Can Your Family File a Claim for Wrongful Death after a Car Accident in North Carolina?

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At some point in our lives, most of us will be involved in some sort of car accident. Thankfully, a majority of accidents are minor, leaving their victims with just a few bump and bruises. The biggest bruise usually being to their ego and bank account. Sometimes, however, accidents are a bit more serious. We see stories on the news all the time of people suffering critical, or even fatal, injuries in their crash. When this happens, the victim may not be able to pursue a claim on their own. They may either be incapacitated or even dead. In situations like this, it’s important that their family be able to get justice on their behalf. Justice can take many forms. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be criminal charges filed against the person who caused the accident. It may come in the form of a wrongful death claim being filed. This is where your personal injury lawyer in North Carolina comes into the picture.

If your loved one has died as a result of their car accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against the other driver. It depends on the situation. It’s important that you call and speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney in North Carolina sooner rather than later.

Your Wrongful Death Lawyer Only Has a Limited Amount of Time to File Your Claim

No matter where you live, you only have a certain amount of time to file your wrongful death claim. This is called the statute of limitations. In North Carolina, you have two (2) years to file your claim. The three years starts on the day the victim dies.

There are no exceptions to the statute of limitations. If you miss your filing window, there’s nothing your North Carolina wrongful death lawyer can do to help. Judges don’t extend the statute for anyone. Even if the court doesn’t dismiss your claim, the defendant’s lawyer will file a motion to dismiss. The court will have no choice but to grant their motion.

There are a few reasons why the statute of limitations exists. Some of these include:

  • They don’t want the defendant to be unfairly blindsided with a lawsuit several years down the road
  • After a certain period of time, the evidence becomes stale
  • If an insurance company is involved, the court can’t be expected to drag it out for years and years

Who is Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Claim in North Carolina?

Not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. You need to have something called standing. In North Carolina, the only person who can file for wrongful death is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. It doesn’t matter if this person was related to the victim or not. As long as they’re the personal representative, they can file the claim.

This may seem unfair at first. In most states, any member of the victim’s immediate family can file a claim for wrongful death. That isn’t the case in North Carolina. If the personal representative won’t file the claim, the court can appoint someone else as executor who is willing to handle the matter.

Your Lawyer Will Demand Damages

The point of filing a wrongful death lawsuit is to get damages. Your North Carolina wrongful death lawyer will demand that you receive certain damages. These damages include:

  • Any medical bills incurred before your loved one died. This includes hospital bills, durable medical equipment and co-pays.
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering on behalf of the deceased
  • Financial compensation for lost future income and lost earnings

If you win your claim, these damages will more than likely be paid by the defendant’s insurance company. If there’s no insurance company involved, the defendant will be personally liable for the claim. Keep in mind, however, that you can only recover against someone with assets. This is why your attorney will look for any possible resources you can recover against.

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in North Carolina Today

Nobody ever thinks they’re going to lose a loved one in a tragic accident. So, when it happens, you don’t know what to do. This isn’t something they teach you growing up. And all you want to do is grieve and take care of your family. That’s why it’s a good idea to call and talk to an injury lawyer in North Carolina that knows how to handle these types of cases.

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