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What Is the Damage Cap for Wrongful Death in North Carolina?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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The damage cap for a wrongful death in the state should be maximized by using Charlotte wrongful death attorneys to help you. If you have lost a family member because of another party’s negligent or illegal actions, you can seek accountability and compensation through a wrongful death suit. While this is similar to a personal injury claim, there are key differences, particularly those pertaining to the damages available.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Suit

Similar to a personal injury claim, a wrongful death suit enables a plaintiff to claim economic and non-economic damages from the defendant who caused the death. However, state law limits eligibility for filing a wrongful death claim to the victim’s closest surviving relatives, such as their spouse or children. If they named a personal representative in their estate plan, this person would likely assume responsibility for filing a wrongful death suit for them.

After establishing liability for the death, it is possible for a wrongful death suit to yield full compensation for all economic damages the family incurred because of the death, such as:

  • Funeral and burial expenses. It is likely that the funeral will take place prior to the resolution of the wrongful death suit. Whoever paid for the funeral and burial can receive reimbursement as part of the wrongful death settlement.
  • The final medical expenses for the deceased’s final injury and other damages incurred by their estate.
  • Lost financial support that the deceased can no longer provide to their family. Charlotte wrongful death attorneys can help their clients accurately assess the future income decedents could have earned had they survived.
  • Lost value of childcare and household services that the deceased provided to their family. For example, if a parent dies, the other parent may need to pay for childcare and other assistance in maintaining their household, and the defendant would be responsible for these increased living expenses.

Non-economic damages are more subjective and pertain to the family’s emotional distress from the loss of their loved one. North Carolina only limits this aspect of recovery in wrongful death cases from medical malpractice. For all other claims, plaintiffs may seek as much as they believe to be reasonable. This often amounts to several times the total of the economic damages sought from the defendant.

When it comes to caps or limits on damages in wrongful death suits, there are no such caps or limits except for medical malpractice cases. In all wrongful death suits, there is no limit on economic damages, and plaintiffs can expect full repayment of all claimed economic damages if they succeed with their cases. There is, however, a limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits, but this could be waived under certain conditions.

There is also a limit on punitive damages. As the name suggests, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant for egregious negligence and/or illegal misconduct resulting from the death. However, the cap on punitive damages is waived in drunk driving accident cases. Charlotte wrongful death attorneys can explain all applicable caps on damages to their clients and help them maximize the results of their wrongful death suits.

What is the damage cap for wrongful death in North Carolina?


Q: Is There a Cap on Wrongful Death Damages?

A: The only caps on damages for civil suits in North Carolina pertain to medical malpractice cases and punitive damages in all other cases. Punitive damages are capped at $250,000 or three times the total of their claimed economic damages, and non-economic damages in wrongful death cases filed under medical malpractice law are capped at $500,000. However, this cap may be waived at the discretion of the judge.

Q: How Much Is My Wrongful Death Suit Worth?

A: The total value of a wrongful death claim can vary based on many factors. Charlotte wrongful death attorneys help their clients calculate the full range of economic damages they can seek from defendants and determine appropriate pain and suffering compensation. It is also possible for the plaintiff to recover punitive damages if the defendant broke the law in causing the fatal injury.

Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Suit?

A: You have a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death suit in the state. This means that the party bringing the claim must file it with the court within two years of the date of the death. However, if the cause of death can’t be immediately determined, the statute of limitations may begin on the date of discovery or the date when the cause of death could be ascertained by the victim’s family.

Q: Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

A: You can file a wrongful death claim without a lawyer, but you will be far more likely to reach a positive conclusion and more likely to secure maximum compensation from the defendant if you have trusted legal counsel on your side. Charlotte wrongful death attorneys can streamline their client’s cases, maximize their case awards, and address any complex or uncertain variables in their cases they do not know how to address alone.

Q: What Are Attorneys’ Fees for Charlotte Wrongful Death Attorneys?

A: Most Charlotte wrongful death attorneys charge a contingency fee for such suits. This means you do not pay attorneys’ fees upfront, nor are you charged ongoing fees. Instead, your fee is a percentage of the final award we recover. You only pay this fee if we win, so there is no economic risk to you and your family by choosing our firm as your legal representation.

The Charlotte wrongful death attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler understand the emotional weight any wrongful death suit can carry and that you are likely to have many important legal questions that you simply cannot answer on your own. If you would like to learn how our firm can assist with your impending case, contact us today to schedule your free consultation and find out how we can assist you.