When Tragedy Strikes, We Stand Strong: Get Help from an Asheville Wrongful Death Lawyer
The untimely death of a loved one is shocking, and finding the answers is confusing. Things become even more uncertain when wrongful death occurs. These are cases where another party knowingly caused the death of a loved one.
If they were killed because of someone else’s negligence, an Asheville wrongful death attorney may be able to help. To bring a case, you will make a personal injury claim for your deceased loved one to hold these parties accountable. You must prove that another’s negligent actions or inaction led to your loved one’s death. Sometimes, multiple parties can be at fault and a wrongful death claim can compensate the estate for some of the harm.
For a case to succeed, you must work with an experienced attorney who understands the complexities of wrongful death cases.
“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
A Wrongful Death Attorney in Asheville Explains the Law and How It Applies in Your Case
When there is a death in North Carolina, the court appoints a personal representative who will be responsible for the estate. Often, a will names who is that personal representative should be. Typically, the role may be filled by the surviving spouse, a parent, or adult children.
The personal representative files a lawsuit in a wrongful death case. North Carolina law describes wrongful death as one caused “by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another” (NC Gen. Stat. § 28A-18-2). If the person died due to someone’s negligence or an intentional act, the personal representative might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party or parties who caused the death. Working with an attorney allows your estate’s representative to take the appropriate steps for a successful legal case.
If your loved one has died because of another’s negligence, talk to our wrongful death attorney in Asheville. Lakota Denton can determine how the laws apply to your case and what steps you can expect to take next.
Call our team today at 828-333-5996 to learn what options you have.
Our Wrongful Death Lawyer in Asheville Can Help Your Family Receive Fair Compensation
When your loved one’s death results from someone’s negligence, you may be able to recover “damages” for the losses you have suffered. Damages are the costs associated with the passing of your loved one. Sometimes, a wrongful death case starts as a personal injury case.
For example, suppose your loved one was hurt in a car accident, a work injury, or medical malpractice and suffered from those injuries before they died. In this case, you can pursue damages to recover any costs associated with that injury, things like medical bills or lost income.
According to North Carolina law, a wrongful death lawsuit could compensate family members for:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses resulting from the injury
- The deceased’s pain and suffering before their 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.
The latter two items on this list are also known as “loss of consortium” and can apply to any family member. Still, they are typically recovered by a spouse or minor children. The deceased person’s absence will strongly affect these people. Pursuing punitive damages in a North Carolina wrongful death case is also possible. They are applicable only in cases involving egregiously wrongful acts.
The law lists the comprehensive potential damages that you might be able to obtain, but it’s not easy to prove that you deserve all that apply in your case (NC Gen. Stat. § 28A-18-2 (b)).
That’s why it’s important to contact Lakota Denton for help today. He’s your best option for a wrongful death attorney who can pursue all the compensation possible in your case.
Punitive Damages in a North Carolina Wrongful Death Case
Under North Carolina law, punitive damages could also be awarded “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 “the conscious and intentional disregard of and indifference to the rights and safety of others. The defendant knows or should know that their actions will reasonably result in injury, damage, or harm others.”
To be awarded punitive damages, there needs to be solid evidence that the defendant went beyond more than a serious, negligent mistake. The actions need to be intentional, or very close to intentional, to have a successful punitive damages claim.
Examples of Defendants in a Wrongful Death Case that Includes Punitive Damages
Wrongful death actions can involve many situations and name a variety of defendants who could be liable for punitive damages:
- A medical device maker knew a product caused patients’ injuries but sold it anyway.
- A nursing home operator failed to properly care for a resident, making the person seriously ill. The nursing home did not transport her to a hospital until too late, and she could not be treated successfully. You can sue a nursing home for the wrongful death in these cases.
- Two drivers raced each other on an interstate at high speeds despite the presence of 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 our skilled wrongful death attorney will fight for all damages that apply to your case. Lakota believes in being bluntly honest with our clients. He will let you know which compensatory options are available.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in North Carolina?
In most states, those who can legally bring a wrongful death claim are limited to close family members. However, in North Carolina, only a personal representative of the deceased’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim. Several people could serve in the personal representative role. They include:
Immediate Family Members – These are a spouse and biological or adopted children. In the case of a child’s death, a parent — including an unmarried parent — can bring a wrongful death claim.
