Fatal Car Accident Lawyers in Raleigh, NC
Did you lose a loved one to a car wreck in Raleigh? If so, you need trusted guidance during this difficult time. You may demand answers and justice if someone else’s carelessness or recklessness caused your loved one’s death.
Wrongful death actions in North Carolina are governed by N.C. General Statute 28A 18-2.
In the aftermath of a tragic accident, you might feel understandably angry and confused. It may seem like you will never recover emotionally or financially from the loss you have suffered. Our compassionate attorneys can help you to seek full compensation for your loved one’s death.
How Common Are North Carolina Car Accident Fatalities?
In a recent year, North Carolina reported 1,755 traffic deaths, marking a major increase from prior years. North Carolina had more traffic deaths in 2021 than in any year in the last two decades. Speeding and distracted driving likely contributed to the rise. The number of crashes with drivers over age 65 increased as well as the number of crashes at intersections.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in North Carolina?
Some states permit the deceased victim’s family to file a wrongful death lawsuit directly in their own name, but North Carolina does not. In North Carolina, only the executor of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death claim in court. The executor may be a family member, but he/she must file the wrongful death law suit in the name of the estate, not their own name. If the deceased had a will, they most likely named an executor. If they did not, or if the executor cannot or will not serve, the court will appoint one. Surviving family members such as spouses, parents, or adult children typically serve as personal representatives.
Who Is Responsible for a Fatal Accident?
Before you can pursue fair compensation for a fatal car crash, you will need to determine which party or parties are to blame for your loved one’s death. Some examples of responsible parties could include:
- Another motorist — Most fatal wrecks are vehicle-on-vehicle crashes in which one or both drivers are to blame. If the other driver was distracted, intoxicated, tired, or failed to obey the rules of the road and caused the crash that killed your loved one, they should compensate you and your family.
- Government entities — Government entities in North Carolina are responsible for designing and maintaining roads. A government’s negligence can include creating unsafe driving conditions by failing to provide proper signs and signals, not removing overgrown vegetation that impedes visibility, failing to properly design roads to be safe at reasonable speeds, and failing to provide adequate crosswalks.
- Construction companies — Construction companies and their managers or employees can be responsible for fatal crashes if they fail to put up the required signs or use flaggers to signal highway construction zones. A construction company may also be responsible if it used or stored construction equipment in a way that endangered motorists and caused a fatal collision.
- Employers — Employers are responsible for what their employees do within the course and scope of employment. As a result, the employer could be held liable if an employee caused a fatal accident while working. If the other vehicle involved in a crash was a commercial vehicle, our North Carolina accident attorneys can determine the owner of the at-fault vehicle, the driver’s employment status, the driver’s purpose for driving when the accident occurred, and whether the at-fault driver was qualified to drive that vehicle.
- Dining or drinking establishments — If a dining or drinking establishment over-serves alcohol to someone they knew would likely drive, and that person causes a crash, the establishment may be liable.
- Negligent entrustment — If a vehicle’s owner lets someone drive that vehicle while knowing the driver is inexperienced, incompetent, unlicensed, intoxicated or has a reckless driving history, the owner could be held responsible if the driver were to cause a fatal crash. This liability extends to parents being accountable for their children’s actions under North Carolina’s family purpose doctrine.
- Passengers — Passengers could cause or contribute to fatal car crashes as well. For example, if a passenger interferes with or distracts the driver, the passenger could be held liable if their actions were to cause a collision.
- Manufacturers — Sometimes, a design or manufacturing defect in a vehicle or one of its components can cause an accident. If that is the case, the manufacturer could be held liable for the results of that defect under product liability laws.
What Are Some Ways to Financially Recover from a Fatal Car Crash?
The Raleigh attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., know how to help victims’ families move forward after the loss of a loved one in a fatal car wreck. We understand that no amount of money can bring your loved one back or ease the emotional pain you feel. We also understand economic realities. You may be facing funeral costs and end-of-life medical bills while dealing with the sudden loss of your loved one’s income. You shouldn’t be burdened with financial stress because of someone else’s negligence. You may have a right to hold the at-fault driver and/or their insurance company financially accountable.
The damages our fatal car accident attorneys can help you to pursue include:
- Medical and funeral expenses — Emergency and end-of-life care are expensive. Ambulances, helicopters, surgeons, and hospital stays add to the cost. Funeral costs for a tragic accident are always unexpected. Families trying to make ends meet themselves have to come up with the money to provide their deceased loved one with the dignity of a proper goodbye. Medical bills and funeral costs to be paid through the proceeds of the wrongful death lawsuit are limited by statute to $4,500.00.
- Loved one’s pain and suffering — North Carolina allows the deceased person’s estate to seek damages for the deceased’s pain and suffering before he or she died.
- Loss of income — If your deceased loved one worked and helped support the household, then you and your family have lost that income. We can help you hold the negligent party financially responsible for that lost income, which can buffer the financial impact of their actions.
- Loss of services, care, companionship, comfort, and guidance — North Carolina law permits the decedent’s estate to sue for damages caused by the emotional and physical void the loss of the loved one leaves in the lives of close family members.
Our Raleigh Fatal Car Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help You
Turn to an experienced Raleigh fatal car accident lawyer at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. today if you have lost a loved one in a crash. We have the commitment and experience to help grieving families seek full and fair compensation for the loss of their loved ones. Contact us today for a free consultation.