Wrongful Death/FAQ

1. What is wrongful death?

When someone is killed as the result of another individual’s or company’s negligence or actions, it may be considered wrongful death.

2. What is the wrongful death statute of limitations for North Carolina?

In most cases involving wrongful death, there is a statute of limitations or deadline that determines the amount of time in which a case must be filed or resolved before being barred from further action.

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. There are a number of exceptions to this rule. That’s why it’s important that you talk with a North Carolina wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after your loved one’s passing.

3. Why do I need to set up an estate in a wrongful death case?

State law requires that someone be appointed as either the administrator or executor of an estate in North Carolina. This individual is appointed or approved by a court, and once the estate is officially opened, that individual has all necessary legal rights to make decisions on behalf of the estate. The administrator or executor has the right to hire a lawyer in the event that a legal claim needs to be brought on behalf of the estate.

4. Do I need a lawyer to help me open an estate in a wrongful death case?

An estate should be set up in the county where your loved one lived. For those who died without a will, with only minimal assets and a small number of heirs, an estate can usually be opened without a lawyer.

If there is a large amount of assets or a large number of potential heirs, particularly those who may be prone to disagreeing about money, then you may want to hire a lawyer to assist you in this process.

5. How much will it cost me to speak to an attorney and get an evaluation of our wrongful death case?

There is no fee for your initial consultation, nor is there for investigating the case to determine whether we can pursue it for you. If we do take your case, you pay us nothing until your claim is resolved. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only get paid if we are successful in resolving your claim. Once we resolve the case, we deduct our attorney’s fee from the settlement. If for some reason we are not able to resolve your case, we take no fee.

6. If you have to file a lawsuit in a wrongful death case, where would you file it?

Wrongful death cases must be filed in the North Carolina State court or the county where either the plaintiff or the defendant resides or has their principal place of business. Our North Carolina wrongful death lawyers will assess the pros and cons of filing in each of those possible venues.

If the case involves plaintiffs or defendants who are from states other than North Carolina, then we may also be able to file a lawsuit in federal court. We consider all possible venues where a lawsuit could be filed and make the best decision given the factors of the case.

7. Do you handle cases where the person who caused the accident or injury has died?

Yes. Unfortunately, we often have to make a claim against someone who has died. In some cases, the defendant may have died from injuries related to the accident or injury itself, whereas in other cases the defendant may have died at some point afterward from unrelated causes. Either way, Henson Fuerst is ready to bring proper legal claims against any responsible parties.

8. Will you file a lawsuit in my wrongful death case?

In most cases, it’s our goal to try and resolve claims through negotiation without filing a lawsuit. In our experience, settling a claim through negotiation rather than lawsuit is usually faster and more economical for the client. Negotiation often puts less emotional pressure on the family who has suffered the loss of a loved one than subjecting them to the stress and anxiety of trial.