Help with Filing North Carolina Wrongful Death Claims

If a loved one was killed because of another’s fault, our Asheville wrongful death lawyer may be able to help. A wrongful death claim can provide the estate with compensation for some of the harm. It makes a personal injury claim on behalf of the deceased to hold accountable the parties responsible for the death.

Lakota R. Denton represents estates filing wrongful death claims. He and his staff are committed to helping the families of those fatally injured to get the compensation they deserve.

I’m leaving a 5-star review for Lakota Denton and his excellent team because of their utmost care and compassion. I came to them drowning in the turbid waters of despondent lawyers and sketchy doctors, and they put me on a plan to physical recovery, while they recovered my case. Lakota is a lawyer with keen awareness, dignity, and most importantly, heart. Thank you, Lakota.” – Ganesh Braymiller

“Excellent in every way. Lakota is easily the best lawyer I have ever worked with. Effective, efficient, honest, compassionate, friendly and fair. Hiring a lawyer can be stressful, but Lakota transforms that stress into confidence. And that confidence is then justified by the results he gets. Thanks for your help Lakota!” – Stephen Barnard

“I couldn’t be happier with the job Lakota Denton and his awesome staff did for me after I had my accident. They all really cared about my outcome and stayed in touch every step of the way. I can’t recommend him enough!! 5 stars all the way. Thank you!” – Peter Estrada

In an accident? Need Help? This is your turn-key, set-it-and-forget-it solution! Lakota and Jenny are two of the best friends you will meet in Asheville! If anything can go sideways, be atypical or oddball… it seems like it will happen to me. True to form, several legal obstacles cropped up, even though I was not at fault in the accident.” – Christopher McGrath

“Lakota provided me with a free consultation and gave me crucial information on how to handle my accident case with an 18 wheeler. His guidance set me on the right path to maximizing my settlement while feeling confident I understood the process. I cannot recommend his services enough, he was an incredible help to me.” – Amy Fisher

“Lakota Denton is a champion for the people. He worked with me on a car accident case and won the maximum settlement. He has a strong reputation as an experienced trial lawyer so insurance companies know he doesn’t mess around.” – Chalkley Matlack

“Attorney Lakota Denton was super effective at isolating the issue, building a strong case, and achieving immediate results on behalf of clients in a matter that is so key to our constitutional rights. If looking for an attorney, look no further. You need him in your court!” – Zachery Adam

“Incredibly helpful folks- whether you end up utilizing their services or not. They provided me with peace of mind on a terrible day when I had no idea what steps to take. You won’t find a friendlier or better informed personal injury lawyer in Asheville! Even if you’re just not sure of your rights or the steps to take, it’s definitely worth making the call!” – Chessa Budai

Our Wrongful Death Attorney in Asheville Can Explain the Law and How It Applies in Your Case

If a loved one was killed because of another’s fault, our Asheville wrongful death lawyer may be able to help. A wrongful death claim can provide the estate with compensation for some of the harm. It makes a personal injury claim on behalf of the deceased to hold accountable the parties responsible for the death.

Lakota R. Denton represents estates filing wrongful death claims. He and his staff are committed to helping the families of those fatally injured to get the compensation they deserve.

When there is a death, the deceased’s estate (all their assets and debts) is probated, whether they have a will or not. The court appoints a personal representative who will be responsible for the estate. If the deceased died due to someone’s negligence or intentional act, the personal representative might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party or parties who caused the death. North Carolina Statutes section 28A-18-2 describes wrongful death as one caused “by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”

The people benefiting from the wrongful death claim would be the person’s next of kin if there is no will or the person’s beneficiaries if a will was executed. Give Lakota Denton a call at 828-333-5996 to learn what options you have in your case.

Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

Negligence is a legal theory used when a serious mistake by a person, company, nonprofit, or government agency caused an injury. To be successful, the personal representative, with the help of our wrongful death attorney in Asheville, would need to show:

  • The defendant (the party sued, facing liability for a serious accident) owed an obligation to the deceased to do or not do something in a situation. It could be a fellow driver who has the duty of obeying the speed limit, a doctor performing surgery with an acceptable level of skill, or an electrician doing work safely enough that it won’t start a fire.
  • The defendant failed the obligation by making a critical error, which caused an accident.
  • That the accident caused a fatal injury.
  • The deceased suffered harm that can result in compensation (known as damages).
  • Under North Carolina law, the defendant must pay those damages.

