Your Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit Illustrated by 10 Sample Cases

In short, your chances of winning a wrongful death suit case rely on whether you and your council can prove that the death would not have occurred in lieu of the defendant's actions. But of course, it's complicated and intricate to prove a wrongful death. In this article, we'll provide 5 types of evidence that can help you win a wrongful death suit, and explain who can file such a lawsuit. This knowledge can empower you to seek justice and fair compensation during a difficult time. Here, we'll break down the key aspects of wrongful death cases in North Carolina to help you understand your chances of winning a wrongful death suit.

As personal injury attorneys in NC, the team at The Doyle Law Offices in Wake County understands the intricacies of these cases and our client's chances of winning a wrongful death suit. Join us as we explore real-world examples of when clients have successfully won their cases and when they haven't, providing valuable insights to help you navigate these challenging legal matters effectively. 

Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits in NC

Wrongful death claims in North Carolina are based on legal statutes that define the circumstances under which survivors can seek compensation for the loss of their loved ones. Understanding these statutes is crucial for understanding your chances of winning a wrongful death suit

In North Carolina, wrongful death claims are governed by the North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 28A, specifically Section 28A-18-2. These laws outline the legal foundation for wrongful death actions and establish the framework for pursuing a lawsuit. Your personal injury or wrongful death attorney will be well-versed in these statutes and can explain how they apply to your specific case. 

Parties Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Not everyone can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit in North Carolina. The law specifies who is eligible to file a claim. Typically, the following parties have the legal standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The Personal Representative: The personal representative of the deceased person's estate is responsible for pursuing the wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving family members. This representative is appointed by the court and is often a family member or close friend chosen by the deceased person's estate.
  • Beneficiaries: The compensation recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit is intended to benefit the surviving family members who suffered a loss due to the death. Beneficiaries often include the deceased person's spouse, children, parents, and other close relatives. Your attorney will help identify the eligible beneficiaries and ensure they are included in the lawsuit.

Damages and Compensation Available in Wrongful Death Cases

Understanding the potential damages and compensation available and your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit that resulted in death is essential for assessing the value of your claim and ensuring you receive fair compensation. In North Carolina, eligible beneficiaries may seek various types of damages.

Economic Damages

These are quantifiable financial losses incurred as a result of the death, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost income, and future financial support that the deceased would have provided.

Non-Economic Damages

These encompass intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and loss of guidance and support.

Punitive Damages

In cases where the defendant's actions were particularly egregious, punitive damages may be awarded as a form of punishment and deterrent. North Carolina law limits the circumstances under which punitive damages can be sought.

Survival Claims

In addition to wrongful death claims, North Carolina allows for survival claims, which address the pain, suffering, and medical expenses incurred by the deceased person before their death.

Factors Influencing the Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit

In North Carolina, several critical factors come into play that can significantly influence your chances of winning a wrongful death suit. Understanding these factors and how they impact your case is essential for both clients seeking legal representation and attorneys building a compelling argument. 

Establishing Liability

Central to any wrongful death case is the establishment of negligence or wrongful actions on the part of the defendant. To succeed in your claim, you and your attorney must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person, breached that duty, and that this breach directly led to the death. This can involve demonstrating negligent actions such as reckless driving, medical malpractice, product defects, or other wrongful acts.

Your chances of winning a wrongful death suit hinge on establishing a clear link between the defendant's negligence or wrongful act and the resulting death. It must be shown that the death would not have occurred "but for" the defendant's actions. This causal connection can be complex, requiring expert testimony and thorough evidence to substantiate.

Proving Damages

In wrongful death cases, financial damages are often a significant component. This includes quantifiable losses such as medical bills related to the fatal incident, funeral and burial expenses, and the economic support the deceased would have provided to their family had they lived. Keeping meticulous records of these financial losses is crucial for a successful claim.

While it may be challenging to put a price on emotional pain and suffering, it is a valid component of wrongful death claims in North Carolina. Surviving family members may seek compensation for the emotional distress, loss of companionship, and the impact of the death on their quality of life. These non-economic damages require careful documentation and presentation to the court.

Statute of Limitations

One critical aspect of wrongful death claims is adherence to the statute of limitations. In North Carolina, there is a limited timeframe within which you must file your lawsuit after the death occurs. Failing to do so within this timeframe can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. Consulting with a wrongful death attorney promptly is essential to ensure you meet these deadlines.

Gathering Evidence and Witnesses

Building a compelling case relies heavily on gathering evidence and witness testimonies. This may involve collecting accident reports, medical records, expert opinions, and statements from individuals who can corroborate the circumstances of the death. The more comprehensive your evidence, the stronger your case and chances of winning a wrongful death suit in NC. 

