A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed when someone is killed due to another person’s negligence. If you’re a spouse, you have lost the companionship and financial support of your husband or wife. A child is left without the guidance and security that a parent represents. Parents face a future without their child. It’s a terrible prospect and an even worse experience to go through.
The purpose of a wrongful death suit is to hold the negligent party accountable for the life they took. The law also allows juries to consider additional costs such as funeral expenses, lost household income, and loss of companionship. At the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor P.C., we have helped many grieving families obtain the financial outcome they need to cope with these losses and move forward. In this blog, we explain when you can file a wrongful death claim in North Carolina or South Carolina, who can file, and the factors that go into determining your settlement.
How Do I Know If I Have a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed when someone who could have made a personal injury claim against another party dies from their injuries. This may occur in several situations, including:
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Motorcycle collisions
- Workplace accidents
The most critical element that must be present in order to bring forward a wrongful death claim is that the death was caused by negligence of another person.
Wrongful death cases must be filed within the statute of limitations for the state where the victim passed away. In North Carolina, this time frame is two years, while you have up to three years to file a claim in South Carolina.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Unlike some states, North Carolina and South Carolina only allow the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate to file a wrongful death claim. It is important to note that the estate must be opened before a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed.
Any damages recovered by the executor or administrator will go to the surviving family members of the deceased. In a wrongful death case in North Carolina or South Carolina, the following family members can recover damages:
- The surviving spouse and children
- Parents, if there is no spouse or child
- The deceased’s heirs, if there are no surviving parents, spouse, or children
Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In a wrongful death lawsuit, there are various legal factors a court looks to when determining damages. These can include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- The loss of companionship
- Loss of care and protection
- Pain and suffering experienced before death
- Burial and funeral expenses
You may be entitled to seek punitive damages when the conduct that led to your loved one’s death was reckless or grossly negligent. Your lawyer can explain how the courts have interpreted these legal terms. An obvious example would be driving while impaired or drunk driving. However, there are many other circumstances that may be egregious enough to warrant an award of punitive damages.
Get Compassionate Legal Help After a Wrongful Death Claim
When you lose a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, your family may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor P.C. in Hickory, Concord, Charlotte, and Greenville handle all wrongful death cases with compassion and diligence. Our goal is to protect your family’s future so that you can focus on your recovery. For more information, schedule your free consultation today.