Losing a loved one in an accident is painful and traumatic for your family. Life will never be the same again for those closest to you. However, while you are grieving, there are still other things that you must do, among them contacting a qualified wrongful death lawyer in Jacksonville, NC.
As tough as it is, you must focus on the legal process so your family can be paid your damages.
Hiring a wrongful death lawyer allows you to pursue compensation while taking pressure off your family. Contact the attorneys at Horton & Mendez for the legal help that your family needs.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is the case that your family files when your loved one has wrongfully died at the hands of someone else. Wrongful could be the result of negligence or some type of intentional action. A wrongful death case is a right that belongs to your family, so you can seek financial compensation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in Jacksonville, NC?
North Carolina law dictates who can file a wrongful death case. Only the personal representative of their estate is able to file the case. This is usually the person who has been designated as the executor.
If there is no personal representative, the family can petition the court to appoint one. Then, that person would be the one who files the wrongful death lawsuit.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death is your family’s personal injury claim. Here, your personal injury is that your loved one was taken from you because of someone else’s wrongful actions. When that has happened, your family has suffered your own unique damages based on what your loved one meant to your family. They may have filled a certain role, based on both their presence and their earning power.
Thus, your wrongful death compensation would reflect what your family has lost, including:
- The earnings that your loved one would have contributed to the family over the course of their career
- The close and loving relationship that you had with the deceased person (whether it was an adult or a child)
- The guidance and support that your loved one would have provided
- Loss of consortium damages for the physical relationship with the spouse
- Burial and funeral expenses
North Carolina law has now merged wrongful death and survival action lawsuits. Now, families can recover for what the deceased person endured between the time of their injury and death in the same lawsuit. This award could include medical costs to treat the deceased and their pain and suffering.
Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Case
You have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death case in North Carolina. State law requires that you file the lawsuit within two years after the date that your loved one died.
The statute of limitations is a legal requirement that is meant to be fair to the potential defendant. It would be unfair for them to face a lawsuit years into the future. Two years should be enough time for your attorney to investigate your case and potentially try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
It is crucial that you allow your attorney enough time, so they do not have to rush your case.
They need time to do their job before they have to file the lawsuit. If you miss the statute of limitations, you would lose the right to sue, with very few exceptions. It does not matter whether you miss the deadline by a day or a year, the result is still the same.
Steps to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The first step that you would take towards filing a wrongful death lawsuit is hiring an experienced injury attorney in Jacksonville to represent you. It is vital that you contact an attorney right after your loved one passes away. Even though it is an extremely difficult time for your family, you must keep an eye on the legal process.
It can take a lengthy amount of time for your family to receive anything in the case because the process can be protracted. Thus, it is crucial to begin your case as soon as possible. Even if your lawyer is not going to file the lawsuit immediately, they still need to do their own legwork to prepare your case.
Once your attorney is on the job, they will do the following:
- Investigate what happened and gather the evidence that you will need to prove liability
- Learn about your family’s situation, so they can estimate what you have lost when your loved one died
- Handle all of the communications related to your case
- File the claim or lawsuit seeking financial compensation
- Negotiate a settlement or argue your case in court
Why You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer
The responsible party is trying to protect themselves at all costs. Their insurance company is trying to protect their own bank account. Nobody else cares that your family has experienced a grievous loss, both in terms of what your loved one offered and your finances. There are barriers in the way that must be physically removed by someone who has in-depth knowledge of the system. Thus, you need a lawyer if your family is to receive enough compensation or even get money at all.
Why Hire Horton & Mendez for Your Wrongful Death Case?
Your choice of a wrongful death lawyer is crucial. Your attorney needs to be compassionate and understanding when dealing with your family, and take no prisoners when dealing with the insurance company.
At Horton & Mendez, we know how to deal with insurance companies because we used to defend them. We know the playbook that they will use to try to deny you compensation or underpay your claim. Therefore, we are able to stay one step ahead of them throughout the process.
We also pride ourselves on our approach to client service. We focus our attention on you, making sure to stay responsive and communicative throughout your case. Our lawyers do our best to put ourselves in your shoes, knowing that your family is in a time of grief and transition.
Contact a Jacksonville, NC Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Your first move in a wrongful death case is to call the passionate lawyers at Horton & Mendez to represent you. We focus on your well-being, while we fight for accountability and results. At no time do we let the insurance company push you around or take advantage of you.