North Carolina personal injury law states that if the injured person played any role in causing the accident, legal claims can be dismissed. If the defendant has evidence that the deceased made a mistake too, and it partially caused the accident, the lawsuit will fail.

Depend on the Expertise of Lakota Denton’s Knowledge of NC Wrongful Death Laws

Given how this issue may end your family’s legal rights, it’s critical that you consult with wrongful death lawyer Lakota R. Denton before talking to an insurance company or providing any information. You may mistakenly say something that puts some blame on the deceased, ending the claim before it starts.

Our Wrongful Death Attorney Can Make Sure Your Case is Filed on Time

There are different time limits to filing legal claims in the state, which can be confusing.

  • If you’re injured in an accident and recover, you have three years from the date of the crash to file a personal injury claim against the defendant.
  • If the deceased was injured in an accident and died the same day, the estate has two years from the date of death to file the wrongful death claim.
  • If the deceased survived for two years after the accident, the wrongful death case must be filed within three years of the accident or one year after the death.

The time limit, or statute of limitations, can play out in many ways, depending on what happened and when. If you miss this deadline, the case will be dismissed, and there will be no recovery. This is an important reason why you should contact wrongful death lawyer Lakota R. Denton as soon as possible after an accident injures or kills a close family member. You can reach our team at 828-333-5996 or by using our online form.

Our Wrongful Death Lawyer in Asheville Can Help Your Family Receive Fair Compensation

If you qualify for a wrongful death claim, you should work with a skilled attorney to be sure you get all the possible compensation you are due. A wrongful death lawsuit could compensate family members for:

  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses resulting from the injury
  • The deceased’s pain and suffering before his or her death
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of the deceased person’s services, protection, care, and assistance
  • Loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, and advice.

Punitive damages could also be awarded. Under North Carolina law, these damages can are available “to punish a defendant for egregiously wrongful acts and to deter the defendant and others from committing similar wrongful acts.” In a case where compensatory damages are awarded, there can be punitive damages if there is “willful or wanton conduct” which can be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.”

“Willful or wanton conduct” is defined as “the conscious and intentional disregard of and indifference to the rights and safety of others, which the defendant knows or should know is reasonably likely to result in injury, damage, or other harm.”

To be awarded punitive damages, there needs to be solid evidence that the defendant went beyond more than a serious, negligent mistake. The actions would need to be intentional, or close to it, to have a successful punitive damages claim. Examples could be:

  • A medical device maker knew a product caused patients’ injuries but sold it anyway.
  • A nursing home operator failed to take proper care of a resident and, as a result, the person became seriously ill. The nursing home didn’t transport her to a hospital until it was too late, and she couldn’t be treated successfully.
  • Two drivers raced each other on an interstate at high speeds, despite there being other vehicles on the road. One of the drivers lost control and collided with a car, killing its driver.

These types of cases can be complex, and working with a skilled wrongful death attorney will fight for all damages that apply to your case. Lakota Denton believes in being bluntly honest with our clients. You can be sure he will let you know what compensatory options are — and are not — available to you. Give our team a call today at 828-333-5996 to learn about your legal options.

What Kind of Settlement Might Our Asheville Wrongful Death Lawyer Negotiate?

What’s the settlement value of your wrongful death case? It depends on many things. It starts with the damages. Especially important are:

  • Medical and health-related bills
  • Lost income
  • Compensation for pain and suffering and mental suffering.

A particular person or business is sued for wrongful death, but their insurance company pays for their legal defense, settlement, or jury verdict. The company will come up with a multiplier, which is used to calculate pain and suffering damages. You add up all actual damages (documented costs like medical bills and lost income) and multiply that by a number, normally between 1.5 and 5.

This multiplier goes up when the evidence shows:

  • The insured’s liability is clear
  • Evidence that the deceased was at fault is weak or doesn’t exist
  • Reputable physicians treated the deceased
  • The diagnosis is undisputed
  • The injuries were obviously painful and traumatic
  • The deceased suffered (discomfort, pain, scarring, disability) and it’s documented.

