While the statute of limitations (time limit) for filing most personal injury claims in North Carolina is three years, it is important for people to understand that a different statute of limitations applies to matters concerning wrongful death. Under North Carolina General Statute § 1-53, people only have two years to commence legal actions for damages relating to the deaths of persons caused by the wrongful acts of other parties.
In the immediate aftermath of a loved one’s death, these time limits are understandably not the primary focus of any member of a grieving family. It still becomes critical for someone to seek legal representation as soon as possible in order to quickly begin a complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal accident so important evidence can be seized and all necessary paperwork can be filed in court before deadlines expire.
North Carolina Wrongful Death Laws
North Carolina General Statute § 28A-18-2 establishes that the person who files a wrongful death must be the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. In most cases, this is the deceased’s surviving spouse, adult children, or parents.
In some cases, the personal representative is the person appointed by the court as administrator of the estate in accordance with North Carolina intestate succession laws. If a person named in a will or other estate plan is unable or unwilling to serve as personal representative, the court can appoint a different individual. The court also appoints an individual when there was no will or estate plan.
Under North Carolina General Statute § 28A-18-2(b), damages recoverable in wrongful death cases include:
- Medical expenses;
- Descendant’s pain and suffering;
- Reasonable funeral expenses;
- Lost income;
- Loss of services, protection, care and assistance of the decedent
- Loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent;
- Punitive damages; and
- Nominal damages.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in North Carolina
People can be killed in any one of a number of possible accidents in North Carolina. Anybody who is uncertain about who could be liable or whether an accident constitutes the basis for a legal claim should not attempt to handle such a claim on his or her own.
The Nye Law Group handles a wide variety of fatal accident cases stemming from such incidents as:
- Boating accidents;
- Construction accidents;
- Dangerous drugs;
- Defective medical devices;
- Defective products;
- Dog bites;
- Medical malpractice;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Nursing home abuse;
- Product liability; and
- Truck accidents.
Again, it is important to keep in mind the extremely limited amount of time that families have to hold negligent parties accountable for these types of cases. If your loved one was recently killed in any kind of accident in North Carolina, you should not delay in seeking legal counsel.
Find a Wrongful Death Attorney in North Carolina
The Nye Law Group is located in Charlotte but serves many surrounding communities in North Carolina. We understand that families need and deserve time to grieve, so we handle all required paperwork and court appearances necessary to pursuing wrongful death actions.
Call 855-636-9277 today to take advantage of a completely free, no-obligation consultation that will help our firm provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case.