How are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

How-are-Wrongful-Death-Settlements-Paid-OutThe death of a family member is often a sad situation. The grief and trauma can be extreme when the loss occurs due to an accident or the negligence of another person.

When this occurs, the loved ones of the victim can file a wrongful death claim against those responsible for the death. This holds them financially accountable for their actions.

At Dawson & Albritton, P.A. in Greenville, our experienced wrongful death attorneys have helped many clients file and manage wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of their lost loved one.

Call the office today to schedule an appointment to learn more about whether you have a claim. Also, learn how wrongful death settlements are paid out in North Carolina.

What is Wrongful Death?

Under North Carolina law, wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. Had the victim survived the encounter, he would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible. A wrongful death claim allows the family of the victim to file a claim on the victim’s behalf for damages.

Wrongful death cases can occur in a multitude of ways. They include:

  • Car and truck accidents,
  • Motorcycle accidents,
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents,
  • Slip and fall cases,
  • Intentional violence,
  • Defective products,
  • Premises liability cases,
  • and more.

In North Carolina, the personal representative of the estate of the victim must file the lawsuit for wrongful death on behalf of the estate and the surviving family members. The statute of limitations on a wrongful death case is two years from the date of death. If a family fails to file a claim in that time, the court can throw out the lawsuit. This will bar any recovery of damages.

Compensation for Wrongful Death Claims

Compensation for wrongful death claims includes payment for both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages refer to the out of pocket expenses paid by the victim and their family as a result of the fatal event. This includes:

  • Final medical expenses,
  • Property damage,
  • and the loss of future income and benefits from the deceased.

In a wrongful death case, economic damages also cover reasonable funeral and burial expenses for the family.

Noneconomic damages include payment for:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • The loss of the victim’s services, protection, care, and assistance,
  • and the loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice.

The court in North Carolina may also include punitive damages to the compensation for wrongful death cases. Punitive damages are additional compensation with intention to punish the wrongdoers. They are for particularly willful and wanton behavior and serve as a deterrent to others who may consider similar acts.

How are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

Wrongful death claims can be paid out to the surviving family members in two main ways:

1. Lump Sum Payment for Damages

The first is in a lump sum payment for damages. The victim’s family gets one large payment to cover the loss. This can give a certain level of financial flexibility to cover expenses.

The lump sum payment gets spread amongst the surviving family members who are eligible under the law. This typically includes a spouse, children, parents, and siblings.

2. Structured Settlement

The second option for payment of a wrongful death claim is as a structured settlement. This means the defendant in the case pays out in smaller payments over time. So, this provides less financial flexibility to the family of the victim but does ensure compensation over a significant period of time. This can help in the payment of any long-term expenses that resulted from the fatal event.

Call or Contact Our Office Today

The loss of a loved one is never easy. You should not have to add the struggle of managing a wrongful death claim to your grieving process. Let the experienced wrongful death attorneys at Dawson & Albritton, P.A. help you navigate your claims for a North Carolina wrongful death case. Call the office in Greenville or contact us today to schedule a free consultation of your case.

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