial evaluation lays the foundation for the legal strategy moving forward.
  • Legal Guidance. Once it’s confirmed that there are grounds for a wrongful death claim, attorneys offer clear and comprehensive legal counsel to the grieving family members. Given the variability of wrongful death laws across states, navigating these statutes can be daunting for those unfamiliar with the legal system. Attorneys help with the process by explaining relevant laws, deadlines, and procedures, ensuring the family fully comprehends their rights and choices.
  • Investigative Role. Attorneys also undertake the critical role of investigators in wrongful death cases. Pinpointing liability is pivotal, prompting attorneys to conduct thorough investigations into the death’s circumstances. They collaborate with accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and other specialists to gather evidence and construct a compelling case on behalf of their clients.
  • Damage Assessment. Another intricate aspect attorneys handle is calculating damages in wrongful death cases. They assist the family in assessing the complete scope of their economic and non-economic losses, factoring in elements like medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. Attorneys work tirelessly to ensure the family receives equitable and fair compensation for their losses.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies often constitutes a central aspect of wrongful death cases, and attorneys, equipped with negotiation skills, advocate effectively for their clients. They strive to secure settlements that adequately compensate the family for their losses while holding the responsible parties accountable.
  • Emotional Support. Apart from managing the legal facets, attorneys offer invaluable emotional support to their clients. The loss of a loved one is profoundly traumatic, and engaging with the legal system can cause grief and stress. Attorneys extend compassion, empathy, and guidance, assisting their clients in navigating the emotional intricacies of the legal process with care and understanding.

We’re Here To Help You With Your Case

If you or a loved one has been severely injured, don’t delay – call (800) 529-0804 right now for a free consultation with an expert car accident lawyer. When dealing with a stressful situation, you need a knowledgeable personal injury team to guide you through the recovery process. Contact Tatum & Atkinson, PLLC right away! There is no obligation, and it will not cost you anything to learn about your legal possibilities for pursuing compensation.


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