Human life is priceless, so the purpose of wrongful death lawsuits is not to place a dollar value on the life of a person who died an untimely death. Instead, the purpose of the wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the deceased person’s family for the financial losses they suffered because of the person’s death.
For example, they can seek compensation for the medical bills that the deceased person incurred for the injuries they sustained in the accident, injuries that eventually became fatal. If the deceased person was a working adult on whom other family members depended financially, you can also request damages for lost income, namely, the money your family would have if the deceased person were still around to earn it.
Wrongful death cases proceed similarly to personal injury cases in many aspects. To find out more about seeking damages from a person or entity responsible for causing an untimely death, contact a Charlotte personal injury lawyer.
Why do people file wrongful death lawsuits?
The situations where you can file a wrongful death lawsuit are similar to the ones where you can file a personal injury lawsuit, except that the defendant’s negligence caused the victim’s death, instead of merely causing injury. These are some common reasons that people file wrongful death lawsuits:
● Accidents, including motor vehicle accidents and premises liability
● Medical malpractice and nursing home negligence
● Manslaughter and homicide cases
Wrongful death lawsuits and manslaughter cases.
Accidentally killing another person can result in criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and the like. You have the right to sue the person who accidentally killed your family member for wrongful death, regardless of whether the person receives criminal charges. If the defendant pleads guilty to manslaughter, it puts you in a strong position to win your wrongful death case. If the defendant is acquitted or pleads no contest, you can still win your wrongful death case in civil court. To win a wrongful death case, you must only show a preponderance of the evidence, whereas in a criminal case, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A preponderance of the evidence means that there is a greater than 50% chance that your claims about the defendant’s negligence are true.
Who Files the Lawsuit on Behalf of the Deceased Person?
The plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit is the estate of the deceased person. This means that, according to North Carolina law, the person who has the right to file the lawsuit is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. If the deceased person left a will, the will indicates whom the court should appoint as personal representative. If the person died without a will, the court will appoint a personal representative; in most situations like this, the personal representative is a close family member of the deceased person who requested to be appointed to that role. Before the wrongful death lawsuit, or any other legal actions related to the estate, can proceed, the court must appoint a personal representative for the estate.
plumides, romano & Johnson, pc