Protecting the Rights of Injured Clients

Durham Wrongful Death Attorneys

Compassionate Representation for Grieving Families in Durham County

At Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, 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: 

In North Carolina, to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, you generally need to establish the following elements:

  1. Duty of Care: You must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. This often involves showing that the defendant had a legal obligation to act reasonably or provide a certain standard of care.
  2. Breach of Duty: You need to prove that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the deceased person. This means showing that the defendant's actions (or failure to act) fell below the standard expected of a reasonable person in similar circumstances.
  3. Causation: You must establish a causal link between the defendant's breach of duty and the death of the individual. In other words, you need to show that the defendant's actions directly led to the death.
  4. Damages: You need to demonstrate that the death resulted in compensable damages. This can include financial losses such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and the loss of the deceased person's income, as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

At Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, 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 Durham County?

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 & Fowler, PLLC right away to learn how we can help you with your wrongful death case. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Durham County?

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 & Fowler, 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 Durham, NC 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. 

Here are some advantages of hiring our firm:

  • Legal Expertise and Knowledge: At Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC, we have extensive legal expertise and knowledge in handling wrongful death cases. Our lawyers are well-versed in the relevant laws, procedures, and nuances of North Carolina's legal system.
  • Investigation and Gathering Evidence: We take on the responsibility of thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding the wrongful death. This includes gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working with experts to build a strong case.
  • Experience in Negotiations: Our experienced attorneys are skilled negotiators. We can engage with insurance companies and opposing parties to pursue a fair settlement on your behalf. Our goal is to maximize compensation for your losses.
  • Courtroom Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, we are prepared to represent you in court. Our lawyers have courtroom experience and can effectively present your case before a judge and jury.
  • Handling Legal Procedures: Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit involves complex legal procedures. We handle the paperwork, filings, and deadlines, ensuring that all legal requirements are met to prevent any procedural pitfalls.
  • Objective Guidance and Support: Dealing with a wrongful death is emotionally challenging. Our attorneys provide objective guidance and support throughout the legal process. We work to alleviate the burden on you and your family so that you can focus on healing.
  • Maximizing Compensation: Our goal is to help you obtain the maximum compensation possible for your losses. This includes seeking damages for medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and other economic and non-economic damages.
  • Contingency Fee Arrangement: At Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC, we often work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only pay legal fees if we successfully recover compensation for you. This arrangement aligns our interests with yours.
  • Access to Resources and Experts: Our firm has access to resources and experts who can strengthen your case. This may include accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and other experts who can provide valuable insights.
  • Efficient Resolution: With our experience, we strive for efficient case resolution. Whether through settlement negotiations or litigation, we work diligently to bring the case to a resolution that is favorable for you.

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 & Fowler, 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.

Nuestros Resultados

Ayuda Legal Con Experiencia De Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC Desde 1999
  • Over 7000 Cases Handled We have represented thousands of personal injury clients since 1999.
  • “Llegué a Hyland, Padilla & Fowler, PLLC después de un accidente automovilístico. El Sr. Padilla trabajó muy duro en mi caso. Su principal preocupación es el bienestar de sus clientes. Fue cariñoso, profesional,” - Toni B.
  • “Muy contenta y genial con los resultados. Gracias por ayudar a la comunidad hispana muy feliz con los resultados bendiciones. Andrea y Stefani hicieron un gran trabajo.” - Jazmin B.

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