personal injury case

What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

January 29, 2024
By Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

North Carolina law defines a wrongful death as a fatality due to another person’s or party’s wrongful act or negligence, –such that the victim would have had the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had not died. The decedent’s personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and pain and suffering, plus damages to cover lost wages, future income, and emotional support and care for surviving family members.

At Rhine Law Firm in Wilmington, our compassionate team represents grieving families in wrongful death lawsuits involving fatalities from car accidents, slip and fall mishaps, medical malpractice, and other negligent or intentional causes. We believe that negligent parties should be held responsible for their conduct when it leads to someone’s death. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to learn more.

When Will a Party Be Liable for Wrongful Death?

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim’s personal representative will plead:

  • That another party committed a wrongful act, either negligently or intentionally, as the facts might indicate.
  • That the wrongful act was the direct and proximate cause of the victim’s demise.
  • That the deceased party’s family members and loved ones have a right to recover damages to compensate for losses that are the result of the victim’s death.

An experienced wrongful death attorney will know how to use all available facts and evidence to show that another party’s negligent or intentional conduct was the substantial factor that brought about the victim’s death.

Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit the Same as a Survival Action?

Wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions in North Carolina can both arise from the same events, and many times, an accident victim’s personal representative and surviving family members will file both. The difference is that a wrongful death lawsuit aims to recover losses incurred by the victim’s survivors and their estate. In contrast, survival actions seek damages – such as extended pain and suffering — that the deceased party suffered between the time of the negligent event and their death.

When Should a Victim’s Personal Representative File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In North Carolina, the personal representative of the estate has two years from the death date to file a lawsuit. However, there are exceptions, e.g., the deceased party was a minor. In every case, a deceased party’s family should promptly consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. That lawyer will then be able to preserve crucial evidence that might otherwise be lost, misplaced, or hidden over time.

Call the Wilmington Offices of the Rhine Law Firm to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The untimely death of a beloved family member is difficult to reconcile. Apart from the emotional trauma of losing someone due to the negligence of another party, the survivors are inevitably faced with significant expenses and a loss of regular income that can be ruinous.

Our North Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Rhine Law Firm are dedicated to helping families get back on their feet and gain a sense of closure and justice. Please call to schedule a no-fee consultation; there’s no obligation to hire us. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you will not pay attorney’s fees unless we win compensation.

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