The multiplier can impact a settlement offer by tens of thousands of dollars, so wrongful death lawyers in Asheville often strongly advocate for the highest figure possible.

Other factors that can impact a settlement include:

  • A settlement figure will go only as high as the policy’s coverage limit.
  • If the insured’s act was intentional, it’s probably excluded from coverage. The insurance company may offer little or nothing to settle.

Another issue is how aggressively the personal representative wants to pursue the case. He or she may want to turn down offers, hoping for a higher figure when a trial starts or that a jury may award. Another person may not want to risk losing everything at a trial and accept the certainty of a lower, but agreed upon, settlement.

A personal representative owes a legal duty to the estate to act in its best interests. If he or she is too extreme on either end, heirs or beneficiaries could file suit. They might claim that the person settled for too little or turned down a good wrongful death settlement before a case was dismissed or a jury awarded an amount much less than a proposed settlement.

A Wrongful Death Case Can Be Based on Any Death Caused by Negligence or an Intentional Act

As long as negligence caused a loved one’s death, just about any situation could lead to a wrongful death case. Consider data on the various causes of death in NC in recent years. Many of the ways in which a person died could lead to a wrongful death claim.

The No. 3 killer in North Carolina in 2018 was accidents, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after cancer and heart disease.

Also, in 2018, there were 167,127 deaths caused by preventable accidents nationwide, reports the National Safety Council (NSC), an increase of 93% from 1992. Car accidents caused 22% of these 2018 deaths, while another 21.5% were public incidents, which covers any accident other than motor vehicle accidents when public premises are used. This includes those killed during recreation (swimming, hunting, using ATVs), in transportation (except motor vehicle), and in public buildings. The CDC estimates that in 2018, 37,991 Americans died in vehicle crashes and 37,455 died after suffering falls.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that in 2018 there were 947 vehicle accidents causing 1,039 deaths statewide. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) states that in 2018 the following number of crash causes killed the stated number of people:

  • Alcohol: 353
  • Speed: 325
  • Lane departure: 737
  • Distracted driving: 141

Statewide, motorcycles were involved in 176 fatal accidents and pedestrians were killed in 241 accidents. About 29% of all fatal vehicle accidents happened at intersections. In Buncombe County in 2018, 33 were killed in all vehicle crashes, higher than the ten-year average of 28.

That year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, nationwide there were 4,415 fatal accidents with large trucks, causing 4,951 deaths. The NCDOT estimates that 162 people were killed in the state in 2018 in crashes involving commercial trucks.

Anywhere from 250,000 to 440,000 Americans die every year from medical errors, making it the nation’s third-leading killer, according to studies published in 2018, reports CNBC. Paramedics, nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, doctors, or surgeons could make these mistakes. Those running hospitals or medical practices could be responsible for policies or a lack of supervision that caused patient deaths.

It’s possible some of those family members left behind by their deceased loved ones could have filed a wrongful death claim, but didn’t pursue that option. Don’t make that mistake. You can trust Lakota Denton to be very clear with you about the potential of your claim. Give him a call today at 828-333-5996 to get strong legal guidance from an experienced, skilled wrongful death attorney in Asheville.

Attorney Lakota Denton

Attorney Lakota DentonLakota Denton has been practicing in his own firm since 2013, focusing solely on personal injury. He is a member of the American Association of Justice, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Bar association, the American Bar Association, the National Trial Lawyers, and was awarded Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers, the 2014 Top 40 Lawyers under 40, and the Avvo clients choice award. [ Attorney Bio ]

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    Lakota R. Denton is the Wrongful Death Lawyer Your Family Can Trust

    Lakota R. Denton’s goal is to make sure our clients are treated fairly by insurance companies. If a family member was killed because of an intentional act or negligence by another, we can help. Lakota often meets with accident victims or their family members at no charge. Reach out so you can talk to him about your situation, your legal rights, and how North Carolina law may apply in your case.

    A wrongful death in a car accident claim, or one where a death was caused another way, can be very complex. It’s not a good idea to negotiate with an insurance company before you talk to us. Without the help of a wrongful death attorney, your family may end up with a fraction of what the case is worth. Call us today at (828) 333-5996 to get your free consultation.