Protecting the Rights of Injured Clients
Durham Wrongful Death Attorneys
Compassionate Representation for Grieving Families
At Hyland + Padilla, PLLC, we know that there is nothing worse than the sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one. If someone in your family recently passed away, we want to extend our sincerest condolences. This is likely one of the most difficult times in your life, and we want to help.
Under North Carolina’s personal injury laws, you could be entitled to file a wrongful death claim against the person or party that caused the incident that led to your family member’s death. In other words, if someone else is responsible for your loved one’s passing, you can hold them legally accountable. A wrongful death lawsuit not only allows you to seek justice; it also provides a path to financial and emotional recovery for you and your family.
Continue reading to learn more or contact us directly at (919) 891-8361 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our wrongful death lawyers in Durham. Se habla español.
Understanding North Carolina’s Wrongful Death Statute
The wrongful death statute outlines the various laws and regulations surrounding wrongful death claims in North Carolina, including when a claim may be filed, by whom it may be filed, and what types of damages can be recovered by eligible surviving individuals. It is important that you understand your rights when it comes to seeking justice and holding the at-fault party responsible for your loved one’s tragic death.
When Is a Death Considered “Wrongful?”
In North Carolina, wrongful death is defined as the death of an individual resulting from the “wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” One way to determine whether someone’s death would be considered “wrongful” is by asking whether they would have had grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit had they lived. If the answer is yes, their death is likely considered wrongful under North Carolina law.
Wrongful death cases often arise from negligence-based incidents and intentional acts, such as:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Accidents resulting from unsafe premises
- Workplace accidents
- Assault and other forms of violence
- Accidents caused by defective products
At Hyland + Padilla, PLLC, we represent clients in all types of wrongful death lawsuits, including those involving complex motor vehicle accidents, medical negligence, birth injuries, dangerous property conditions, and more.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of death. Note that this is shorter than the three-year statute of limitations for most other types of personal injury lawsuits.
Although there are some exceptions, they are rare. If you wait too long to file your lawsuit, the court will most likely dismiss your case. Because of this, it is critically important that you reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Over time, important evidence can be lost, and your case can become much more difficult to prove. We encourage you to reach out to Hyland + Padilla, PLLC right away to learn how we can help you with your wrongful death case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in North Carolina?
While some states allow the decedent’s surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim, this is not the case in North Carolina. Instead, the personal representative (or “executor”) of the decedent’s estate must be the one to file the wrongful death action in North Carolina. If the decedent died without a will or without naming a personal representative, the court will usually appoint one.
Although the personal representative must be the one to actually file the claim, they do so on behalf of certain surviving family members. If the case is successful, these family members can recover compensation for certain losses, or damages, they have sustained as a result of the decedent’s passing.
Damages can be recovered on behalf of the following individuals in North Carolina wrongful death cases:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving children
- The decedent’s surviving parents
- Any individual who was dependent on the decedent
- The decedent’s legal heirs or named beneficiaries
At Hyland + Padilla, PLLC, we assist personal representatives in bringing wrongful death claims, as well as eligible family members who are entitled to receive compensation for related damages. Our Durham wrongful death lawyers can help you understand your rights during a free, confidential consultation.
Types of Damages That Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Nothing can ever compensate you for the loss of your loved one. However, you may now be facing significant and unexpected financial challenges associated with your loss. In addition to these hardships, you are likely suffering considerable emotional and psychological distress. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you can seek to hold the liable party accountable for those challenges.
In North Carolina, it may be possible to recover the following types of wrongful death damages:
- Medical costs associated with caring for the injury or illness that led to the decedent’s death
- “Reasonable” funeral and/or burial expenses
- Physical and mental pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to death
- Loss of financial support and income provided by the decedent
- Loss of assistance, care, protection, and services provided by the decedent
- Loss of advice, comfort, companionship, guidance, and society
In cases involving gross negligence or intentional infliction of injury or harm, it may also be possible to seek punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which compensate the surviving loved ones for their losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from acting in a similar manner in the future.
Why Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?
Navigating the legal process can be incredibly challenging, stressful, and even overwhelming. Right now, you should have the time you need to focus on healing—not worried about fighting with the insurance company or opposing counsel. Instead, allow our Durham wrongful death lawyers to handle the legal aspects of your case.
We can take care of everything, from investigating the incident that caused your loved one’s death to obtaining critical evidence to support your case and communicating with the liable party on your behalf. Most importantly, you can rely on our firm to fight for you and the justice you deserve. Together, our attorneys have more than 50 years of legal experience; we utilize this experience and the relationships we have built with local judges, insurance adjusters, and defense counsels to level the playing field for our clients and advocate for their recoveries.
We are here to listen and share how we can help you with your wrongful death case. We invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation with our team at your earliest convenience. When you choose Hyland + Padilla, PLLC, you do not pay any legal fees unless/until we recover compensation for you.
Call our office at (919) 891-8361 or submit a secure contact form to get in touch with our team.
Over $40,000,000 Recovered We have won over 40 million dollars for our clients since 2012 and counting.
Over 7000 Cases Handled We have represented thousands of personal injury clients since 1999.
“I came to Hyland and Padilla after an automobile accident. Mr. Padilla worked very hard on my case. His primary concern is for the well being of his clients. He was caring, professional, honest and patient. His staff was always helpful and pleasant as well” - Toni B.
“Very happy and great full with the results. Thank you for helping the Hispanic community very happy with the results blessings. Andrea and Stefani did A great job.” - Jazmin A.
“Mr Padilla is extremely helpful with your personal injury. His staff is great. I wouldn't go anywhere else. I have worked with Mr Padilla several times over the years. He is a wonderful caring attorney. He will go all out to make his client happy.” - Carolyn H.