A North Carolina man is behind bars for alleged DUI after a deadly crash that occurred in the early morning hours of November 8, 2014. The collision occurred on East Calhoun Street in Anderson when a 24-year-old male driver reportedly crossed the center line and collided head-on with a car. The other driver, a 22-year-old male, and two of his passengers, including two females, aged 20 and 17, all died in the accident. Two others were transported to the local hospital and listed as being in serious condition.
When tragedies such as this occur, a drunk driver may be both criminally and civilly liable. While North Carolina officials are bringing their own charges against the driver, the families of the victims may be able to bring a claim for wrongful death.
Wrongful death, as stated in North Carolina Statutes section 28A-18-2, is defined as a death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect or default of another.” When a person is killed, a personal representative of his or her estate may file a civil claim seeking damages for the death. Wrongful death suits are similar to personal injury claims, except that the estate stands in for the victim since he or she is no longer able to.
However, unlike personal injury suits (which are designed to compensate a victim), wrongful death claims are more centered on exacting punishment against the wrongdoer and offering compensation to family members and others who were dependent on the victim for financial support, care and companionship.
A representative who brings a claim against such a wrongdoer may seek a number of damages under North Carolina law. These include any medical expenses incurred by the victim prior to his or her death, the pain and suffering endured by the victim, funeral and burial expenses as well as lost income. In addition, the representation may also seek damages experienced by those close to the victim, including the loss of the deceased person’s services, protection and care as well as loss of companionship, comfort and guidance.
In drunk driving accidents like these, a claimant may also bring punitive damages against the defendant. These damages are specifically designed to punish a wrongdoer for willful or reprehensible conduct in connection with the victim’s death.
If you have questions about wrongful death claims in North Carolina, consult the knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Lanier Law Group, P.A.