North Carolina Wrongful Death Brain Injury Lawyer

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A wrongful death brain injury lawyer seated behind a desk, reaching for a law book while preparing for a case.Traumatic brain injuries have the potential to cause devastating life changes.

Research has shown that people who have suffered from head injuries have an increased risk of death in the years following the injury. However, there are still unknowns as far as what exactly links the head injury to the cause of death.

International studies have shown that even mild brain injuries make people almost twice as likely to die within the following fifteen years than people who have never had a brain injury. Researchers have not been able to determine why this likelihood is so high.

Other studies suggest that the increased risk of death is the greatest within the following seven years of the brain injury.

Some theories of why traumatic brain injuries increase the survivor’s chance of death are that the symptoms caused by the brain injury are actually what cause the fatalities. For example, traumatic brain injuries can cause seizures, which can develop into epilepsy, and any uncontrolled seizures can lead to death.

What Damages Can a North Carolina Wrongful Death Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Claim for Me?

The process of suing on behalf of a dead person is done through North Carolina’s Wrongful Death Act. This act dictates what can be recovered on behalf of the victim, such as:

  • Medical Expenses – including hospital stays, surgeries, and transportation
  • Pain and Suffering – the victim’s physical and emotional trauma that was endured before death
  • Funeral Expenses
  • Lost Income of the Victim – the income the victim would have received if the accident had not occurred
  • Loss of the Family Member – the deceased person’s protection, care, companionship, guidance, advice, assistance, society, comfort, consortium, and services

Medical Expenses

Any treatment the victim received before their death, including transportation to the hospital, will be charged to their estate. There are many victims of traumatic brain injuries who live for a long time with medical assistance before dying from their injuries.

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 assets, such as the family home, were only in the deceased’s name.

Pain and Suffering

The family can also receive financial compensation for any pain the victim experienced from the accident until death. Some deaths happen instantly while other people experience extreme pain from their injuries, and they may have suffered for a long time before help arrived if they were trapped somewhere or in the hospital or another care facility.

Funeral Expenses

According to Funeralocity, the average cost for a funeral in North Carolina is over eight thousand dollars and varies depending on the city, elected services, and service provider. Accidents that cause traumatic brain injuries are unplanned events that can leave families unable to pay for funeral arrangements.

Lost Income of the Victim

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.

Personal injury lawyers use economists as well as vocational and forensic accounting specialists to calculate the victim’s future earnings from the time of the injury until they would have reached retirement age if the collision had never occurred.

The specialists are able to accurately calculate this amount by reviewing the victim’s employment and earning history.

Loss of the Family Member

Family members are owed compensation for the loss of their loved one. Non-economic damages are for the loss of the individual.

Family members have lost the care, protection, and services of the deceased.

For example, a child who lost a parent also loses a guide, counselor, and comforter. A spouse lost a companion, support, and consortium.

They have lost their ability to build future memories and will suffer emotionally for the rest of their lives.

What Is the Life Expectancy of Someone With a Traumatic Brain Injury?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, despite initial hospitalization and inpatient rehabilitation services, about 50% of people with traumatic brain injuries will experience further decline in their daily lives or die within five years of their injury.

Traumatic brain injuries are unlike any other type of injury. People can become incapable of mentally performing tasks that were simple before their injury, and their personalities can change completely.

Every injury and every recovery is different.

Most traumatic brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls, and physical violence, including nursing home abuse. Many people recover to some degree, while others regress or succumb to their injuries.

There are even some unfortunate cases where the victim becomes dependent on others for their care but does not receive the care they need or are abused by their caregivers and lose their lives as a result.

If you have lost a loved one to a traumatic brain injury, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses and for the expenses you have incurred as a result of the injury.

The wrongful death attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson understand traumatic brain injury cases and will help you understand your legal rights and what options you have given your unique circumstances. Call (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation.

How Do I Know if I Have a Wrongful Death Brain Injury Lawsuit?

If someone you love has suffered a brain injury as the result of someone else’s actions or negligence, they are entitled to seek compensation for their injury and the subsequent damages. If this person dies as a result of their injury, their family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the brain injury.

Some brain injuries are obvious. For example, when the victim is hit on the head or is thrown through a windshield in an accident, they will be treated for a head injury right away.

However, some brain injuries are more subtle. For instance, a small child who falls unseen or someone who is in a car accident and suffers other injuries but does not realize that they have also hit their head because of the pain of the other injuries.

