Raleigh Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one in a preventable accident caused by another’s negligent actions, you have rights under North Carolina law to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact Nagle & Associates, P.A. to speak to a qualified wrongful death lawyer who can help determine who was responsible for the death of your loved one as well as how you should be compensated. We offer free consultations; call (919) 433-0035 today.
Why Choose Our Firm
- We have successfully obtained more than $400 million for North Carolina clients.
- Our success is based on decades of experience and the founder of our firm’s knowledge, having previously worked for insurance companies.
- We do not take a cent out-of-pocket, and only once we have won your case do we charge one of the lowest industry fees — twenty-five percent of your settlement or one-third of your jury award.
How Working with a Raleigh Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help Your Case
Hiring a Raleigh wrongful death lawyer to represent your loved one’s case can be beneficial to your total settlement award. They understand and know the laws applicable to wrongful death cases and frequently work with insurance companies to negotiate fair settlements. This is a trying time for your family, and you should not have to bear the burden of dealing with an insurance company alone. An attorney will have your best interests in mind and fight to ensure your awarded compensation accurately reflects your losses.
North Carolina’s Definition of Wrongful Death
Under Section 28A-18-2 of the North Carolina General Statutes, a wrongful death claim exists when “the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another.”
In other words, the family of a deceased loved one has the grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased individual could have pursued a personal injury claim had they survived.
Who Can Legally File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Raleigh?
North Carolina law limits the persons who may file a wrongful death lawsuit to the court-approved administrator of the deceased victim’s estate. Only two types of people may serve as a personal representative:
- The person named as the administrator of the victim’s estate, if the deceased had a will; or,
- If the deceased victim did not have a will, anyone who would qualify as a personal representative under North Carolina’s intestate succession law.
One of the deceased’s family members can petition the court to appoint someone to act as Administrator of the Estate if the personal representative is unwilling or cannot pursue the claim. Although the estate is responsible for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, any money recovered is distributed according to the provisions of the state’s intestate succession law.
In most cases, wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date of a loved one’s death, under North Carolina’s statute of limitations. If the case is not pursued within that time period, the family will likely lose out on their chance of obtaining compensation.
Common Wrongful Death Cases
There is a large variety of fatal accidents that are grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. However, our Raleigh wrongful death lawyers represent families who have lost loved ones in:
- Car accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Truck accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents; and,
- Work zone accidents
If you believe your loved one suffered a wrongful death, a lawyer can review the facts of the accident and determine if there is a party that can be held responsible.
Available Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
There are two types of damages often awarded to surviving families in wrongful death claims, economic damages which are measurable losses, and non-economic damages, which are subjective losses. “Damages” refers to the compensation sought for a legal wrong committed by another party. The damages awarded will vary based on the circumstances of each case and may include:
- Medical bills related to the death;
- Funeral, cremation, or burial costs;
- Loss of the victim’s expected wages;
- Loss of benefits;
- Reduction in the inheritance suffered by surviving children;
- Loss of parental guidance;
- Loss of support and services that the victim provided, such as childcare;
- Loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice.
- Conscious pain and suffering the deceased endured due to their injuries; and,
- Nine percent interest on top of the damages awarded, which are calculated from the date of death.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant’s actions were malicious or egregious. Unlike other types of compensation, punitive damages are intended as a punishment to the at-fault party.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
To claim compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, the following elements must be proven:
- Duty of Care: The at-fault party owed the deceased a duty of care. For example, the duty to drive carefully and obey the rules of the road.
- Breach of Duty: The at-fault party violated their duty by failing to act with the same level of care that a reasonable person would provide in a similar situation. For example, a negligent driver who operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of their duty of care directly led to the individual’s death.
- Damages: The surviving family suffered actual losses as a result of their loved one’s death.
A wrongful death attorney will help you gather the necessary evidence to use as grounds for filing the claim and as proof of liability. That will involve
- Investigating the accident to determine who was responsible.
- Obtaining police reports, medical records, photos, and videos,
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Hiring expert witnesses to reconstruct what happened or show how your life and that of your family have been negatively affected by your loss, and testify accordingly.
North Carolina applies contributory negligence in wrongful death cases. This law is quite harsh, as it means that if a deceased victim was even one percent responsible for their fatal accident, their family cannot recover compensation. As a result, each case requires a carefully planned legal strategy to ensure liability falls on the correct party.
Speak to a Dedicated Wrongful Death Attorney in Raleigh
Our lawyers at Nagle & Associates, P.A. look out for our clients and care about your future. Call our Raleigh wrongful death attorneys to get started on your case at (919) 433-0035. We offer free consultations, and if you are unable to come to us, we will come to you.