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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 much money should I get for my damaged car?

Property damage claims are generally handled separately from personal injury claims. North Carolina law permits you to recover the difference between full market value of the car before and after the wreck. While these damages usually mean the repair value, the loan, age and condition of your car may change the damage value.

What will the lawyer cost?

Lawyers generally handle injury cases on a contingency or percentage (%) basis. The fee is charged after a settlement or jury verdict is reached. If you lose the claim, you would not owe the lawyer any fee for his/her time under a contingency fee. Costs for obtaining medical records, accident reports, copies, long distance phone calls and other "out of pocket" expenses are payable by you regardless of the outcome.

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.

If I employ a lawyer, do I have to go to court?

No. Most lawyers will try and settle the case before filing a lawsuit and going to court. While the time between filing a lawsuit and the time of getting a jury trial vary form count to county, a safe estimate of the time it takes to get a case resolved in court is usually around twelve (12) months. New alternative dispute resolutions methods are growing in usage and popularity. Mediation and/or arbitration may be a way to get an independent judge to evaluate the claim and help resolve the differences in the evaluation of the claim. Even after a lawsuit has been filed, settlements of lawsuits can occur at any time. Lawsuits can be settled while the jury is still deciding the case or even...

Q. If I make a settlement in a personal injury arising out of a work injury, do I have to pay the workers’ compensation insurance back for money they have already paid me?

A. Sometimes. NC law is very complicated on these obligations. A Superior Court Judge can be asked to set what, if any, lien is due the workers’ compensation insurance carrier when a settlement is proposed on a civil lawsuit over the same accident. Once the Superior Court Judge sets the amount of the lien that is due, the NC Industrial Commission will issue an ORDER concerning disbursement of future workers’ compensation payments. You should consult a specialist in workers’ compensation law to avoid potential liens and pay back requirements.

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.

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