Losing a loved one in a car accident is always devastating for Raleigh families. The deceased was almost always somebody’s spouse, parent or child. Their sudden loss in a crash that could have been prevented will be emotionally traumatic and might also put your family in financial peril due to loss of income. If the deceased had children, they will be without their parent’s love, guidance and support from now on.
A wrongful death lawsuit cannot change what happened. But it can provide the financial security that a motorist’s negligence took away from your family. And it might help your family feel justice has been served, especially if the driver is not convicted of a crime.
What you can seek compensation for after a wrongful death
Under North Carolina’s wrongful death statute, it is the personal representative of the deceased’s estate who has legal standing to file suit. That person has two years from the date the death occurred to file. Often, the personal representative is the deceased’s spouse, adult child or other close relative. Damages they can seek include:
- The deceased’s net income.
- Services, protection, care and assistance that the deceased provided to “persons entitled to the damages recovered” (i.e., close relatives).
- The deceased’s companionship, advice, comfort, society and “kindly offices.”
- Medical bills related to the fatal injury
- Funeral costs
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased
As you can see, some of these damages are meant to compensate the deceased’s estate, and others are for losses suffered by their loved ones. You can also seek punitive damages if you believe the defendant behaved with “malice or wanton conduct.”
If you are unsure which types of damages apply to your case, a discussion with your personal injury attorney should clarify things.