A driver has been charged with multiple offenses following an accident that left one pedestrian dead and resulted in the closure of the southbound lanes of Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard on Wednesday, April 26th.
Am I entitled to damages for my loved one’s wrongful death?
Reports show that police responded to the scene in the area of Durham Chapel Hill Boulevard and Garrett Road at about 11:45 a.m. Upon their arrival, they located an adult female pedestrian who had been hit by a car.
The victim, whose identity has not been made known, died at the scene.
The driver of the striking vehicle originally left the scene but later returned.
20-year-old Chaunesti Saunders, a resident of Durham, was operating her vehicle in excess of 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit when she hit a pedestrian crossing the street.
Saunders was placed under arrest and has since been charged with speeding, misdemeanor death by vehicle, and felony hit-and-run. Police also served her with outstanding warrants for a stoplight/stop sign violation, reckless driving, and felony fleeing to elude.
The incident remains under police investigation at this time.
Fatal accidents are absolutely devastating for the victim’s surviving family members, especially when it could have been avoided. If you lost someone you love in a fatal pedestrian accident, we encourage you to contact a North Carolina wrongful death attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp right away so we can investigate your case and file a claim on your behalf.
Who is Entitled to Damages in a North Carolina Wrongful Death Suit?
Whether or not and to what extent you may be entitled to receive damages for wrongful death will depend on your relationship to the victim and if there are any other surviving relatives. In North Carolina, a wrongful death action is a civil case that can only be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. If the victim had a will, the representative will be the designated executor. If the deceased died intestate, the court will appoint one.
If the claim is successful, financial recovery does not pass through the estate but instead will be distributed among any living family members in the manner described in the state’s General Statutes which control who inherits what when a person dies. Remember, in North Carolina, even if the deceased had an estate plan in place, any wrongful death monies will still be distributed according to the state’s laws.
A North Carolina wrongful death attorney can explain this in greater detail.
Wrongful Death Claims Arising From the Commission of a Crime
The majority of wrongful death claims stem from negligence, like motor vehicle accidents, premises liability accidents, and medical malpractice. In these situations, the claimant is asserting that another person’s negligence caused the death, therefore that person should be held responsible for the damages they caused. In these cases, the claimant must prove that the other person’s negligence violated their duty of due care and that the violation caused a death.
A wrongful death claim can, however, also derive from the commission of a criminal act. For instance, numerous wrongful death cases stem from intentional torts such as an assault that led to the death of the victim. Although the guilty party is already facing criminal charges, filing a wrongful death claim will allow surviving relatives to pursue financial compensation for the losses they endured at the hands of the defendant.
Did You Lose a Loved One in a Fatal Pedestrian Accident?
A qualified North Carolina wrongful death attorney will have the necessary resources to properly investigate the death of your family member. They will also be able to answer any questions you may have about the legal process, make sure that you understand your rights, and help you collect equitable financial compensation for your loss.
If you lost a family member to wrongful death or were injured in a pedestrian accident, contact a North Carolina personal injury lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free review of your potential claim. Call our offices at (833) 997-1774 to schedule your free consultation today.