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Wrongful Death Attorneys in Raleigh

Serving Families Across North Carolina After Preventable Loss

No amount of money can compensate families for the pain of losing a loved one, but Edwards Kirby is committed to helping surviving family members hold those at fault fully accountable. Though wrongful death lawsuits can be emotionally turbulent and trying matters, our experienced team of attorneys can help you overcome the legal obstacles that stand in the way of justice.

Even with our successful history litigating wrongful death actions, every new case is humbling and inspiring. We know our clients count on our experience, expertise, and determination to see them through difficult times – and we’re passionate about obtaining the outcomes they deserve.

Why Is Edwards Kirby the Right Choice?

  • Over 170 Years of Collective Experience
  • Hundreds of Millions Recovered for Clients, Record-Setting Results
  • Led By Two Inner Circle of Advocates Members (Top 100 Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Nationally)
  • Compassionate Legal Team, Free & Confidential Consultations

For a free review of your claim, call (919) 335-7005 or contact us online.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in North Carolina

Wrongful death claims are civil legal actions that seek financial responsibility against parties who caused someone’s death by their negligent or wrongful acts. Unlike criminal cases, wrongful death actions do not require Plaintiffs (the party bringing a suit) to prove a Defendant is guilty of a crime. Instead, they concern only whether a defendant was more likely than not (rather than beyond a reasonable doubt) responsible for causing the loved one’s death.

In North Carolina, wrongful death claims consist of a few key elements. Generally, this means proving:

  • The defendant was responsible, in part or in whole, for the victim’s death;
  • Negligence or liability on the part of the defendant (i.e. breach of duty);
  • The victim’s death was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions;
  • Surviving family members suffered actual damages as a result.

Every wrongful death claim is unique, and each case can entail endless challenges – from multiple liable parties and complex medical concepts (such as in the case of medical malpractice) to disputed liability, vicarious or several liability, and more. Edwards Kirby can help families navigate the legal hurdles to proving fault and liability in wrongful death claims.

Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

In legal terminology, financial compensation awarded to victims in successful wrongful death claims is known as damages. When found liable for the preventable death of a victim, defendants are financially responsible for paying victims for their damages. In wrongful death cases, these damages include both the financial losses arising from a family member’s death, as well as the non-economic damages incurred by victims and grieving family members, which are more difficult to translate into monetary sums.

North Carolina’s Wrongful Death Statute (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-18-2) outlines damages families can recover for the preventable death of their loved ones. The law combines two traditional parts of a wrongful death case:

  • Survival action, which is the claim the victim possessed prior to their passing (i.e. pre-death medical expenses); and
  • Wrongful death action, which is brought on behalf of the victim’s family for damages they suffered as a result of their loved one’s death.

In general, wrongful death suits can provide compensation for:

  • Medical expenses incurred prior to a victim’s death
  • Physical pain and suffering endured by the victim before their passing
  • Loss of income prior to death
  • Lost income a victim would have earned
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of emotional support, services, care, companionship, and guidance

Our Recent Wrongful Death Cases:

  • $9.45M settlement over a deadly tanker truck wreck on I-95.
  • $8.6M settlement against an intoxicated driver who drove the wrong way on a highway.
  • $6M settlement for the family of a young lifeguard electrocuted as a result of electrical wiring failures and a short in a pool pump motor.
  • $2.7M settlement for the family of a father killed in a tractor-trailer wreck on a N.C. Highway.
  • $1.2M settlement for the family of a police shooting victim.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, wrongful death lawsuits are brought by a personal representative of the victim, on behalf of beneficiaries.

Personal Representative: If the victim had a will, the personal representative would be the executor. If no will was left, the person who would qualify as the estate administrator would be the personal representative. If no executor or administrator wants to serve as a personal representative, a court-appointed public administrator will serve.

Beneficiaries: Though specific parties must “bring” a wrongful death claim in North Carolina, the beneficiaries of a lawsuit include any persons who would be entitled to a victim’s estate under the North Carolina Intestate Succession Act (the law which governs how estates are distributed when a decedent did not have a will).

Examples of individuals who may be entitled to wrongful death damages include:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Other beneficiaries

What Is The Statute of Limitations?

In most cases, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the victim’s death. However, there are circumstances which can shorten the time in which a lawsuit much be filed.

Because statutes of limitations can vary depending on the unique facts of a case, and because filing a timely claim preserves a family’s right to recover damages, it is strongly encouraged that plaintiffs with potential claims seek assistance from experienced attorneys to assess the merits of their case as soon as possible.

At Edwards Kirby, we provide free and confidential consultations during which we can review your case and discuss the applicable statute of limitations.

How is Liability Determined?

How liability is determined in a wrongful death action will vary from case to case. As highly fact-specific legal claims, wrongful death suits require in-depth evaluations of the circumstances surrounding a victim’s death, the actions of potentially at-fault parties, specific rules, standards, or regulations that may apply to the situation, and numerous other particularities and laws.

At Edwards Kirby, our legal team has secured record-setting results and millions in compensation for families in a range of wrongful death cases, and can help you understand liability in relation to your potential case during a consultation. We handle a range of cases, including those involving:

Have questions about a potential case and how our award-winning trial lawyers can help you? Edwards Kirby is available to take your call. We proudly serve clients throughout Raleigh and the state of North Carolina.

  • Inner Circle of Advocates
    This is a rare and exclusive legal honor limited to the top 100 attorneys in the US, and we are proud to have John Edwards and David Kirby included.
  • Best Lawyers In America
    Four Edwards Kirby Attorneys Named to The Best Lawyers in America.
  • U.S. News Best Law Firm
    We are proud to be included in this prestigious list of law firms, selected for both quality of practice and extent of legal experience and skill.
  • SuperLawyers
    This rating service honors attorneys who have achieved a high level of professional achievement and peer recognition. Selected attorneys are included in Super Lawyers® magazine’s list.
  • AV Preeminent
    This highly prestigious honor is reserved for attorneys who are nominated by both clients and peers in a range of categories, including Quality of Service, Legal Experience, and more.
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
    This prestigious organization aims to continuously build upon a foundation of legal ethics and high technical standards for civil trial attorneys. We are proud to have membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates.
  • Legal Elite
    This honor, awarded by Business North Carolina magazine, recognizes the state’s top business and employment lawyers, as selected by their peers in a statewide ballot.
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
    Fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers is extended only to the top 1% of attorneys in a given state or providence. Our firm is proud to have members of this prestigious North American organization.
  • International Society of Barristers
    The International Society of Barristers aims to encourage fellowship, ethics, and advocacy excellence. We are proud to have attorneys who are Fellows of the Society, committed to the highest level of integrity and civility.
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
    Attorney John Edwards has been included in this invitation only group of the premier trial lawyers in each state.
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40
    Attorneys Cate Edwards, Winston Kirby and Mary Kathryn Kurth were named "Top 40 Under 40" by the National Trial Lawyers.
  • Lawyers of Distinction
    Attorney Cate Edwards has been selected for this prestigious award after undergoing a stringent evaluation process based on peer recognition, past results, and reputation. Only the top 10% of attorneys in each state are selected to the final list.