Who Gets the Money in a NC Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

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Losing a loved one suddenly and tragically is perhaps the worst thing that can ever happen to a family.

The last thing you may be thinking about is financial compensation during this difficult time.

However, you cannot afford to disregard the legal process ahead if you want justice and accountability.

You need to hire an experienced attorney today to handle your wrongful death case. Call the Jacksonville, NC, wrongful death lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to discuss your case.

A Wrongful Death Case Is Your Family’s Legal Action

To place a wrongful death lawsuit in context, you need to understand the purpose of the legal action. A wrongful death case is your family’s personal injury lawsuit. The injury being that your family has suffered the loss of a loved one. The deceased family member meant something to the family through their presence. Their time spent provided benefits for multiple family members who are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf.

In North Carolina, the family is not able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their own. State law requires that the personal representative be the one who files the case.

The personal representative owes a fiduciary duty to the estate, so they are bound to act in its interests.

The will would name a personal representative, and it is usually a family member such as a spouse or a child.

North Carolina Law Specifies How the Proceeds Are Divided

North Carolina law also specifies which family members may receive proceeds from the wrongful death lawsuit. While the personal representative is the one who files the lawsuit, the money goes directly to the heirs, and it does not go through the estate. The proceeds from a survival action would flow through the estate. It would be distributed in accordance with the percentages set forth in the will.

North Carolina General Statute 29-14 imposes the hierarchy of who can receive the proceeds from wrongful death cases. It is the same law that governs the order of priority when one dies without a will.

The following would be able to receive the proceeds of a wrongful death claim:

  • There is a surviving spouse and one surviving child, each would receive one-half of the proceeds.
  • If there is a surviving spouse and two minor children, each would receive a one-third share of the proceeds
  • There is a surviving spouse, and no children, the spouse would get 100% of the proceeds
  • If there is no spouse or children, then the parents would receive the entirety of the wrongful death settlement.

North Carolina law makes it easier for families to distribute the proceeds of the case without disagreements happening amongst themselves. However, the fact that multiple people may need to be compensated means that you should obtain every dollar that you can for the wrongful loss of your loved one.

How Much Compensation You May Get in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Wrongful death compensation can be considerable. A person’s life will mean so much to their family in many ways. Your family would be compensated for each of the ways your loved one impacted your lives.

A North Carolina wrongful death settlement or jury award could include the following:

  • The lost income that the deceased person would have earned over the rest of their career
  • The loss of the guidance and support of the family member provided (this compensation would often go to the children)
  • Loss of consortium damages for the spouse from the physical relationship they had
  • The family’s grief and trauma from suddenly and tragically losing their loved one

Wrongful death lawsuits are your family’s one single opportunity to get justice and financial compensation for the loss of a loved one. Thus, it is essential that you know how much your case is worth before you file it.

An experienced wrongful death attorney should know how to value your case after studying your family’s situation and consulting with experts to determine the damages. This way, the insurance company cannot discount the value of your case and settle your claim for less than it is worth.

It is vital that you contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after your loved one has passed away. Before you can even qualify for a dollar in financial compensation, you need to prove that someone else was responsible for the loss of your loved one.

Your lawyer would need to gather evidence that can show responsibility before it is lost to you forever.

When you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, you have enough to take care of. You can entrust your case to the experienced lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in North Carolina Today

When your family has tragically lost a loved one, you need both compassionate and determined legal representation as your family fights for the compensation that you deserve. The lawyers at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have a track record of providing effective advocacy while adhering to the highest ideals of customer service.

There is a statute of limitations that applies to wrongful death cases, so don’t delay. You can speak with one of our lawyers by calling us today at 910-405-7751 or by sending us a message online. We offer free consultations to prospective clients, and you owe us nothing unless you win your case.

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