Wrongful Death

Durham Wrongful Death Attorneys

Ready to Advocate for Your Family in North Carolina

Have you lost a loved in an accident that was not their fault? The state of North Carolina allows the bereaved in these instances to seek compensation for loss of their loved ones from those who are legally responsible. No financial recovery can make up for the loss of a loved one, but careful consideration should be made about the financial implications of these tragic accidents for those left behind.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone else or a company, such as through a tragic auto accident, you likely have grounds to seek compensation for your loss. At Kornbluth Ginsberg Law Group, P.A., we understand the difficulties mourning families face in these circumstances and what can be done to ensure that their claims for compensation are clearly and assertively put forth.

It is possible to seek relief for you and your loved ones at this difficult time. Call our Durham wrongful death lawyers at (919) 336-1932.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

In North Carolina, only the personal representative of the deceased's estate can bring a wrongful death suit to the court. This can be done on behalf of all potential beneficiaries, however (including the personal representative if they are a close family member).  Any compensation which is received will pass outside the decedent’s estate under North Carolina’s intestate succession laws.  This means that the wrongful death compensation will generally favor the decedent’s closest heirs and not pass according to the decedent’s Will or Trust.  This also generally means that the wrongful death proceeds will not be subject to any creditors’ claims of the decedent’s estate.

Damages that can be sought in a wrongful death claim include:

  • Medical expenses incurred prior to the deceased's death
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Any pain and suffering the deceased experienced before death
  • Lost income that the deceased would have earned
  • Loss of protection, services, and care
  • Loss of companionship, comfort, guidance, etc.
  • In some egregious situations, such as drunk driving, there may also be grounds for punitive damages.

How Long Do I Have To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

While the facts of each case are different the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in North Carolina is generally two years. If you and your family believe you have a claim for wrongful death, our personal injury team is ready to hear from you. We're ready to hear your loved one's story, your family concerns, and help you in this difficult time.

Can I Recover Damages For Emotional Distress?

In the devastating event that your loved one has passed away due to the negligence of others, a person will often leave the situation with permanent emotional distress. fear, and daily difficulties that you did not have before.  In these situations, it is necessary to take legal action right away. No amount of money can truly compensate for your hurt, but our firm is ready to help you seek justice!  

In order for a person to recover damages for their emotional distress, they will need to provide proof of such distress and that such could have been reasonably foreseen as a consequence of the negligence of the at-fault party. Oftentimes, friends and/or family members may provide evidence that your emotional distress is negatively impacting your daily life, your career and your overall ability to function.

How To Prove a Negligent Act in a Wrongful Death Case

The plaintiff must show that it is "more likely than not" that the defendant's negligence or misconduct led to the death of the individual. The plaintiff typically must establish the elements below:

  • Duty of Care: The accused had a legal obligation to ensure the deceased's safety. A doctor, for example, must give effective medical care to their patients.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant breached their duty of care. Using the same example, a doctor may have breached their duty of care if they committed a medical error that other licensed medical professionals would not have made under the same circumstances.
  • Causation: The breach was directly responsible for the death. This means that if the defendant had not failed their duty of care, the death would not have occurred.
  • Damages: The death resulted in measurable damages, such as funeral expenditures, lost income, and the deceased's anguish and suffering before death.

How Is Compensation Determined In A Wrongful Death Settlement?

Compensation in a wrongful death settlement is determined by many elements and varies from case to case. First, economic damages are taken into account, which can include the deceased's lost income, medical expenses, funeral costs, and any other financial losses associated with the death. These are usually simpler to quantify because they are based on real costs or expected future earnings.

Secondly, non-economic damages are considered, which can often be more subjective and harder to quantify. These may include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship or consortium.

Additionally, punitive damages may be awarded in some circumstances to punish the defendant for reckless or irresponsible actions and to discourage others from practicing similar behavior. Settlements are usually paid out by the at-fault party's insurance carrier, either as a single sum or as a structured settlement.

Kornbluth Ginsberg Law Group, P.A., is ready to stand with you and your family. Contact us at (919) 336-1932 to request a consultation.

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