North Carolina Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawyer

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An early warning device on a city road with a blurred out black car accident scene in the background.For many people, losing a loved one is the worst thing imaginable. The loss of someone dear to your heart is even worse when their death is completely preventable and meaningless and caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness.

This unexpected loss is devastating to the family left behind and often leaves them in a state of shock that lasts long past the funeral. Everyone’s situation is different, but many families find themselves uncertain about their financial future and what to do, especially when the one they lost was the earner of the primary source of income.

The attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters are knowledgeable and compassionate and will answer all your questions if you have lost someone in a wrongful death car accident. They will guide you through the entire legal process, so you have one less thing to worry about.

If you have lost a family member in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s reckless actions or negligence, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your losses. When someone else causes a car accident that results in one or more fatalities, the family typically has the legal right to recover compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and any other financial losses directly related to the collision.

The driver at fault for the accident should be held accountable for taking your loved one’s life. The lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson understand that there is no dollar amount that is enough to make up for the death of your loved one.

A wrongful death claim is meant to assist your family in reclaiming financial stability, as an unexpected loss can be financially devastating. The claim may also help bring your family some closure for your loss and help you move on with your lives, remembering the good times with your family member instead of focusing on what tore you apart.

Filing a wrongful death claim may be the last thing on your mind while mourning the loss of your loved one, but it is best to get the ora started as soon as possible after the loss. Contacting the experienced attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson right away will ensure that your legal options are available and handled appropriately from the start.

Consulting with one of our compassionate and experienced lawyers is one of the best things you can do in this difficult situation and we will take care of your best interests throughout the entire legal journey. Call (800) LAW-0804 today for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances.

What Services Do North Carolina Wrongful Death Attorneys Provide?

If you are in the painful position of having to file a wrongful death claim, an experienced North Carolina wrongful death car accident attorney will be an incredible asset for you. Your lawyer will perform a number of services for you, including the following:

  • Investigation of the accident to uncover the true causes of the wrongful death. This investigation will include seeking possible sources for causes that occurred before the accident occurred.
  • Discovery of all individuals, companies, or other entities responsible for causing the wrongful death.
  • Research appropriate insurance policies for sources of compensation.
  • Collect and prepare evidence of damages suffered as a result of the accident.
  • Identify those eligible to receive compensation for the wrongful death.
  • File claims for wrongful death with applicable insurance companies.
  • Put together the necessary elements to create a strong lawsuit for the wrongful death.

What Are Wrongful Death Claims in North Carolina?

A wrongful death is defined by Forbes as when a person or entity fails to fulfill a legal duty and causes a death to occur. When this happens, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by certain surviving family members or by a personal representative from the estate of the deceased.

This lawsuit is filed in a civil court for monetary compensation for the loss of the family member and any expenses that were incurred due to the accident. There may also be a criminal prosecution against the person responsible for the accident, but that is a separate case, and both cases are able to proceed without having to wait for a verdict of one to affect the other.

What Can the Family Get From a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

According to North Carolina General Statute 28A‑18‑2, when a person’s death is caused by “a wrongful act, neglect or default of another,” the person, corporation, or entity responsible may be sued just as they could have been if the deceased person had lived.

The victim’s family typically pursues this claim, or it is pursued by an assigned representative on behalf of the victim’s estate. Whoever is seeking compensation in the wrongful death lawsuit must provide evidence that the victim’s death was caused by the defendant’s negligence, wrongful act, or default.

What Evidence Is Required in a Wrongful Death Case?

The evidence required in order to be successful in a wrongful death lawsuit must prove that the defendant is guilty of the following:

  • They caused the death of the victim
  • The defendant should have known that his or her reckless actions, carelessness, or failure to act could lead to the death of another person

For example, if the driver was speeding excessively, logic should have informed them that exceeding the speed limit was unsafe and could cause a fatal car accident if a collision were to occur.

As any driver would have been able to reasonably foresee the danger of speeding, the driver who chose to speed should be held liable for providing compensation to the family for causing the death of one or more people.

Does It Matter if the Deceased Was Partly at Fault for the Accident?

