The death of a loved one is not something anyone wishes to contemplate. A family’s grief is even greater when the cause of death stems from another’s wrongdoing – such as recklessness, negligence, or even willful misconduct.
At Ward Black Law, we understand the profound impact an unforeseen, unjust loss can have on the surviving family. During this time of grief, the family often has trouble handling the legal burden of a wrongful death claim.
The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Ward Black Law in Greensboro, NC, can help put the family at ease. We work tirelessly for our clients all across North Carolina to ensure that our clients and families are able to spend more time coping with their emotional trauma and grief – and less time worrying about complicated, often frustrating legal work.
If you and your family have lost a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful acts or omissions, contact Ward Black Law today. One of our wrongful death attorneys will help you understand your legal rights and options at no charge, and you will learn how our firm can help your family pursue the compensation and justice you deserve. We handle cases in Greensboro and throughout North Carolina.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in NC?
North Carolina’s wrongful death statute provides the legal beneficiaries of a deceased person with a way to avoid the often-devastating financial consequences of a loved one’s death. A legal representative of the deceased person’s estate must be the one to file a wrongful death claim. The claim is against the party that caused the victim’s death.
The legal representative is usually the executor of the deceased person’s estate, as named in the will. If the named executor declines to serve or if the deceased person did not have a will, the court will appoint a personal representative to represent the deceased person’s estate. That party is called an administrator. Courts typically appoint a close family member, such as a spouse, an adult child or a parent, to serve in that role.
How a Greensboro Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
When your family has lost a loved one due to someone’s wrongful actions, a Greensboro wrongful death attorney from Ward Black Law can help. The attorney can pursue financial recovery and justice for the family.
Our attorneys can assist your case by:
- Investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s death and recovering evidence that can be later used in a wrongful death claim
- Identifying the parties at fault for your loved one’s passing
- Collaborating with medical professionals and expert witnesses to prepare reports and testimony that shows how your loved one died and why the other party bears responsibility for your loved one’s passing. Experts can also show the extent of financial losses your family.
- Filing claims for compensation with at-fault parties and their insurance companies
- Negotiating for a settlement that can give you and your family the financial compensation, justice and resolution that you need and deserve
- Preparing to take your claim to court, if it becomes necessary, and advocating for a judgment in your family’s favor
Demanding Full Compensation for a Wrongful Death
After your family has lost a loved one to a wrongful death, your loved one’s estate and your family may be entitled to compensation for damages incurred due to the wrongful death. The damages might include:
- Medical expenses incurred to treat your loved one’s final illness or injury
- Lost present and future income due to your loved one’s death
- Conscious pain and suffering endured by your loved one prior to death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of your loved one’s services, protection and assistance to the next-of-kin
- Loss of your loved one’s companionship, society, guidance and advice to the next-of-kin
When your loved one’s passing is caused by conduct that is considered egregious, you and your family may also be awarded punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer for that behavior and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Any settlement or jury award in a wrongful death lawsuit is distributed to the heirs of the deceased individual, in accordance with the North Carolina Intestate Succession Act. Any monetary settlement is not generally considered an asset of the deceased person’s estate and is not generally subject to creditors’ claims. However, some awarded funds may be used for funeral costs and medical expenses.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims in North Carolina
Under North Carolina law, you have a time limit, called the statute of limitations, to file a lawsuit for compensation over the wrongful death. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations in wrongful death claims is usually two years from the date of the family member’s passing.
Filing your lawsuit after the expiration of the statute of limitations can allow the court to permanently dismiss your case. That means you will lose your right to seek any compensation.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Common causes of wrongful death in Greensboro and throughout NC include:
- Car accidents – Although advances in safety technology have reduced the risk of death in car accidents, violent car crashes still have the potential to inflict fatal injuries on the driver or a passenger. You and your family may have a wrongful death claim when you lose a loved one in a car accident caused by another motorist.
- Truck accidents – The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks creates substantial risk of serious, life-threatening injuries for the occupants of other vehicles who are involved in a truck accident. Truck drivers and trucking companies that engage in negligent or reckless behavior that causes a fatal truck accident should be held accountable in a wrongful death claim.
- Motorcycle accidents – Motorcycle riders lack the protection of modern vehicle safety features such as seatbelts and airbags. As a result, riders face a significant risk of fatal injury in the event of a collision or other accident. You and your family may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death action when your loved one is killed in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t their fault.
- Bicycle accidents – Bicycle riders must often ride on streets with motorists who fail to properly share the roads with them. Bicycle riders can suffer life-threatening injuries in collisions caused by negligent drivers. You and your family deserve to hold careless drivers accountable for causing the death of your loved one in a bicycle accident.
- Pedestrian accidents – Pedestrians can be killed by motorists who fail to stop and yield at intersections and crosswalks or who drive through pedestrian areas at reckless and unsafe speeds. Careless drivers should be held accountable through wrongful death actions when a pedestrian accident leads to the tragic loss of your loved one.
- Slip and fall accidents – Slip and fall accidents are often minor events that cause bumps and bruises. However, these accidents can cause life-threatening injuries, when a person suffers a slip and fall accident in a dangerous location such as steep stairs. A wrongful death action can hold property or business owners accountable when a slip and fall accident leads to your loved one’s death.
- Dangerous and defective products – Manufacturers and retailers of products have an obligation to ensure their products can be used safely for their intended purposes. When consumers are killed by dangerous or defective products, a wrongful death action can help families hold manufacturers and retailers accountable for compensation and some measure of justice.
- Workplace accidents – Going to work should not entail the risk of death, even for workers in dangerous occupations. When your family has a loved one who is killed on the job in Greensboro or anywhere in North Carolina, your family may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. You could hold a person or company responsible for your loved one’s passing. You could also seek death benefits from your loved one’s employer pursuant to the workers’ compensation system.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Greensboro, NC, Now
If your loved one’s death was caused by the wrongful acts of another party, you deserve to hold that party accountable. A wrongful death claim could provide you and your family with the financial compensation and justice that you and your loved one deserve.
You don’t have to pursue recovery for your loved one alone. Contact Ward Black Law for a free, no-obligation case evaluation by phone, in person or online. Talk with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate wrongful death lawyers about your legal rights and options.