It’s tragic when a loved one dies, but it can be especially devastating when a loved one dies because of someone else’s actions or negligence. No legal recourse or amount of money will bring your loved one back or make up for their loss. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can help surviving family members find a glimmer of justice during their suffering. It can also help alleviate the financial burdens and stress of losing a family member. 

As a wrongful death law firm in Durham, we help hold the parties responsible for your loved one’s death accountable. We will assist you every step of the way in seeking the compensation you and your family deserve. 

The Basis for a Wrongful Death Claim

Durham wrongful death lawyer

Wrongful death claims can arise from any action that would be the basis of a personal injury claim. If someone else’s negligence or careless and reckless behavior caused your loved one’s death, you likely have a basis for a wrongful death case. 

Many different scenarios and actions can lead to a wrongful death suit, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents including, but not limited to cars, trucks, buses, boats, and motorcycles
  • Pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Premise liability issues such as slips and/or falls
  • Defective products

A wrongful death attorney in Durham can help you determine if you might have a valid claim.

Wrongful Death Damages

While money certainly cannot bring your loved one back, it can help ease the financial stress and worry their death may leave behind. Damages in a wrongful death claim include damages similar to those of a personal injury plaintiff. Commonly, these include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and lost anticipated income
  • Cost of repair or replacement of any property (e.g., a car)

In any case, the amount of these damages will vary depending on the circumstances.

Damages Unique to Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claim damages can also include compensation for things unique to wrongful death lawsuits. These include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • End-of-life expenses
  • Lost value of childcare (e.g., cost of hiring child care previously provided by your deceased spouse)
  • Lost value of household services (e.g., cost of hiring help for household tasks)
  • Lost anticipated inheritance
  • Value of lost companionship
  • Emotional pain and suffering of surviving family members

An experienced wrongful death attorney in Durham will assess your case, learn about you and your family, and discuss what type of compensation you may expect from a wrongful death suit.

Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A close family member, typically a spouse or child, files a wrongful death lawsuit. As the plaintiff in a wrongful death action, you have the burden of proof. In other words, you must prove the elements of your claim. Most wrongful death lawsuits allege the defendant was negligent in some manner, which means you must prove the following four elements:

  1. Proof of the victim’s (your family member’s) death.
  2. The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim.
  3. The defendant breached that duty.
  4. The defendant’s breach caused you, as the surviving family member, to suffer damages.

Overall, it can be challenging to prove your claim. While it might be relatively easy to prove your loved one’s death with their death certificate, proving a direct connection between the defendant’s actions and their death can be difficult.

North Carolina Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

It is essential to be mindful of the statute of limitations, or timeframe, in which you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In North Carolina, surviving family members typically have two years from the date of their loved one’s death. Although certain exceptions might apply in your given situation, you will want to speak with a Durham wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing the filing deadline and being forever barred from bringing your claim. 

Wrongful Death Attorney, Durham, NC

At the Law Offices of Naomi Ellis, PLLC, we provide personalized attention to every case that comes through our door. We are a boutique law firm by choice because we believe in delivering an exceptional experience to our clients. Contact us to schedule a free no-obligation consultation.