Distant Family Members – A grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew may be named a personal representative of the deceased’s estate and can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Life Partners – Someone close to the deceased who is not married but lives with and shares a partnership with them can serve as a personal representative.
A few other elements must apply for a person to serve as a personal representative. North Carolina law states that a person needs to be older than 18, of sound mind, a resident of North Carolina, literate, and not a felon (NC Gen. Stat. §28A-4-2). While the above list includes the most common people to serve in the role, the law leaves an even wider range of people who could file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a decedent’s estate.
Who Can Be Sued for Wrongful Death in North Carolina?
The core element of a wrongful death claim requires that a negligent act by some party leads to a loved one’s death. That means your loved one could have died in an accident, from an injury at work, or from using a product. In each situation, the liable party will be named a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Here are some examples of defendants in potential wrongful death cases:
- A driver at fault in an auto accident that led to your loved one’s death
- The employer of the at-fault driver in an accident if some negligent behavior on the part of that employer led to the driver’s causing the accident
- A civil engineering company that created a faulty design, leading to a roadway hazard that caused an accident
- A building inspector who failed to adequately warn occupants of a clear fault in a structure, which later caused a death
- The manufacturer or distributor that knew of a malfunction in a child’s car seat and that malfunction led to a child’s death in a car accident
- A landlord who didn’t fix a broken railing, leading to someone’s death in a fall.
In some situations, there may be multiple parties who can be defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit.
For example, a fatal truck accident may have many parties whose negligence caused the accident, such as the negligent truck driver, the trucking company, or the manufacturer of a faulty part that led to a fatal truck accident.
That defective part may have been identified upon inspection by a trucking company employee and the driver, but the truck was nonetheless put on the road. In addition, the manufacturer may have put that faulty part on the market and knew of the defect and its potential to harm people on the road.
Without the careful guidance of our knowledgeable Asheville wrongful death lawyer, you may lose the opportunity to get full compensation. You may not understand who could be responsible for your loved one’s death.
Why Choose Us?
Wrongful death cases are complex, and you need a skilled wrongful death attorney to guide you. At Lakota R. Denton, our Ashville wrongful death lawyers will give your case the attention it needs. We understand that you have suffered a terrible loss because of someone’s negligence, and we are here to help. Our attorneys will handle your case with the utmost care and sensitivity. Here are some reasons why we are among Ashville’s top wrongful death law firms.
You work with an accidental death lawyer who treats you compassionately. We understand the challenges you are facing and will stand up for you. Your attorney is an advocate seeking favorable results and will only stop once we achieve these objectives.
Our wrongful death lawsuit lawyers take on the toughest cases. Our team understands the pain, suffering, and loss you are experiencing. We simplify things so you can move on with your life and know that you have an attorney willing to stand by you no matter what happens.
Proven Track Record
We have a proven track record and are one of Ashville’s top wrongful death law firms. You deserve nothing less than dedicated professionals willing to work with you. Defendants in these cases are more willing to negotiate once they realize we represent you. They know that we will only stop once we get results for you. We are proud of our track record, and let it speak for us about what we can do for you.
Many firms will take your case, but then fail to keep you informed, answer your questions, or work with you. Our firm believes that communication is the priority for any client’s case, and we are here to help make things easier for you. Your wrongful death attorney will always keep you informed of any developments. We respond quickly to your emails, texts, and messages to give you a complete assessment of what is happening.
We understand your challenges. Losing a loved one is always difficult, and we work to make things easier by listening and seeing things from your perspective. We always listen to what you say and empathize with your issues. You work with a wrongful death attorney who shares your views and works tirelessly for you.
Our wrongful death lawyers are based in Ashville, and we are active in the community. We understand what is unique about the people of Ashville and the surrounding area. We believe in giving something back by volunteering and focusing on making a difference. You are our friends and neighbors who need a trained attorney’s knowledge, skill, and experience to guide you. Our local connections make a difference in building a solid relationship with you and working to reach critical benchmarks.
Call us at 828-333-5996 to schedule your free consultation with a wrongful death attorney. We will review your case and discuss the different options we can pursue.