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Learn Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in North Carolina

Guiding grieving families through the legal process

Along with your personal grief, the death of your loved one can put a substantial financial strain on your family. No amount of money can diminish the anguish you experience after a tragic accident took the life of someone who meant so much to you. Instead, a wrongful death lawsuit is intended to provide your family with the financial security that was also taken away from you.

For the past 27 years, The Law Firm of John C. Hensley, Jr., P.C. has helped families like yours who have suffered tremendous losses. We do all we can to ease the burden of the legal process to give your family the privacy, respect and confidentiality you need at this difficult time.

Plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit

Your loved one’s personal representative or administrator initiates a wrongful death action. Although the plaintiff is likely a relative of your family member, the claim is brought on behalf of the estate. Expenses and fees associated with the wrongful death lawsuit are paid from the estate. A wrongful death lawsuit necessitates opening the estate in the superior court even if probate would not otherwise be required.

Distribution of the damages award

The distribution of compensation recovered through wrongful death litigation is governed by North Carolina General Statute § 28A‑18‑2. The estate recovers the award won through a settlement or verdict, which is then paid to creditors and beneficiaries as follows:

  • Reasonable and necessary expenses of bringing the lawsuit
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Hospital and medical bills related to the fatal accident up to the statutory amount
  • Beneficiaries of the estate in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act formula for distribution

If your loved one left dependent children under the age of 18, the court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent the minors in the lawsuit, and the court must approve the appropriate distribution of the judgment award.

For guidance in filing a wrongful death claim, you can count on our legal team

For more information about the legal process of filing a wrongful death claim, call The Law Firm of John C. Hensley, Jr., P.C. at 828-348-0092 or contact us online. We provide you with a free initial consultation and represent you on contingency.