Losing a loved one is a painful experience, but it can be particularly devastating when the death results from someone else’s careless, reckless, or otherwise negligent behavior.
Depending on the circumstances of your family member’s passing, you could be entitled to significant financial compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. While no amount of money can bring your loved one back, it can take some weight off your shoulders while providing your family with a measure of justice.
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., our Lincolnton wrongful death attorneys are standing by to help you demand this justice. Our legal team has decades of collective experience fighting on behalf of North Carolina families like yours. We have secured tens of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on their behalf.
If you’ve lost someone you love, and someone else was responsible, don’t wait another moment to pursue justice on their behalf. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Lincolnton wrongful death lawyer. It won’t cost you anything, and you won’t pay us a dime unless we win money for you.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action brought by the estate of someone who died because of the legal fault of another party. It compensates the decedent’s surviving family members for the losses they have suffered because of that person’s death. These losses could include lost companionship, lost income the decedent would have earned, and the costs of the decedent’s medical care before their death, among others.
Wrongful Death Laws in Lincolnton
North Carolina state law determines who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and under what conditions. In general, it holds that the estate of someone who died because of the wrongful acts of someone else can file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the losses the deceased suffered before death and the losses the survivors sustained as the result of their death.
One important thing to understand is that a defendant does not need to be convicted of a crime to be successfully sued in civil court. Civil and criminal cases are separate matters. Whereas the criminal justice system requires the defendant be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for them to be convicted, the civil courts require only that the defendant’s actions, in all likelihood, led to the decedent’s death.
Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts in Lincolnton
Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s passing, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for losses, including:
- Medical care, including the costs of hospital stays, surgeries, and transportation
- Pain and suffering your loved one experienced before death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income provided by your loved one
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of services provided by your loved one, such as chores around the house or car maintenance
It can be challenging to determine the total monetary value of your family’s losses without the help of an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Lincolnton. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with our personal injury attorneys as you begin the process of seeking justice and compensation.
How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work?
A wrongful death lawsuit arises when a person has died in a way that would have entitled them to file a personal injury lawsuit had they lived. Specifically, that means showing that the defendant (the person alleged to have caused your loved one’s death) owed your loved one a duty of care, failed to meet that duty of care, and, as a result, caused your loved one’s death. For example, that could be because they ran a red light and struck your loved one’s vehicle, because they were your loved one’s doctor and failed to follow proper medical practices, or because they assaulted your loved one in a fight.
The deceased’s estate brings a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased’s heirs.
When May an Event Lead to a Claim of Wrongful Death?
Practically speaking, any event that could lead to a personal injury claim could lead to a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim dies due to their injuries. Events that frequently give rise to wrongful death claims include:
- Medical mistakes and medical malpractice
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Dangerous consumer products
- Dangerous conditions in the workplace
- Dangerous conditions on other people’s property
- Pedestrian and bicycle crashes
- Assault and battery
Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
North Carolina stipulates that only the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate can bring a wrongful death action – although they do so on behalf of the decedent’s surviving family members. Typically, the personal representative is the executor of the estate. If the decedent had a valid will, they should have nominated a personal representative in that document. If they did not have a valid will, the court will appoint a personal representative, typically the deceased’s spouse, parent, or adult child.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in NC
Generally speaking, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the person’s death. If you wait until after this statute of limitations has lapsed, the party responsible for your loved one’s death can move to have the case dismissed as untimely. That would most likely result in the court dismissing the suit and your right to demand compensation.
This statute of limitation means that time is of the essence after your loved one’s passing. It’s important to discuss your case with an experienced wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible, so you don’t lose your chance to demand the justice your loved one deserves. Many families find comfort and closure through the wrongful death claims process.
Contact a Lincolnton Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., we’re ready to help you during this difficult time. Contact our offices today for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Lincolnton.