The death of a loved one is a staggering loss, and a wound that never can be truly healed.
However, those who have lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence or misconduct have legal recourse. North Carolina law allows family members to file suit for wrongful deaths resulting from workplace accidents, medical errors, automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents, defective products and other causes.
Family members may be entitled to:
- The value of lost wages and benefits, now and in the future
- Compensation for the loss of companionship, love and affection
- Monetary compensation for emotional pain and suffering caused by the death of a loved one
- Additional damages designed to punish responsible companies and individuals and to prevent similar future tragedies.
Every year, nearly 6,000 workers are killed on the job in the United States. North Carolina ranks ninth in the nation for workplace deaths.
Because of the nature of their work, construction workers face the highest risk of dying on the job. But deadly workplace accidents can happen to anyone. In fact, more U.S. workers are killed in on-the-job traffic accidents than any other type of work accident. Workplace deaths due to falls and falling objects are also common.
Men and women, as well as workers of every race and ethnicity, are at risk. The incidence of workplace deaths is particularly high among workers younger than 20 and those older than 55.
Latino workers face an increased danger of dying on the job. Fatal workplace injuries among Hispanics are on the rise, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 1992, fatal workplace injuries among Hispanics have increased 72 percent.
Defective Products Deaths
We expect the products and medications we use daily to be safe. But all are not, as evidenced by the number of recalls issued every year by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration.
Every year, thousands of people in North Carolina are hurt or killed by defective or unsafe goods. Manufacturers and distributors are responsible for the products they make and sell. Companies can be held liable for the injuries and deaths these products cause, particularly if they ignored warnings of potential dangers.
Motor Vehicle Deaths
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States, particularly among children, teenagers and younger adults. Thousands of pedestrians die every year after being struck by vehicles.
Many fatal car, truck and motorcycle crashes are preventable. In many instances, someone’s negligence, error or misconduct is to blame.
Distracted driving, speeding, drunken driving, aggressive driving, texting while driving, driver errors and a host of other behaviors can have deadly consequences.
If a loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident, an attorney can advise whether you have a wrongful death claim. As with other wrongful death cases, your family may be entitled to compensation for the financial and emotional losses you have suffered.
Deadly medical errors are far from uncommon. Thousands die every year because of medical errors. In fact, medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death in this country,
Statistics on deaths due to medical malpractice and medication errors can be deceiving. Determining the actual cause of death can be a very complex process, and many grieving families accept their health care provider’s explanation without question.
Medical malpractice can occur in many ways, such as through surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis, medical errors and inadequate nursing care. While physicians, nurses, and other health care providers may be held accountable in medical malpractice cases, so too may the treating hospital or physician’s office.
Rarely are medical malpractices case clear cut. The victims of medical malpractice often are already in poor health or suffering from a serious medical condition. These illnesses and conditions may be blamed for their injuries or deaths, when medical malpractice was actually the cause.
If a family member died while receiving medical care and you suspect medical malpractice as the cause, it’s important to consult with an attorney who has expertise in this area. While a wrongful death lawsuit cannot ease the pain or compensate for such a tragic loss, it can offer some comfort. These cases also serve to punish those who caused these untimely deaths and to ensure that similar deaths don’t occur in the future.