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The Catastrophic Injury Blog

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Wrongful Death Claims in North Carolina

The decision to file a wrongful death claim is made by family members at different stages of the grieving process. We understand the anger, sadness, and denial you feel can vary day-to-day and even minute-to-minute.

Some family members may feel hesitant about pursuing a claim, cautious about placing a monetary value on your loved one’s life. A wrongful death claim, more importantly, allows family members to recover from the financial loss. It also allows for loss of consortium, loss of companionship and loss of services.

If you have lost a loved one in an event that could have been prevented had someone taken appropriate care, your family may be entitled to compensation under the North Carolina Wrongful Death Act. Generally, liability for personal injury and wrongful death are similar, but there are some unique legal frameworks for wrongful death cases. Under North Carolina law, a wrongful death claim exists when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect or fault of another. Essentially, the purpose of the Wrongful Death Act is to put the legal beneficiaries of the deceased person in the same position financially that they would have been had the victim not died.

Wrongful death claims often arise from causes such as the negligent operation of a motor vehicle, negligent maintenance of property (premises liability), negligent design or manufacture of products (product liability), and medical negligence. Filing a claim against the party responsible for the death of your loved one will hold them responsible for their actions and deter them, and others, from continuing the dangerous behaviors that caused this unfortunate and preventable loss.

Although a human life can never be replaced, recovery under the Wrongful Death Act can provide financial security, preserve the family home, and ensure the college education of the survivors. Claimants may recover medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, and future earnings, and pain and suffering for the victim. Any recovery obtained under the Wrongful Death Act is not considered to be an asset of the victim’s estate and therefore the administrator of the estate is not required to use these funds to satisfy other debts of the decedent.

While the time allowed by North Carolina law to file a claim for personal injury is three years, the time allowed for a wrongful death claim is only two years. Therefore, it is important to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney promptly in order to discuss the details of your unique case. We will guide you through the analysis and litigation process during this most difficult of times.

David Gantt Law Office pursues your claim vigorously while being sensitive to your family’s emotions. Clients appreciate David’s sensitivity to their concerns and his thoroughness in handling their case. We represent clients who have lost family members in work-related accidents, car accidents, and trucking accidents.

A deadly accident takes just a second to happen, but the impact on the surviving family members is forever. Contact us to arrange a free consultation.

P: 828-252-2852

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FREQUENTLY ASKED PERSONAL INJURY QUESTIONS

How do I select a lawyer?

The way your case is handled may affect you and your family for the rest of your life. You should select an attorney that is experienced, knowledgeable and caring.

Does it matter whether I am at fault or not in causing the accident?

Yes. North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that continues to follow the "Contributory Negligence" doctrine of liability. This harsh law means that even if the cause of the accident is in a very small part your responsibility, you may not be able to recover any damages against someone who is almost totally responsible for the wreck. The law has been used for years by insurance companies to successfully lower the value of claims in North Carolina. It is extremely doubtful that the General Assembly will change this very unfair and unreasonable law in the near future. For this reason, you should not give any statements to insurance companies, adjusters, or other third parties until you have had a chance to...

How can I pay my bills while I am out of work?

You should consider all possible sources of insurance such as health and disability. Depending on your condition, you may become eligible for Med Pay, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or Worker's Compensation (if wreck occurred while on the job). Ask your agent and lawyer for more details. It is unethical for lawyers to lend you money while your case is pending. However, lawyers can often help you handle the financial crunch by promising the health care providers to pay their fees out of the settlement or jury verdict.

What if the insurance company will not make a reasonable offer to settle?

There is no fixed formula for deciding what a claim is worth. What is "reasonable" depends on who is evaluating the claim. Insurance companies have a lot more experience evaluating and anticipating what a claim might be worth than you do. It is extremely important that you select a lawyer that has experience and is knowledgeable of the value of similar claims in you area. Valuations of cases vary from county to county and city to city. Consultation with local counsel is critical.

How do I handle myself at the scene?

You must stop and help anyone who is injured at the scene. Take precautions to make sure other cars are warned of the wreck. North Carolina Law requires you to call the most convenient law enforcement. Get the officer involved as soon as possible so this trained professional can objectively prepare critical reports and make important observations. You are only required under North Carolina law to disclose your name, address, registration number and driver's license. While you do not have to give a full statement to the officer, you should give a brief statement of what happened. You should not make any other detailed comments to anyone until you have consulted your lawyer. Photograph your car and your injuries as soon as possible. DO NOT SIGN...

How long do I have to bring my claim?

North Carolina law generally gives you three (3) years to file a lawsuit for personal injury. Wrongful death claims usually have a two (2) year time limit. North Carolina law only applies if the accident happened in North Carolina.

CATASTROPHIC INJURY VIDEO LIBRARY

Our Video Library is not closed-captioned.  Instead of embedding our videos, we have created posts for them, where full transcripts of can be found.
Click on the links below to view the video and its transcript.

Short Personal Injury Overview

Personal Injury Overview

Personal Injury Detailed Overview

Personal Injury Detailed Overview

Compassionate North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyer

David Gantt describes his History in Helping People with Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Cases