How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
If you have lost somebody that you love due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual or entity in North Carolina, there is a good chance you will be able to recover compensation for your losses. In some cases, this may include a settlement with insurance carriers involved. However, it may also be necessary to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault party. If your claim is successful, then you may be wondering how the wrongful death settlement is eventually paid out.
Who Can Receive Wrongful Death Payments in NC?
When we examine North Carolina law related to wrongful death claims, we can see that only the personal representative, often referred to as the executor, of a deceased individual’s estate is allowed to file a claim in court. If the deceased had a will, then they likely named a personal representative there. If there was not a personal representative named or if the person named cannot serve, the court will appoint another individual. It is not uncommon for surviving family members to act as a personal representatives in these cases.
The damages awarded in a wrongful death claim will go to the deceased individual’s surviving family members or the estate (or both). Damages in a North Carolina wrongful death case can provide various types of compensation, including:
- Medical for hospital expenses resulting from the injury that caused the death
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before their death but after the injury
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The loss of the deceased individual’s income
- The loss of the deceased’s protection, care, assistance, and services
- The loss of comfort, companionship, guidance, society, and advice provided by the deceased
How Are Payments Made?
Wrongful death claims in North Carolina may be paid out in a variety of ways. If the claim is settled with insurance carriers or as a result of a jury verdict, the payments may be made in one lump sum soon after the settlement is made, or they may come in monthly installments until the entire payout is made.
We strongly encourage all family members and personal representatives to work with a skilled North Carolina wrongful death attorney from the beginning of their case. An attorney will help them investigate the wrongful death incident and handle the claim in court. Additionally, a wrongful death lawyer will help individuals understand how these payouts work.
Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
In North Carolina, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim in court. Failing to file a lawsuit within this two-year timeframe will likely result in the estate and the surviving family members becoming unable to recover any compensation for their losses. A judge will likely dismiss the case in this situation. When you work with an attorney to help with your case, they will be the one to guide you towards the best possible path to success, including making sure the claim gets filed on time with the insurance carriers and with the civil court system.
Call our Raleigh wrongful death lawyers today.