Raleigh Wrongful Death Litigation Attorney
No matter the amount of compensation, money damages will not make up for the loss of a family member. Money cannot replace the companionship and love of a parent, child, or other loved one. This does not mean, however, that a family should take the wrongful death of one of their own “lying down.” Whether it’s a large corporation, drunk driver, or someone racing down a highway, the party responsible for your family member’s death must be held accountable. This is how a community teaches that such irresponsible and dangerous conduct is unacceptable.
When our law firm accepts a wrongful death case, we do so with two primary goals. First, we want to ensure that the individual is made to be responsible and that he or she understands the significance of what they have done. We also want to help the family to financially get back to normal as much as possible. In many cases, this means replacing the income of a husband and father or recovering the medical bills incurred in treating the traumatic injuries of a young child.
There are two primary issues in every wrongful death case. The first issue is whether the defendant is liable, i.e. whether the defendant’s conduct caused the death. This is frequently not as easy as it may seem. In a recent wrongful death case, our firm spent thousands of dollars in expert fees and over a year litigating a case before any settlement offer was made by the insurance company for the drunk driver to the parents who had lost their 23 year old son.
If you can establish liability, the next question is what “damages” the estate may recover under North Carolina’s wrongful death statute, NCGS 28A-18.2. Those damages include compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering of the deceased, his or her medical expenses, and their funeral expenses. The estate may also recover the present monetary value of reasonably expected “net income” of the deceased family member. This is particularly important when a working father or mother has been killed and there are young children to take care of. A child should never grow up in poverty because someone negligently caused the death of his or her parent(s).
Finally, North Carolina’s wrongful death statute also takes consideration of the emotional loss sustained. While it can be difficult to place an exact number on such losses, it is something juries regularly are asked to do. A jury is entitled to award as compensation the “present monetary value” of the “services, protection, care and assistance of the decedent” and the “society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent” to the persons entitled to recover. This is particularly important as it allows the jury to send a message to the defendant as to the emotional pain he has caused.
If you have lost a family member because of someone else’s negligence, it is important you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The circumstances of these cases often require immediate investigation. To speak with a Maginnis Law North Carolina wrongful death attorney, contact our firm at 919.480.8526 or 919.526.0450 or send an inquiry using our contact page. Our firm represents folks throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, Greenville, Cary, Chapel Hill, Sanford, Southern Pines, and Wilmington.