Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The damages available in wrongful death lawsuits vary according to state law. North Carolina’s philosophy is that a wrongful death claim exists when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another, and if the injured person had lived, they would have had the right to sue for personal injury. The basic purpose of the state’s Wrongful Death Act is to put the legal beneficiaries of the deceased person in the same financial situation that they would be in had their loved one not died. Beyond this, our wrongful death laws also allow the victim’s family to collect for lost companionship and the relationships that are taken due to fatal accidents.
Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Action
The damages recoverable in a lawsuit for wrongful death are specified in the North Carolina Wrongful Death Act, and include the following:
- Medical expenses for the care, treatment, and hospitalization of the victim; related to the injury that resulted in the wrongful death.
- Compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent endured before loss of life.
- Reasonable funeral expenses.
- Compensation for the loss of the net income, services, protection, care, assistance, companionship, comfort, and guidance of the decedent.
- Punitive damages for wrongful death caused by intentional conduct, acts of malice, or by willful or wanton misconduct.
Wrongful death lawsuits often involve extremely complex areas of law including the laws of evidence and damages, and the laws governing estates and the passing of wealth and property at time of death. Wrongful death actions also involve complex damage calculations, including not only income and benefits but also the monetary value of services and care provided by the deceased person. Because wrongful death actions frequently result in large damage awards, personal injury lawyers typically retain expert witnesses, such as economists and actuaries, to ensure that we collect this highest possible payment for the benefit of surviving family members.
Contact Our Raleigh Personal Injury Attorneys Today
Did you lose a loved one to wrongful death? The experienced wrongful death lawyers at Nagle & Associates, P.A. offer competent and compassionate representation to those initiating a wrongful death claim. Please contact our firm online or call (800) 411-1583 to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your family’s circumstances.