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Wrongful Death Lawyer Charlotte, NC

Why Do You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Charlotte, NC

Losing a loved one unexpectedly due to the negligence or misconduct of another can be an emotionally traumatizing experience. Pursuing justice amidst this heartache can be a daunting task, especially when navigating through the legal complexities of wrongful death claims. This is where the need for a wrongful death lawyer in Charlotte, NC becomes paramount.

When facing the emotional and legal challenges of a wrongful death case in North Carolina, trust Schehr Law, PLLC, to provide you with the expert guidance and representation you need. Understanding the state’s specific laws is essential, and our firm is here to help. Don’t wait; contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward securing the justice you and your family deserve. Your loved one’s memory deserves to be honored through the pursuit of justice.

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What Constitutes Wrongful Death in NC?

In North Carolina, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another party. Essentially, if the deceased individual would have had the right to file a personal injury claim had they survived, then their estate or certain surviving family members may have the right to bring a wrongful death claim. Here are some specifics about what constitutes wrongful death in North Carolina:

  • Negligence or Misconduct: The death must have resulted from another’s negligent, reckless, or deliberate behavior. Common instances include motor vehicle accidents caused by impaired or distracted driving, medical malpractice, or premises liability accidents.
  • Survival Action: In North Carolina, the wrongful death statute operates in tandem with the survival action statute. While the wrongful death claim compensates the surviving family members, a survival action allows the deceased’s estate to recover damages the deceased would have been entitled to if they had survived (like pain and suffering before death).
  • Personal Representative: The wrongful death claim must typically be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. If the deceased had a will, this would be the executor named in the will. If there’s no will, the court can appoint an administrator.
  • Statute of Limitations: In North Carolina, a wrongful death claim generally must be filed within two years of the date of death. If not filed within this timeframe, the claim might be forever barred.
  • Types of Damages: Damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim in North Carolina include medical and funeral expenses, pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death, lost income and services, and loss of companionship, guidance, and support. In cases where the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, punitive damages might also be awarded.
  • Distribution of Damages: The damages received in a wrongful death lawsuit in North Carolina are distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws (as if the deceased died without a will). This might differ from the deceased’s wishes in their will, especially regarding non-economic damages.

Since wrongful death claims in North Carolina encompass a myriad of nuances and specific rules, it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney familiar with North Carolina wrongful death law. They can guide families through the complexities and ensure that the claim is appropriately filed and pursued.

Understanding North Carolina Law

The legal system in North Carolina has its nuances and intricacies. A specialized lawyer can provide insight into the state’s statutes, deadlines, and required evidence, ensuring you pursue your claim effectively and within the stipulated timeframes. Wrongful death in North Carolina is defined as a death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. This includes actions such as negligence, medical malpractice, car accidents, and intentional harm that lead to a fatality.

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Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death pertains to a grave scenario where an individual’s demise is directly attributable to the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another party. This legal term encompasses a broad range of circumstances, each marked by their own unique complexities. These incidents often arise from situations such as medical malpractice, where a healthcare provider fails to adhere to the standard of care, leading to a patient’s untimely death.

In other cases, fatal accidents in the workplace due to inadequate safety measures or negligence can give rise to wrongful death claims. Vehicular accidents, especially those involving impaired or distracted driving, are also common precursors to such tragedies.

Additionally, intentional acts such as criminal behavior, ranging from assault to more heinous crimes, can also result in wrongful death. The underlying unifying factor in these instances is the breach of a duty of care or intentional harm that culminates in a loss of life, thereby justifying legal action by the deceased’s dependents or beneficiaries. Here are some common causes of wrongful death:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: Car, motorcycle, truck, and other motor vehicle accidents often lead to fatalities, especially when they involve high speeds, drunk driving, or distracted driving.
  • Medical Malpractice: Medical professionals have a duty of care towards their patients. Wrongful deaths can occur due to misdiagnosis, surgical errors, prescription errors, childbirth injuries, or other medical negligence.
  • Workplace Accidents: Certain occupations, like construction, logging, or offshore drilling, carry inherent risks. If proper safety measures aren’t in place or equipment malfunctions, it can lead to fatal incidents.
  • Product Liability: Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumers. Deaths resulting from defective products—whether it’s faulty vehicle parts, harmful pharmaceuticals, or malfunctioning household products—can be grounds for a wrongful death claim.
  • Premises Liability: This includes slip and fall accidents, swimming pool drownings, or other fatalities resulting from a property owner’s negligence in maintaining safe premises.
  • Criminal Actions: Intentional acts, like assault, battery, or other forms of violence, leading to someone’s death can be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, in addition to any criminal charges.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents: Pedestrians and cyclists are vulnerable on the road. A moment’s distraction or a driver’s negligence can result in fatal collisions.
  • Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect: Elderly individuals sometimes suffer from mistreatment or neglect in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, leading to preventable deaths.
  • Aviation and Boating Accidents: While relatively rare compared to other causes, accidents involving airplanes, helicopters, or boats can result in multiple fatalities, often due to mechanical failures, poor maintenance, or operator error.
  • Exposure to Toxic Substances: Prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals or toxic environments, sometimes due to corporate negligence, can lead to diseases and fatalities. Examples include asbestos exposure leading to mesothelioma.

