Wrongful Death: When Is It Too Late to Sue?

When a family loses a loved one in an unexpected way, it can be overwhelmingly traumatic for the survivors. When the loved one was lost due to another's negligence, the grief is only matched in its intensity by anger.

If you've recently lost a loved one as a result of another's negligence, then you have a right to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. But, statutes of limitations do apply, so it is important to know when you have to file your case by.

Here, our wrongful death attorney in Wilmington NC explains the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in the state of North Carolina.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

In North Carolina, the current statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years, which starts being measured from the date of the victim's death. But, there are some exclusions that can be considered.

Because the action is derivative, a wrongful death claim can be filed within the time period during which the victim could have filed a claim for injuries, had they lived. In other words, if the victim suffers an injury and then dies as a result of those injuries within three years of receiving them, then a family could file a wrongful death claim despite it being longer than two years since the fatal injury was received. But, if the victim dies at a point beyond three years of his injury date, then the wrongful death claim would be time-barred by the applicable three year statute of limitations for negligence actions.

What Makes a Wrongful Death Claim Viable?

In order for a wrongful death claim to be viable, it must filed within the two year statute of limitations and within the applicable statutes of limitations concerning a claim alleging the infliction of the injuries causing death, which is measured by whether the injured person could have brought that claim had he or she survived.

What Damages are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The recoverable damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can vary based on several factors, but they typically include:

  1. Any expenses accrued for hospitalization, care, and treatments pertaining to the injury that resulted in death
  2. Compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent
  3. Reasonable funeral expenses
  4. The present monetary value of the decedent to the persons entitled to receive the damages recovered, including but not limited to compensation for the loss of the reasonably expected:
    • Net income of the decedent
    • Services, protection, care, and assistance of the decedent, whether voluntary or obligatory, to the persons entitled to the damages recovered
    • Society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices, and advice of the decedent to the persons entitled to the damages recovered
  5. Punitive damages that the decedent could have recovered pursuant to Chapter 1D of the General Statutes had he survived
  6. Punitive damages for wrongfully causing the death of the decedent through malice or willful or wanton conduct, as defined in G.S. 1D-5
  7. Nominal damages should the jury so find

Are You Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim? Call Bain & Rodzik Today

If you lost a loved one due to another's negligent actions, but you're not sure if you're within the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim, contact Bain & Rodzik's wrongful death attorney in Wilmington NC today. We will look over your case and let you know whether you're within the applicable statutes of limitations for your case and in the event you are, help you attain the damages you're entitled to.

At Bain & Rodzik, our lawyers are compassionate and experienced in helping families through the overwhelming process of losing their loved ones. We will work tirelessly on your behalf until you get the justice and compensation you deserve, and you don't pay us a cent unless we win your case.

Contact Bain & Rodzik today at 910-762-1199 to schedule a free initial consultation.