If your loved one died unexpectedly, you’re probably not only suffering from a great deal of emotional pain, but you also may be feeling an increasing financial strain due to additional expenses and the loss of your loved one’s income. If their death was the result of someone else’s negligence or careless actions, you might be able to pursue compensation with the help of DeMayo Law Offices. We can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit to cover all the expenses related to your loved one’s injury and death.
The legal definition of wrongful death is the death of a person due to another’s recklessness, negligence, or intentional action. More than one person could be responsible for an event that causes fatalities, such as the driver of a commercial vehicle owned by a trucking company. The liable party can be an individual, business, employee, manufacturer, a third-party company, or a government agency.
The personal injury attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices will work aggressively and resolutely to secure the full compensation you’re owed. You shouldn’t have to face an additional financial burden during this devasting time. Our Charlotte wrongful death lawyers can help you, as we’ve helped many other clients facing a similar situation.
To find out more about wrongful death cases and how we can help you pursue one, call us at (704) 333-1000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced intake specialists.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Motor vehicle crashes are one of the most common reasons wrongful deaths occur. That’s because this type of accident can happen due to a variety of different reasons. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 40,000 people die each year in the United States in motor vehicle accidents.
You can seek compensation from the driver for reckless and negligent behavior, such as:
- Impaired driving
- Drowsy driving
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Distracted driving
It’s also possible that a part on the vehicle was defective, and that’s what led to the crash. If that’s the case, you could sue the manufacturer of the part for a monetary award on behalf of your loved one.
Medical malpractice is the result of a medical professional acting in a way that is negligent towards their patient. The leading causes of medical malpractice fatalities involve:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Anesthesia issues
- Errors in medication
- Surgical mistakes
This broad legal area covers all consumer products that suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, and distributors are responsible for. They must ensure the products they’re providing to the public are safe and don’t pose any dangers. If there are dangers, they must issue a warning label.
The three main types of product liability that could cause someone’s death are:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Failure to warn
Anyone could suffer a fatal injury at their place of work. Those in the construction and industrial professions are typically at more risk of physical harm than other job types. Occupational fatalities can result from accidents, such as the following:
- Slips and falls
- Severe burns
- Hazardous chemical exposure
- Heavy machinery and equipment injuries
Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a rapidly growing problem throughout the country. Many elderly patients spend their days suffering physical, emotional, and psychological harm at the hands of their caregivers. It often goes unnoticed or unreported because many residents fear the consequences of speaking up against their abuser, or they’re unable to do so.
Many nursing home residents who die as a result of nursing home negligence suffer fatal injuries from:
- Physical abuse or neglect
- Medication errors
Defective Medical Devices
Advances in technology allow patients to improve their quality of life and reduce painful symptoms of medical conditions with the help of a medical device. When a doctor provides or installs the device, they likely don’t know of the potential harm that the device may cause. Manufacturers may hide the dangers of their medical devices from physicians, retailers, and consumers.
Examples of medical devices that could potentially lead to a fatal injury or illness include:
- Cypher Stents
- Transvaginal mesh
- Calaxo® Bone Screws
- Guidant Heart Defibrillators
Most pedestrian accident fatalities occur because the pedestrian suffers blunt force trauma from getting hit by a motor vehicle. They could be crossing the road in a crosswalk or walking alongside the road on a sidewalk. Either way, the impact of a 3,000-pound car can be deadly.
Drivers are supposed to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. If they fail to yield and fatally injure the pedestrian, they could face legal ramifications.
Property owners, business owners, managers, and maintenance departments are responsible for keeping the interior and exterior of commercial properties safe and free from hazards. If someone gets hurt and dies because of the dangerous conditions, their immediate family can file a wrongful death claim.
The most common reasons for wrongful death cases from a premises liability include:
- Slip and falls
- Negligent security
- Poor maintenance and repairs
- Fires or explosions
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Malfunctioning elevator or escalator
- Poorly lit stairway, walkway, or parking area
- Animal attacks or dog bites
Dogs have sharp teeth and strong jaws no matter what kind of breed it is. Even a Chihuahua, which is the smallest breed of dog, could easily break a person’s skin with their teeth. When a dog attacks someone, they could puncture a tendon or break a bone. The injury becomes fatal when the following factors exist:
- The victim is a child
- The dog is a dangerous breed
- The injury results in a fatal infection or fatal lacerations
Dangerous drugs can come in a prescription form or over the counter. They’re common medications people regularly use to treat various medical conditions that could cause physical harm. Drugs like Zantac that contain a toxic substance that could increase someone’s risk of developing cancer. Fatal injuries resulting from harmful pharmaceuticals typically involve some type of cancer or disease.
Most motorcycle-related fatalities happen because people in cars don’t see a motorcyclist near them and end up crashing into them. Sometimes, the bike rider is responsible for an accident, but most of the time, the driver of another vehicle is to blame.
Most motorcycle accident deaths are due to:
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Opening a car door in motorcyclist’s path
Commercial vehicles, such as big rigs and tractor-trailers, are large, heavy, and carry a cargo load. When they collide with a small passenger car, the injuries are often life-threatening, and some become fatal. Multiple parties could be at fault in this type of crash:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Third-party maintenance or repair service
- Parts manufacturer
- Owner of the cab
- Owner of the trailer
- Cargo owner
Truck accident deaths occur when one or more of the above parties is negligent in their duties. That could occur because of any of the following reasons:
- Truck driver distraction or inattention
- Uneven or overloaded cargo
- Failure to check blind spots
- Turning too quickly
- Underride or override accident
- Improper maintenance or repairs of commercial vehicle
- Unqualified, untrained, or inexperienced driver
How to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim
To file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, you need to ensure you’re the right person qualified to do so. In North Carolina, there are only a few people that can seek compensation after the wrongful death of their loved one.
If the deceased had an estate plan, there might be a personal representative listed. That person would serve as the “executor” of the estate and carry out the last wishes. The personal representative also has the right to file a wrongful death suit against the person who caused the victim’s death.
If there’s no estate plan or the personal representative cannot perform their duties, the court can appoint another person as the personal representative.
You must have evidence that proves the elements of negligence existed at the time of your loved one’s death:
- The defendant owed the deceased a duty of care;
- The defendant breached their duty;
- The breach led to a fatality; and
- Your loved one’s death resulted in damages.
The damages you could win compensation for include:
- Medical expenses from the victim’s date of injury to date of death
- Pain and suffering your loved one endured before passing away
- Loss of income the deceased would have earned if they survived
- Cost of funeral and burial services
- Loss of love, companionship, household services, etc. your loved one provided you while they were alive
- Punitive damages
The statute of limitations for suing the at-fault party for the wrongful death of your loved one is two years. That means you have two years from the date they passed away to file your lawsuit with the civil court. After the statute passes, you won’t be able to pursue legal action against the negligent party for this particular matter.
Speak to a Charlotte Wrongful Death Lawyer from DeMayo Law Offices
We offer a free initial consultation and provide our legal services on contingency. You won’t have to pay anything upfront to retain our law firm and receive the representation you need.
Our Charlotte wrongful death attorneys will fight hard to pursue the financial compensation you deserve. This has been a traumatic experience for you, and we want to help you seek justice for your loved one’s death.
If someone you know died as the result of another person’s negligence or careless behavior, call us at (704) 333-1000, and we’ll get you the monetary award you need to move forward with your life.