Wilmington Fatal Car Accident Lawyer

Legal Representation for Clients Across North Carolina

Nothing prepares you for the shock and grief involved when a family member dies in a car accident. You might have seen or spoken with them earlier that day, never guessing it would be for the last time. The situation is even more painful to face if it turns out that another party’s negligence or recklessness caused your loved one’s death.

When another driver is responsible for the fatal crash that took the life of a loved one, family members of the deceased have the right to seek justice and hold the negligent party accountable. While no amount of money can bring your loved one back or ease your pain, much-needed compensation may be available to cover losses such as funeral costs and wages that the deceased person would have provided to dependents now and into the future.

The trusted Wilmington fatal car accident attorneys at Rhine Law Firm are ready to work hard on your behalf to hold those responsible for your loved one’s death accountable.

Fatal Car Accident Statistics in Wilmington, NC

In 2021, 27 vehicles were involved in fatal car accidents in Wilmington, leaving 18 people dead. Eight of the dead were pedestrians..

In 2019, there were 28 vehicles involved in fatal accidents, with 19 deaths. Six pedestrians succumbed to their injuries. Three of the fatal accidents involved drunken driving.

These disturbing numbers highlight the risks motorists and pedestrians face each day in Wilmington and the need for a community-wide commitment to safe driving practices.

Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents

The most common causes of fatal accidents include:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Drowsy driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating

Fatal car crashes are not always caused by human driving errors. In some cases, poorly maintained roads or malfunctioning traffic signals contribute to or cause the accident. Under such circumstances, the municipality or agency responsible for the maintenance of the road or traffic lights may prove liable.

Legal Rights and Options for Victim’s Families

When another party caused your family member’s demise due to their negligence, you may have the option of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a civil lawsuit and is unrelated to any criminal charges filed against the defendant.

For instance, although drunk driving is a crime, a wrongful death lawsuit involving a drunk driver is heard in civil court, not criminal court. The burden of proof in a criminal case is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” while in a civil case, it is the less rigorous “preponderance of the evidence.”

It is possible to receive damages in a wrongful death case even if the defendant was acquitted in criminal court.

Even though you are mourning the loss of your loved one, it is critical that you consult a fatal car accident attorney in Wilmington, NC, as soon as possible. Waiting too long can mean valuable evidence can vanish and your chances of recovering a fair settlement amount can diminish.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit is filed against the person or party bearing responsibility for the fatal car accident victim’s death. Under North Carolina law, a wrongful death is caused by “a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or entity.”

If the person had survived their fatal injury, they would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible. Because that injury did prove fatal, another party must bring the case to court on the decedent’s behalf.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in NC?

In North Carolina, only the estate’s executor or personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the decedent had a will, the document names the executor. If they died intestate, or without a will, the court would appoint a personal representative. That individual is often a family member of the decedent.

Although filed by the personal representative, the wrongful death lawsuit is brought on behalf of surviving family members.

Fatal Car Accident Damages

Damages, or compensation, in a fatal car accident may include:

  • Final medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased prior to death
  • Loss of the decedent’s income
  • Loss of household services performed by the decedent
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and comfort

While most wrongful death cases are settled, we will go to trial if the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement.

Statute of Limitations for a Fatal Car Accident Lawsuit

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is typically two years from the death date.

How Our Wilmington Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You

A Wilmington Car Accident Lawyer at Rhine Law Firm P.C. thoroughly investigates the circumstances of your family member’s death. We review police and medical reports, interview eyewitnesses, and obtain evidence such as surveillance videos and cell phone records. Accident reconstruction experts may be hired to reconstruct the scene of the fatal crash and determine liability.

Our fatal car accident attorneys in Wilmington, NC, identify all possible defendants in the case.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. Se Habla Espanol.

Our Promise to You

  • National Practice with a Local Presence

  • Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Won

  • Over 30 Years of Experience

  • Experienced, Thorough & Dedicated Attorneys

  • Spanish-Speaking Services Available

  • Evening & Weekend Appointments Available Upon Request

“Joel Rhine and his staff did everything possible to help us in a very dark period of our lives.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better firm to handle my injury claim. If you do not have confidence with your attorney, you need to contact Rhine Law Firm immediately.”

“Rhine Law Firm went out of their way to make sure that my mother-in-law obtains everything she is entitled to in an injury case.”

“It was a long, arduous process and we cannot thank Joel and the rest of the team at Rhine Law Firm enough.”

“Joel will make sure you are well taken care of. He will fight for you and what you deserve and go to all measures to make sure you get it.”