An accident fatality can be overwhelming for surviving family members who now must learn how to live without their loved one. In addition to the emotional pain and suffering they are likely experiencing, family members may also find it difficult to maintain stability in the household without the income and contributions of the deceased.
Filing a wrongful death claim against those responsible for your loved one’s death can help provide financial support during this difficult time in your life.
Who can file a wrongful death suit in North Carolina?
Under N.C. Gen. Stat. Sec. 28A-18-2, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate has two years from the date of the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death claim. The personal representative can be:
- The person named as administrator of the estate in the decedent’s will; or
- Anyone who would qualify as a personal representative under state intestate succession law (if the decedent did not have a will). This is often the decedent’s spouse, adult child, parent, or legal heir.
Establishing wrongful death in North Carolina
Most wrongful death claims require the decedent’s family to establish that another party’s negligence caused the death of their loved one, and that there are beneficiaries entitled to recovery. This requires proving:
- The other party breached a duty owed to the decedent.
- The other party’s breach of duty actually and proximately caused the decedent’s death.
If the suit is successful, family members can recover damages to cover medical expenses, loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of household services. An attorney can help file your claim and make sure you and your family get the damages you are entitled to after the loss of your family member.