Losing a loved one is painful enough on its own. But when their death is caused by the negligence or misconduct of another party, the grief can feel infinitely more unjust. In North Carolina, families have legal options in situations like this—but navigating them requires the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, act of negligence, or at the hands of a reckless individual or corporation, please reach out to our firm today. At Donaldson Law Firm, our Wilmington wrongful death lawyer can investigate the details of your case, determine eligibility to file, and craft an aggressive legal strategy aimed at maximum compensation. Contact us now for a free consultation.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in North Carolina
North Carolina General Statute 28A-18-2 governs wrongful death claims in the state. This law allows certain family members to sue for compensation when negligence, recklessness, or an intentional act results in death.
Specifically, a wrongful death is defined as a death caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or corporation.
Some common causes of action include:
- Medical malpractice – Death resulting from a doctor’s negligence, such as a misdiagnosis or surgical error.
- Automobile accidents – Fatalities caused by reckless or impaired drivers.
- Defective products – A dangerous product like a faulty crib contributes to an infant’s death.
- Nursing home abuse – Death due to negligence by a nursing home facility or staff.
In North Carolina, the claim must be filed within two years from the date of death, as per statute NCGS §1-53. While no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, it can provide financial stability for the future and a sense of justice.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in NC?
The deceased person’s spouse, children, parents, personal representative, or any other beneficiaries who were financially dependent on them may potentially file a wrongful death suit.
Those able to initiate the claim include:
- The personal representative of the estate
- The spouse or domestic partner
- The children
- The parents
- The siblings
- Other dependents
An attorney can evaluate your relationship with the deceased to determine if you are eligible to pursue compensation through a lawsuit or settlement. They will advise you on the strongest plaintiff to name in the claim.
Choosing the Right Wilmington Wrongful Death Attorney
Due to the complexity of wrongful death law and the emotional weight of these cases, you need a personal injury attorney well-versed in North Carolina’s statutes and case law. A lawyer who has handled similar cases and taken them to trial if necessary can increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Look for an attorney who has:
- Extensive experience handling wrongful death claims, specifically in NC. The litigation process differs from other personal injury cases and even varies by state.
- A track record of securing favorable verdicts and settlements for clients. An accomplished lawyer knows how to build a strong case and fight for maximum compensation.
- The resources to take on large insurance companies and corporations. Wrongful death suits often involve complex litigation with experienced defense counsel.
- Compassion and care for grieving families. This is a vulnerable time, and a good lawyer will be in your corner through it all.
When comparing attorneys, don’t hesitate to ask questions about their background, legal approach, and how they’ve helped past wrongful death clients. Though no amount of money can replace your loved one, the right lawyer can relieve some financial stress and secure a measure of justice.
Proving Liability in a North Carolina Wrongful Death Claim
To receive compensation, your wrongful death attorney must prove the defendant’s legal liability. According to North Carolina case law, this involves showing that their negligence, misconduct, or wrongful actions caused your loved one’s death.
Our lawyer uses various strategies to establish liability:
- Thorough investigation – Gathering police reports, medical records, and other documentation to understand the circumstances of the death.
- Discovery – Depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production to uncover additional details.
- Securing evidence – Photos of accident scenes, defective products, and other tangible evidence.
- Expert testimony – Doctors, engineers, accident reconstructionists, etc., to analyze evidence.
- Demonstrating duty of care – Establishing what reasonable care the defendant owed to the deceased.
- Proving breach – Showing how they failed to uphold this duty of care.
- Causation – Linking the breach of duty directly to the death.
- Proving damages – Quantifying the compensation owed to family members due to the loss.
This takes extensive litigation experience. An accomplished NC wrongful death lawyer will build the strongest case possible to hold negligent parties fully accountable.
Settlements and Compensation in North Carolina Wrongful Death Claims
North Carolina law permits recovery of both economic and non-economic damages in wrongful death suits. This may include funeral and burial expenses, loss of income, costs for care of dependents, and more. Additionally, under NCGS §28A-18-2, plaintiffs can seek compensation for the emotional trauma of losing their loved one, not just quantitative monetary losses.
To determine a settlement demand amount, your lawyer will calculate both economic and non-economic damages. This factors in potential lost future earnings, the closeness of your relationship to the deceased, and the egregiousness of the defendant’s behavior.
Statistics show that a majority of wrongful death suits settle out of court before trial. However, your attorney must be fully prepared to take the case to trial and fight relentlessly for maximum compensation if needed. Their experience and willingness to go the distance level the playing field against big insurance companies.
Why Choose Donaldson Law Firm for Your NC Wrongful Death Case
Here at Donaldson Law PLLC, we’re dedicated advocates for North Carolina families who have lost loved ones due to another party’s negligence or misconduct. Whether your case involves medical malpractice, auto negligence, nursing home abuse, or defective products, we have the litigation experience to build a strong claim.
Our team understands this is an incredibly difficult time, and we provide compassionate counsel each step of the way. We take pride in helping to ease financial burdens and delivering the justice your family deserves.
Contact Donaldson Law Today
Losing someone you love is a profound loss, no matter the circumstances. But a wrongful death amplifies the pain and injustice. North Carolina provides legal recourse, but navigating it requires a knowledgeable local attorney.
With an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Wilmington guiding you, you don’t have to shoulder this burden alone. Consider reaching out today to learn how we might be able to help your family find a measure of closure and compensation. You deserve devoted counsel and advocacy during this difficult time.
Contact us today to schedule a free case review.