North Carolina is different from other states in that it has a law called the contributory negligence law. Under this law, anyone who contributed to causing an accident is not eligible to recover damages.

This means that if the defense finds that the deceased had even the smallest share in the responsibility for the accident, the surviving family members would not be able to pursue compensation for their damages.

The harshness of this law is another reason why having a knowledgeable attorney working on your behalf is so crucial. Discovering who was at fault for the accident and determining any negligence or other wrongdoing is a complicated matter.

Your lawyer from Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters has experience in investigating car accidents and knows what to look for. They will make sure you are aware of your legal options and will advise you based on your specific circumstances.

What Types of Damages Can Be Claimed In a Wrongful Death Case?

The deceased’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:

  • Funeral Expenses
  • Transportation Of the Deceased
  • Burial or Cremation Expenses
  • Medical Bills For the Deceased As a Result of the Accident
  • Lost Wages the Victim Would Have Earned Had They Lived
  • Pain and Suffering of the Deceased
  • Whether the Deceased Was a Caregiver
  • A Reasonable Value For Non-Economic Damages
  • Property Damages

Funeral Expenses

According to Funeralocity, the average cost for a funeral in North Carolina is over $8,000 and varies depending on the city, elected services, and service provider. Car accidents are unplanned events that can leave families unable to pay for funeral arrangements.

Transportation of the Deceased

Many people travel far from home in their cars. The cost to bring them home varies wildly depending upon the following criteria:

  • Distance They Must Travel
  • Fees for Shipping Arrangements
  • Method of Transportation
  • Weight of the Deceased

Distance They Must Travel

Some people ride their cars around their hometown, while others take epic road trips. It is possible that the accident occurred in a rented car while the rider was on vacation on the other side of the world.

According to Funeral Wise, the average cost to ship a body by land within the United States is between $1 and $4 per mile.

Fees for Shipping Arrangements

Funeral homes typically handle the shipping and receiving arrangements on behalf of the family for a fee. This cost can start at $500 and go up to $5000 or more.

Method of Transportation

Air travel will cost more than ground transportation, but it is the most practical way to bring someone home from overseas. It is also the fastest method of transportation. The cost of an international flight for human remains can exceed $10,000.

Weight of the Deceased

There is also an expense for the container that the body will travel in. Larger individuals will require a more sizable container for a more significant fee.

Burial or Cremation Expenses

Direct burials without the coat 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.

Medical Bills for the Deceased As a Result of the Car Accident

Car accidents are often horrific, but with advancements in standard safety equipment in modern vehicles, many victims of car accidents survive the initial crash. Unfortunately, some victims 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 assets were only in the deceased’s name.

Lost Wages the Victim Would Have Earned Had They Lived

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.

Pain and Suffering of the Deceased

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 or if they were trapped somewhere.

Whether the Deceased Was a Caregiver

A caregiver is someone responsible for providing care for a child, senior, or disabled person at least 50% of the time. North Carolina Law states that the value of caregiving is worth 110% of the state’s average weekly wage at the time of death.

A Reasonable Value for Non-Economic Damages

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 all are losing future memories and will suffer emotionally for the rest of their lives.

Property Damages

The vehicle the victim was riding in will also have to be repaired, replaced, or otherwise compensated for the reduction in value. Anything that was in the vehicle that was harmed will be added to the list of damages.

Will There Be Punitive Damages in My Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Punitive damages are meant to punish the guilty party for their wrongdoings that caused the collision and death. The victim’s death must have been caused by the willful acts or malicious conduct of the defendant.

The majority of car crashes are not done on purpose, which is why they are called accidents. This is why most wrongful death lawsuits do not include punitive damages.

There are only specific circumstances where punitive damages would be considered appropriate.

Contact a North Carolina Wrongful Death Car Accident Law Firm Today

If someone you love has been tragically killed in a car accident in North Carolina that was caused by someone else, contact the Heavy Hitters at Tatum & Atkinson as soon as possible. We will represent your family to make sure that you get the best possible outcome from your wrongful death case.

Call (800) LAW-0804 today for a free consultation.