Coping with the unexpected loss of a loved one is never easy. When someone you love dies in an accident that could have been prevented, the loss can be even more devastating. Unfortunately, the grief of many surviving family members is compounded by the stress of dealing with their loved one’s final expenses. If you relied on your loved one for support before they died, the resulting financial strain of unpaid debts, funeral expenses, and daily costs of living can feel suffocating.
If someone else’s negligence caused the death, you may have the right to seek financial relief by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Although no amount of money could ever compensate you for your loss, the security and comfort of receiving rightful compensation for your family can provide a sense of closure and help you move forward.
The North Carolina wrongful death attorneys of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC can handle every aspect of your claim while you take the time you need to process and grieve your loss. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation with our compassionate team.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, wrongful death claims are brought on behalf of surviving family members and the estate of the deceased. However, only the personal representative of your loved one’s estate has the authority to file a claim in court.
If the decedent wrote out a will before they died, the executor named in the will typically serves as the personal representative in a wrongful death lawsuit. If your loved one died “intestate,” which means they did not have a will, a personal representative may be appointed by the court instead.
Surviving spouses, parents, and adult children are all frequently called upon to serve as personal representatives. Although the personal representative is the only party who can file a claim, any compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit is given to the estate of the deceased to be disbursed among heirs and creditors.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?
To win compensation in a wrongful death case, you must be able to prove that your loved one’s death was the result of the negligent or reckless actions or inaction of another party. You will need evidence to demonstrate what happened, who was at fault, and the types of financial losses you and your family suffered because of the death.
The following types of evidence can be useful in a wrongful death case:
- Your loved one’s death certificate, which may list the time and cause of death
- Your loved one’s medical records, which can show evidence of medical malpractice or other injuries that contributed to the death
- Police and autopsy reports if your loved one’s death was investigated by the police or professional medical examiners
- Physical evidence, photographs, and witness statements from the incident that caused your loved one’s death
- Pay stubs and tax returns, which can be useful in calculating the value of any financial losses you have incurred due to your loved one’s death