The death of a loved one is the worst nightmare for most people. When the loss is the sudden and unexpected result of someone else’s negligence, the devastation is made worse by the legal and financial burdens that must be dealt with.
Every wrongful death case is unique. There are countless factors involved in determining the outcome of these sensitive matters.
Consulting with a North Carolina wrongful death attorney is the best way to get a clear picture of the legal process and to understand what will happen in your situation.
Only a small percentage of claims for damages in a wrongful death case actually go to trial. The majority of cases are settled out of court.
A personal injury attorney will negotiate on your behalf to get you the settlement you deserve. The experienced lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson are knowledgeable about wrongful death cases and know what to push for and what to expect.
They will guide you through the settlement offers so you can be sure you are getting a fair amount.
The probability of settling out of court depends on the circumstances surrounding your unique case. Most wrongful deaths are completely preventable, and courts are not always sympathetic towards the defendant.
The defendant and especially their lawyer know that they are not likely to win their case in court. In order to avoid costly court fees and possible punitive damages, depending on the severity of the situation, it is in the defendant’s best interest to settle out of court.
Insurance companies also want to avoid having to pay extra fees and will try to settle out of court. Your personal injury lawyer will assist you in knowing how much your case is worth so that you get fair compensation.
Settling out of court will get you paid faster. Going to court takes time because you have to prepare your case, wait for your court date, and prove your case in trial, which can take time as well.
There will also be costly court and litigation fees. Just because you are offered a settlement does not mean that you have to accept it. However, there are some good reasons to accept a settlement offer:
Insurance companies will often present a low offer as though it is very generous to make you believe that you are not entitled to more. In reality, what they have offered might not even cover all your expenses, not to mention everything else that you are entitled to receive.
Always contact a wrongful death lawyer to negotiate the settlement amount for you to make sure you get fair compensation.
The deceased victim’s family is the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit. If successful, the court will order the defendant to pay the plaintiff’s claimed damages.
The determination of the value of the award for damages potentially includes the following factors:
According to Funeralocity, the average cost for a funeral in North Carolina is just over $8,000 and varies depending on the city, elected services, and service provider. Wrongful death accidents are unplanned events that can leave families unable to pay for funeral arrangements.
Not all wrongful death accident victims die close to home. The cost to bring them home varies wildly depending upon the following criteria:
Direct burials without the cost of a funeral added range between around $1,200 – $1,600. Cremation is approximately just under $1,000.
The cost for each method fluctuates depending on location and the type of coffin or urn chosen.
Wrongful death accidents are horrific, especially when high speeds or falls are involved. With the advancements in safety features in vehicles today, many people survive the initial crash.
Unfortunately, some still succumb to injuries and die in the hospital. Any treatment they received before their death, including transportation to the hospital, will be charged to their estate.
While families are not responsible for paying these expenses, medical bills are expensive and would take a large portion, if not all, of the deceased’s estate. Some families could be left with nothing, especially if family assets were only in the deceased’s name.
The income the deceased would have earned if the accident had not happened is also calculated in a claim for damages. This amount is significant to families who depend on the victim as the household’s primary income source.
The family can also receive financial compensation for any pain the victim experienced from the accident until death. Some deaths happen instantly, while other victims experience extreme pain from their injuries, and they may have suffered for a long time before help arrived or if they were trapped somewhere.
Family members are owed compensation for the loss of their loved one. Non-economic damages are for the loss of the individual.
For example, a child who lost a parent also loses a guide, counselor, and comforter. A spouse is losing a companion, support, and consortium.
They are losing future memories and will suffer emotionally for the rest of their lives.
There is also consideration given to the value of the victim’s life. For example, if the victim provided professional services, that would have allowed them to increase their earning potential exponentially.
Waiting to go to court is not for anyone. You should discuss your options with your attorney to decide what is best for your situation.
Some elements to consider include:
The insurance company will also be looking at these factors when deciding if they wish to go to court or offer a fair settlement. Your attorney will help you weigh the pros and cons, but the decision is ultimately yours.
It is possible to accept a settlement offer without ever consulting a lawyer. However, insurance companies often offer less to victims without legal counsel because they know you do not have experience in legal matters, so you probably do not know how much your claims are worth.
Victims with lawyers negotiating on their behalf are usually offered fair settlements quickly. They also tend to have higher settlements than victims who pursue claims without lawyers.
There are many factors that impact the strength of your wrongful death lawsuit. Discussing these matters with your lawyer will give you a good indication of how well your case will go if it continues on to court. Some of the factors affecting your case include:
At Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters, we offer free consultations to discuss your case, and we will not charge you anything until we have achieved a satisfactory outcome for you. Contact us at (800) LAW-0804 to speak with an experienced attorney.
We do not let insurance companies take advantage of our clients. Every case gets individualized attention and care.
With over sixty years of combined experience, you can be sure that you are in good hands.
You have been through a horrible tragedy by losing your loved one. Let us handle the fight to get you the best possible compensation.