Understanding the common causes of wrongful death can help in prevention and raising awareness. For families affected by such tragedies, seeking legal recourse can offer a path to justice and potential financial support to deal with the unforeseen consequences.

Types of Damages That Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members or the estate can seek compensation for various losses that arise due to the untimely death of the victim. The types of damages available typically depend on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances of the case. However, the following are some of the most commonly claimed damages in a wrongful death lawsuit:

Economic Damages:

  • Medical Expenses: Costs associated with medical treatments the deceased received due to the injury or negligence that eventually led to their death.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: Costs associated with laying the deceased to rest.
  • Loss of Income: Compensation for the income that the deceased would have reasonably earned had they lived. This can include future earnings and benefits.
  • Loss of Inheritance: Some jurisdictions allow for the recovery of the estimated amount that the deceased would have added to their estate had they lived a natural lifespan.

Non-Economic Damages:

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased from the time of injury until their death.
  • Loss of Consortium: Damages for the loss of companionship, affection, love, and moral support suffered by the surviving spouse.
  • Loss of Care, Guidance, and Nurturing: Compensation for the deprivation of the guidance, care, and nurturing the deceased would have provided to their children or dependents.
  • Loss of Companionship and Society: Damages for the loss of friendship, guidance, and moral support experienced by the deceased’s immediate family.
  • Emotional Distress: Compensation for the mental anguish and emotional pain suffered by the family due to the loss of their loved one.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages refer to a specific type of legal compensation that goes beyond mere restitution for loss or injury. They are distinct in their purpose and application, awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions are not just negligent, but exhibit a degree of malice, recklessness, or egregiousness that demands additional censure. This contrasts with compensatory damages, which are intended to cover the actual losses suffered by the victims, such as medical expenses, lost income, or emotional distress.

The primary objective of punitive damages is twofold. Firstly, they serve as a form of punishment for the defendant. By imposing a financial penalty that exceeds the scope of the victim’s actual losses, the law aims to penalize severely and thus express societal condemnation of particularly abhorrent behavior. Secondly, punitive damages are a deterrent, both specifically and generally. On a specific level, they discourage the particular defendant from engaging in similar conduct in the future. On a general level, they serve as a warning to others in the community or industry that such egregious behavior will attract severe financial penalties.

Punitive damages are not awarded in every case of wrongful death or personal injury. Their application is generally reserved for instances where the defendant’s conduct was willfully indifferent to the rights and welfare of others. Examples might include a company that knowingly sells a dangerous product without adequate warnings, or an individual who commits a deliberate act of violence. The size of punitive damages can vary significantly, often depending on the severity of the defendant’s actions, their financial status, and the jurisdiction’s specific legal guidelines. In some jurisdictions, there are caps or limits on the amount that can be awarded in punitive damages, reflecting an effort to balance the need for punishment with the principles of fairness and proportionality.

How Schehr Law Can Help

At Schehr Law, PLLC, our commitment goes beyond just the legalities. We understand the profound emotional turmoil families go through, and our approach is tailored to provide not just legal expertise but compassionate guidance. Our seasoned attorneys are well-versed with Charlotte’s local judicial system, and we’ve successfully championed the rights of many families, helping them find closure and justice. When you partner with Schehr Law, PLLC, you’re not just getting a lawyer; you’re gaining a dedicated ally who will tirelessly work for your loved one’s memory and your family’s future.

Accurate Valuation of Claims

Quantifying the damages in wrongful death cases can be complex. It’s not just about the immediate expenses, but future financial losses, emotional trauma, loss of companionship, and more. A seasoned lawyer can help calculate a fair and accurate compensation value.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance providers often aim to minimize payouts. With a dedicated lawyer by your side, you’ll have an advocate to negotiate assertively on your behalf, ensuring you receive what’s rightfully yours.

Expert Investigation

Establishing negligence or misconduct requires a comprehensive investigation. Wrongful death lawyers collaborate with professionals like accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and investigators to gather compelling evidence.

Litigation Preparedness

If negotiations fail, your lawyer should be prepared to take the case to court. This requires a deep understanding of trial procedures and effective argumentation techniques.

Navigating North Carolina’s wrongful death laws can be overwhelming without the guidance of a skilled attorney. Schehr Law, PLLC, is your dedicated partner in seeking justice for your loved one. Our experienced Charlotte wrongful death lawyers understand the complexities of these cases and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Why Schehr Law, PLLC is the Right Choice in Charlotte, NC

Navigating the aftermath of a loved one’s untimely death is a harrowing experience, laden with grief and uncertainty. In such trying times, having a trusted legal advocate by your side becomes paramount. Schehr Law, PLLC, with its deep-rooted expertise in Charlotte, NC, stands out as the beacon of hope for families seeking justice. Their dedicated team not only understands the intricacies of North Carolina’s wrongful death laws but also appreciates the emotional turmoil involved. By choosing Schehr Law, PLLC, you’re not just hiring a lawyer; you’re enlisting a compassionate partner committed to ensuring that the legacy of your loved one is honored and that those responsible are held accountable. Your quest for justice deserves nothing but the best, and in Charlotte, NC, that means turning to Schehr Law, PLLC.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Claims in Charlotte, NC