Every day, many personal injuries occur in Newton and throughout Catawba County due to various causes. Motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, and workplace injuries are just a few examples of how people in Newton might suffer personal injuries. While most victims eventually recover from these incidents, some unfortunately do not. When a personal injury is fatal and the victim does not survive, their family is left to file a wrongful death claim in lieu of the personal injury claim they could have filed had they survived.
If your family has recently lost a loved one in any fatal accident, a Newton wrongful death attorney can provide the support and guidance you need to hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions and the damages they caused. In addition, a wrongful death suit can enable you to ensure accountability and secure compensation for the financial impact the death has had on your family. Money cannot bring back your lost loved one, but it can make adjusting to your new circumstances easier.
Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, comprises a team of experienced attorneys who have successfully represented many personal injury cases in Newton, including those involving fatal injuries. While a wrongful death claim is very similar to a personal injury case in procedural respects, there are significant differences between these two types of claims. As a result, we can help you and your family understand the legal mechanisms likely to come into play as you seek accountability for the recent loss of your loved one.
Proving liability for a wrongful death follows the same legal framework as proving fault for a personal injury. To succeed with a wrongful death suit, the plaintiff must identify the party they believe to be responsible for causing the death in question. Next, they must prove that the defendant directly caused the death through some form of negligence, or failure to exercise reasonable care. Alternatively, they may need to prove that illegal misconduct caused the death in question.
Your Newton wrongful death attorney can assist you in gathering the evidence needed to firmly establish liability for the death. Depending on how the death occurred, this could entail gathering evidence like cell phone records, traffic camera recordings, and statements from eyewitnesses who saw the fatal accident occur firsthand. When illegal misconduct of any kind causes a death, the at-fault party not only faces civil liability for the surviving family’s wrongful death claim, but also criminal prosecution to reflect the severity of their actions.
It’s important to note that if the decedent contributed to causing their fatal accident, this would bring North Carolina’s law of contributory negligence into play. This negates the ability to file a wrongful death claim. It’s common for defendants to assert contributory negligence in such cases, so if there is any concern that your loved one shared fault for causing their final injury it is imperative to consult an experienced Newton wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Under North Carolina law, the plaintiff in a wrongful death case has the right to seek compensation for any economic losses resulting from the death in question. In most cases, these damages include:
Beyond these economic damages, state law also allows plaintiffs in a wrongful death case to seek compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced from losing their loved one unexpectedly. Again, a Newton wrongful death attorney will know how to maximize this aspect of their client’s recovery.
It’s important to note that wrongful death claim damages are awarded through the state’s law of intestate succession. This means that the proceeds from a successful wrongful death claim will go directly to the beneficiaries of the deceased and will not become part of the deceased’s estate. Instead, the contents of the deceased’s estate will be distributed separately according to the wishes of the deceased set forth in their estate plan.
The attorneys at Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, have extensive professional experience handling a wide range of civil claims on behalf of our clients in Newton and throughout Catawba County. We understand the severe emotional strain that an untimely death can impose on the victim’s family, and we know the legal challenges you are likely to encounter as you seek accountability for the wrongful death your family experienced. Rest assured that if you choose our firm to handle your wrongful death case, we will be readily available to address your concerns and answer your questions throughout every phase of your case. We will seek to settle your claim quickly if possible, but if litigation is necessary, we are prepared to represent you at trial.
A: State law allows the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit to seek compensation for the economic damages resulting from the death in question. Your Newton wrongful death attorney can help you and your family recover lost financial support provided by the deceased, funeral and burial costs, and any other economic losses caused by the unexpected death. You also have the right to claim compensation for pain and suffering to reflect loss of companionship, affection, and guidance provided by the deceased.
A: If the defendant in your wrongful death claim caused a death through some type of simple negligence, it is unlikely they will face criminal prosecution. However, if they caused the death through any form of illegal and intentional misconduct, criminal charges are likely. Penalties for most criminal offenses escalate significantly when the actions in question result in death. Your Newton wrongful death attorney can advise you as to how the nature and severity of the defendant’s actions will influence your civil claim.
A: When another party’s negligence or misconduct of any kind results in a death, the decedent’s family has two years from the date of the death in question to file a wrongful death claim. If you believe another party is responsible for causing the death of a loved one, it is essential to seek out an experienced Newton wrongful death attorney you can trust as soon as possible. Starting your legal proceedings as soon as you can significantly increases your chances of success with the case.
A: If you have an experienced Newton wrongful death attorney representing your case and the defendant’s liability for causing the death is beyond question, it should not take very long for you to secure a favorable settlement. However, if the defendant contests liability, or if your case cannot be resolved for any other reason, litigation in civil court will take much longer, potentially several months. Your legal team can provide an estimate of what to expect in terms of your case’s most likely timeframe.
A: There is no law that requires you to hire legal representation for your wrongful death claim, so it is possible to pursue this claim on your own. However, you face several risks in doing so. For example, you could overlook key evidence and avenues of recovery, leading to a smaller recovery than an attorney could have secured or procedural delays with your case proceedings. Additionally, wrongful death is inherently emotional and having legal counsel you can trust means you have the support you need during this difficult time, along with the most optimal possible chances of winning your case.
The attorneys at Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, have years of experience handling all types of difficult civil claims in Catawba County, and we know how challenging a wrongful death case can be for everyone involved. We can provide the compassionate legal guidance and responsive counsel you need to approach your case with peace of mind. If you are ready to learn how an experienced Newton wrongful death attorney can empower your recovery efforts in a wrongful death suit, contact us today and schedule a free initial case evaluation with our team.