Wrongful Death Attorney
When someone dies as a result of the wrongful act, intentional or negligent, of another, North Carolina law allows the executor or administrator of that person's estate to file an action for wrongful death. Damages recoverable in a wrongful death action include funeral expenses for the decedent, and, if death was not instantaneous, expenses incurred for the care and treatment of the decedent prior to death, and for the decedent's pain and suffering prior to death. In addition, losses to those persons entitled to share in the award or recovery, such as loss of the services, care and assistance of the decedent, the society, companionship, comfort and guidance of the decedent, and losses attributable to earnings the decedent would have had are also recoverable.
Fatal Accident Lawyer
Under the wrongful death statute, the funds recovered in a wrongful death action are not considered assets of the decedent's estate and are not applied to the debts of the decedent, except for funeral expenses and a limited amount of medical expenses. The balance of the recovery, after payment of expenses incurred in maintaining the action, including attorney fees, is paid to those person entitled to share in the award. Under North Carolina law the people entitled to share in a wrongful death award are those people who would have been the decedent's heirs if the decedent had died without a will. This is true even if the decedent left a will.
While in North Carolina the statute of limitations period for most personal injury actions is 3 years, the period for wrongful death actions is only two years. Therefore it is important that action be taken to preserve and prosecute these claims without unnecessary delay.
Prosecuting a wrongful death claim involves a number steps, including:
- Investigating the circumstances of the incident resulting in death
- Identifying sources of insurance that may be available
- Setting up claims with insurance companies
- Setting up and administering the estate of the decedent
- Developing and presenting evidence relating to damages suffered by the decedent
- Identifying those persons entitled to share in the wrongful death award
- Developing and presenting evidence regarding the losses suffered by those persons
Because of this, serious consideration should be given to retaining an attorney to assist in prosecuting the claim.
If a loved one has been a victim of wrongful death, call PenistonDeason at 704-373-0203 or Contact Us. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.