In 2016, 1,419 people were killed in car accidents in the state of North Carolina, a spike of more than 10 percent from just two years prior. According to the National Safety Council, the state placed number five of states with the most fatal crashes last year. Safety experts point to the increase in the number of deadly accidents to the increase in the number of drivers who continue to practice bad driving behaviors – despite repeated warnings of how dangerous it is.
For families who are left behind after the death of a loved one, the loss can be devastating. But compounding the emotional grief and loss they must struggle through, many families are often left with overwhelming financial burdens as a result of the victim's death. Under North Carolina law, families of accident victims are allowed to pursue wrongful death claims against the party or parties who are deemed responsible for the fatal crash.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
The law allows those survivors who had certain relationships with the victim to file a wrongful death claim. Plaintiffs of a wrongful death lawsuit can include the surviving spouse or domestic partner, the children, or parent of the victim. The person who is representing the victim’s estate may also be able to file the claim. A skilled Carolinas wrongful death attorney can examine your case and determine if you and your family members qualify as plaintiffs in the death of your loved one. It is important to note that there is a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death action.
Civil or Criminal Jurisdiction
In many fatal car accidents, the at-fault driver faces criminal charges due to his or her behavior at the time of the crash. For example, if the driver was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the state of North Carolina would likely be charged criminally. Although the criminal trial could result in a conviction, the trial would not address any of the economic and noneconomic damages the victim’s family has suffered. Those losses would be addressed in a civil trial, entirely independent of what the outcome of the criminal case is.
Contact a N.C. Accident AttorneyIf your family member was killed in a crash, contact a compassionate North Carolina wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal options you may have. Our legal team understands that no amount of money will ever make up for the loss of your loved one; however, we have successfully represented many clients who were left with heavy financial expenses that the law says is the at-fault driver’s responsibility to pay.