Expert Testimony

In many wrongful death cases, expert testimony is invaluable. Experts in various fields, such as medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, or economists, can provide authoritative opinions on issues like causation, the extent of damages, and the standard of care owed by the defendant.

Examples of When a Client Would Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Winning a wrongful death lawsuit in North Carolina hinges on various factors, including the strength of the evidence and the nature of the incident. While every case is unique, there are scenarios where clients have a higher likelihood of success due to clear-cut negligence and liability. 

Car Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers

When a loved one loses their life in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the negligence is often clear-cut. Drunk driving is illegal and considered reckless behavior. Establishing that the defendant was operating a vehicle under the influence and that this directly led to the fatal crash is typically straightforward. Such cases may increase your chances of winning a wrongful death suit.

Medical Malpractice Resulting in Death

Cases involving medical malpractice leading to a patient's death can be strong grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. If it can be demonstrated that a healthcare provider's negligence, such as surgical errors, misdiagnosis, or medication errors, directly caused the patient's death, there may be a strong case for pursuing compensation and increased chances of winning a wrongful death suit.

Defective Products Leading to Fatal Injuries

When a defective product causes a fatal injury, there is often a clear link between the product's design, manufacture, or labeling and the resulting death. These cases can involve faulty auto parts, dangerous pharmaceuticals, or hazardous consumer products. If it can be proven that the product's defect directly led to the fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued against the manufacturer or distributor.

Slip and Fall Accidents Resulting in Death

Slip and fall accidents on poorly maintained premises can sometimes result in fatal injuries. In cases where it can be established that the property owner or occupier was negligent in maintaining safe conditions, and this negligence directly led to the fatal fall, a wrongful death claim may have a strong chance of being successful.

Employer Negligence Leading to Fatalities

Workplace accidents that result in fatalities due to employer negligence can be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. If an employer failed to provide a safe working environment, violated safety regulations, or failed to train employees properly, and these factors contributed to a fatal accident, the surviving family members may have a solid basis for a lawsuit.

Examples of When a Client Would Not Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

While wrongful death lawsuits offer a means of seeking justice and compensation for the loss of a loved one due to negligence or wrongful actions, not all cases result in a favorable outcome. There are situations where clients may not win a wrongful death lawsuit due to various factors that weaken their claims. 

Insufficient Proof of Negligence

To prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit, it is crucial to establish that the defendant's actions constituted negligence or wrongful behavior. In cases where there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate negligence, such as unclear or conflicting facts surrounding the incident, clients may have difficulty proving their case. Without a compelling argument for the defendant's liability, the lawsuit may not succeed, lowering your chances of winning a wrongful death suit.

Inadequate Documentation or Witnesses

Wrongful death claims often rely on documentation, witness testimonies, and evidence to substantiate the allegations. When there is a lack of documentation or credible witnesses to support the claims, it can be challenging to establish the defendant's liability. An absence of crucial evidence can weaken the case and reduce the chances of winning a wrongful death suit.

Winning a wrongful death lawsuit requires demonstrating a direct causal connection between the defendant's negligence or wrongful actions and the resulting death. In some situations, this link may be tenuous or difficult to establish. If it cannot be clearly demonstrated that the defendant's actions were the primary cause of the death, clients may face challenges in pursuing a successful lawsuit.

The Deceased Party's Own Negligence Contributed to the Accident

North Carolina follows a contributory negligence system, which means that if the deceased party was found to be even partially at fault for the accident leading to their death, the surviving family members may be barred from recovering damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. If evidence indicates that the deceased's actions or decisions contributed to the incident, it can significantly hinder the chances of winning a wrongful death suit.

Filing the Lawsuit Outside the Allowed Time Frame

North Carolina has strict statutes of limitations governing wrongful death claims. If the lawsuit is not filed within the specified time frame, which is typically two years from the date of death, the court may dismiss the case, barring the opportunity for legal recourse. Failing to adhere to this deadline can result in the loss of the right to pursue compensation.

Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in the Raleigh Area Today 

In times of grief and loss, we understand that reaching out for legal assistance can be an emotional and challenging step. Our dedicated wrongful death attorneys serving clients in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, and the surrounding areas are here to provide you with compassionate support and legal expertise during this difficult journey. 

If you believe that your loved one's death was the result of negligence or wrongful actions, we urge you to contact us today. Your pursuit of justice and compensation is not just about seeking closure– it's about honoring the memory of your loved one and ensuring their legacy lives on. 

Let us help you navigate the legal complexities and fight for the justice your family deserves. Get started today by calling The Doyle Law Offices at  (984) 235-1067 or filling out the contact form below.

Contact Form

"*" indicates required fields

Your Name*
By submitting this form, you are consenting to our privacy policy.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.