One man is facing charges following a fatal car accident that resulted in the death of a Forsyth County police deputy on Saturday, September 9th. A spokesman for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said state troopers responded to the area of Rob Shoaf Road and NC 150 at about 5:22 a.m. for reports of a head-on collision involving an on-duty officer.
According to investigators, the driver of a box truck, 24-year-old Lexington resident William Benton, was traveling southbound in the 5200 block of NC 150. For reasons that have yet to be determined, Benton’s vehicle swerved left of the centerline where it collided head-on with a marked Forsyth County Sheriff’s vehicle.
Who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim in North Carolina?
After the impact forced the two vehicles off the roadway, they both came to an uncontrolled stop on the highway’s southbound shoulder.
The driver of the police vehicle, Deputy Auston Reudelhuber, 32, was transported by paramedics to an area trauma center. He eventually passed away due to the severity of his injuries.
Benton, who was completely unharmed during the incident, is facing charges of driving left of center, reckless driving, and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
If you lost a family member due to someone else’s negligence, you might be considering seeking financial compensation via a wrongful death claim. A North Carolina wrongful death lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can evaluate your circumstances, determine if you have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit and help you bring the negligent party to account for the death of your loved one.
Does a Fatal Car Accident Constitute a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is any death that is caused by the negligence or unlawful act of another person. Both personal injury accidents and willful criminal acts can result in wrongful death. Common causes of wrongful deaths in North Carolina include motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, and purposely inflicted injuries.
Who is Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Claim in North Carolina?
The only person entitled to bring a wrongful death claim in North Carolina is the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
If the victim had an estate plan or a will, the individual named as their personal representative will also be the person eligible to file a claim or lawsuit. If the victim died intestate, then the court will assign one. Most often, the appointee will be the victim’s surviving child, parent, or spouse.
What Damages Are Recoverable After a North Carolina Fatal Car Accident?
Financial compensation might be available for multiple damages arising from the death of your loved one. In North Carolina, recoverable damages in a wrongful death case usually include:
- Funeral, and burial or cremation costs
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of comfort, companionship, services, and protection
- The pain and suffering endured by the victim before their death
In rare instances, punitive damages can also be recovered. Unlike the damages listed above, punitive damages are not compensatory. Rather, their purpose is to punish the egregious actions that caused the victim’s death and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
Since the amount of financial compensation available for wrongful death is unique to each case, it is a good idea to seek the guidance of an experienced North Carolina wrongful death attorney. They will have the skills and resources necessary to fully investigate your loved one’s death and determine which damages apply to your specific situation.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Case?
In order to receive financial compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit, you will have to prove that the defendant committed negligence by establishing the existence of the following elements:
- Duty: The defendant owed the victim a duty of care. In other words, they had a responsibility to act with the victim’s safety in mind.
- Breach: The defendant breached that duty by behaving in a reckless, negligent, or willful manner.
- Causation: The breach was the direct cause of the accident and the victim’s death.
- Damages: The victim’s wrongful death resulted in compensable damages.
In North Carolina, you have two years from the day the death occurred to file a wrongful death claim. If this deadline expires before you file, your case will be dismissed by the court and you will be barred from collecting any financial compensation whatsoever.
Talk to a North Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Trying to understand the legal intricacies of a wrongful death suit is difficult at the best of times. It is particularly challenging when you are also mourning the loss of a family member. Fortunately, you do not have to handle a lawsuit all on your own.
If your loved one died as a result of malfeasance or negligence, schedule a free consultation with the North Carolina wrongful death lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out the contact form on our website.