Low-impact injuries are often more complex because they go unnoticed or are treated with less urgency, which can allow them to become worse. Most head injuries are not obvious, and that is why it is so important for people to take all bumps and jolts to the head seriously.

A minor brain bleed has the potential to be lethal if left untreated, so be sure to always communicate all your symptoms with your doctor if you are ever in any type of accident. Early diagnosis and treatment decreases the severity of the brain injury and increases your chances of survival and recovery.

Approximately 1.5 million people fall victim to traumatic brain injuries every year in the United States. Traumatic brain injuries are categorized by the nature of the injury and put into the following classifications:

  • Open Injury: Penetration of the brain has occurred, usually from an object such as a bullet
  • Closed Injury: No penetration of the skull, but the brain has experienced an injury, typically from a car accident or a fall
  • Hypoxia: The brain has suffered from a lack of oxygen; there are many reasons for this, such as drowning, stroke, heart attack, or asphyxiation
  • Deceleration Injury: The brain is slammed against the inside of the skull, sometimes multiple times; these are also known as concussions
  • Toxic or Chemical Poisoning: The brain is exposed to a harmful chemical, such as carbon monoxide, lead, or a pesticide
  • Medical Reasons: The brain is damaged due to disease, infection, tumors, stroke, or surgery

Concussions are so common that they are often brushed off, but they have the potential to cause significant complications throughout the victim’s lifetime, especially when they occur in young children.

When a small child or baby experiences violent shaking or a hit to the head, possibly from a fall or something dropping on them, their blood vessels and nerves can suffer damage that may affect their brain development.

The elderly population is also particularly vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries from falls. They may fall at home and be left unable to get up for days before they are discovered.

They also often fall in nursing homes during transfers to and from a wheelchair or fall from bed.

What Are the Symptoms of Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury?

If your family member experienced a traumatic brain injury, they most likely experienced some of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Recurring headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Emotional distress
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • The inability to perform everyday tasks
  • Balance problems
  • Incoordination
  • Sensitivity to noise or light

Traumatic brain injuries may not become apparent for weeks or even months after the injury first occurred. It is imperative that all symptoms are reported to a medical professional and that they are taken seriously without delay.

If your deceased family member experienced any of these symptoms but was brushed off by doctors, contact a wrongful death lawyer immediately so that they can begin their investigation into your case.

When Should a Wrongful Death Claim Be Made?

When someone you love has died from a traumatic brain injury, the shock of the unexpected event may not wear off for quite some time. The last thing many family members think about when this tragedy happens is filing a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, there is a deadline for a claim to be made. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death.

There are some exceptions to this statute, so be sure to discuss your case with a lawyer as soon as possible after the death of your loved one. For example, the statute of limitations may be suspended for a child whose parent was killed in an accident until that child turns 18 years old.

Also, if someone is unable to handle their own affairs due to a mental impairment or illness, this lack of capacity may prevent a claim from being legally filed.

Who Collects the Money From a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

According to the North Carolina Wrongful Death Act, the people who collect the payout from a wrongful death claim are the same as the people entitled to receive an inheritance from the victim if the deceased dies without a will.

The total amount awarded for the claim may be divided between family members depending on their family dynamics and circumstances. A lawyer will be able to analyze your situation and discuss how the payout will be distributed.

A legal will cannot dictate who receives proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit as they are always distributed according to intestate succession. Different states have different intestate succession laws, so the distribution could be different in different cases depending on where the accident occurred.

Where Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed?

The lawsuit for a wrongful death claim is made in the court with jurisdiction over the case. This means the claim must be filed where the death occurred.

How Long Does a Wrongful Death Settlement Take?

The length of time to settle a wrongful death claim can range from a few months to several years. It takes time to gather evidence, and the case must be thoroughly investigated by all parties involved.

It is important to fully understand what happened in the accident and who was to blame before accepting any settlement offers.

Can Creditors Take From the Wrongful Death Proceeds?

The payout from a wrongful death settlement is made to the appropriate family members or other designated beneficiaries. The money is never made part of the deceased’s estate; therefore, creditors are not entitled to any of it. The proceeds are also not taxable.

Contact Tatum & Atkinson: Your North Carolina Wrongful Death Brain Injury Law Firm

If your loved one was tragically killed in a traumatic brain injury accident, we are so sorry for your loss, and we are here to help. We will take care of your case and ensure your family receives the best possible outcome.

Call Tatum and Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters at (800) LAW-0804 as soon as possible to discuss your options and if your situation qualifies for a wrongful death claim.