When the death of a person is caused by another person under circumstances that would have allowed an action for personal injury, North Carolina permits a claim for wrongful death. An action for wrongful death must be brought by the Executor, Administrator or Collector of the deceased person’s estate. However, even though the claim must be brought by the Personal Representative or Collector, the persons that will actually receive the damages are those persons who would inherit from the deceased person in the absence of a will.
Under the North Caroli
a Wrongful Death Statute, damages that may be recovered for death by wrongful act include expenses for care, treatment and hospitalization incident to the injury resulting in death; compensation for pain and suffering of the decedent; the reasonable funeral expenses of the decedent; the present monetary value of the decedent to receive the damages recovered, including the loss of net income of the decedent, the loss of services, protection, care and assistance of the decedent, the loss of the society, companionship, comfort, guidance and advice of the decedent; and punitive damages, if permitted by law. The expenses for care, treatment and hospitalization, compensation for pain and suffering of the decedent and punitive damages are similar to those that could be recovered in an action for personal injury. For additional information on these items of damages please click here.
There is no rule or precise formula for measuring the present monetary value of the decedent. Damages awarded will vary according to the age of the deceased person, the ages of the beneficiaries and the relationship between the beneficiaries and the deceased. The law governing the types of damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death case and the evidence used to prove those damages is complex. Settling a personal injury claim until your attorney has an opportunity to carefully determine what damages may be available to you and prepare the most convincing evidence of those damages is not recommended.