Wrongful Death Claim
Here in Charlotte and elsewhere in North Carolina, when a death occurs because of the wrongful conduct of another, the family can file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation. However, wrongful death lawsuits are often complicated and complex. You will need to hire skilled and proven wrongful death attorneys like those at Brown Moore & Associates. Here is how Brown Moore & Associates can help your family if a loved one has been killed due to the negligence of another.
Charlotte NC Wrongful Death Claim Attorneys — Wrongful Death Statute
Wrongful death in North Carolina is covered by the statute. See N.C.G.S. § 28a-18-2. The statute provides that
“When the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another, such as would, if the injured person had lived, have entitled the injured person to an action for damages therefor, the person or corporation that would have been so liable, …. shall be liable to an action for damages, to be brought by the personal representative or collector of the decedent …”
Note that only the “personal representative” of the deceased individual can sue on behalf of the deceased individual’s Estate. Essentially, this personal representative sues on behalf of all the heirs of the deceased individual. However, under some circumstances, members of the family might have causes of action separate and apart from the wrongful death action. An example would be a separate cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress if family members were present at the time of death and suffered mental anguish by witnessing the death.
Charlotte NC Wrongful Death Attorneys — Wrongful Death Statute
Charlotte NC Wrongful Death Attorneys — Available Damages
Under the North Carolina wrongful death act, N.C.G.S. § 28a-18-2 damages recoverable include:
- Expenses for care, treatment, and hospitalization incident to the injury resulting in death
- Compensation for pain and suffering of the decedent
- The reasonable funeral expenses of the decedent
- The present monetary value of the decedent for the loss net income of the decedent
- Loss of services, protection, care, and assistance of the decedent
- Loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice of the decedent
- Punitive damages if warranted by willful and wanton acts
The facts of each case will determine if the various categories of damages are available. For instance, the party causing the death may argue that the jury should not consider pain and suffering, where there is no evidence the deceased individual was conscious between the time of the negligent act and the time of death, or when death is instantaneous. It is imperative to have expert medical testimony to substantiate claims of conscious pain and suffering in wrongful death claims.
Likewise, the negligent party may argue that a jury should not consider damages for loss of services if the deceased individual did not provide substantial services, as may occur in a situation with an elderly person in a nursing home.
Finally, a wrongful death claim may not support damages for lost future net income if the deceased individual is not working, or not financially supporting any of the potential heirs to whom a wrongful death monetary recovery would flow. Similarly, the future income of children is speculative, and courts do not allow claims for the future income of children who have suffered fatal injuries due to the negligence of another.
Charlotte NC Wrongful Death Attorneys — Brown Moore & Associates
As can be seen, wrongful death cases are complex and multi-faceted. If a family member has died due to the negligence of another, call the wrongful death and personal injury attorneys at Brown Moore & Associates for a consultation. Contact Brown Moore & Associates even if you are not certain that your loved one died because of identifiable negligence. We are proven wrongful death attorneys, and we can give you advice and counsel on whether there is a basis for a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact our office today. We serve North Carolina residents in Asheville, Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia, Huntersville, Kannapolis, Monroe, Mooresville, Shelby, and surrounding areas.