Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Help You Handle the Unthinkable

Charlotte Wrongful Death Attorney

There is nothing more tragic than losing your loved one. In some cases, negligent acts lead to their passing. That’s when you need to contact a Charlotte wrongful death attorney to guide you through a legal claim. When the loss of your loved one is the result of the negligence of another person or organization, your grief is often accompanied by immense frustration and anger. After all, the way your loved one died was unnecessary and avoidable.

If you have found yourself in this position, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss through a wrongful death lawsuit.  While no amount of money can replace your loved one, a financial award can help pay for expenses and provide for necessary future support. It can alleviate some of your stress.

Working with our experienced Charlotte wrongful death lawyer can help you obtain justice. Our team at Sumwalt Anderson is incredibly loyal to our clients. We will be sensitive to your loss and diligent in our actions to give you the strongest legal representation possible. We always advocate for your best interests. Our professionals will leverage our decades of experience to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible in a wrongful death lawsuit, always managing the process with a sympathetic hand.

Get help from our accomplished, highly qualified wrongful death lawyer in Charlotte. Count on our compassion. Depend on our experience. Reach out to our team at (704) 377-3770 for your free consultation.


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Why You Should Work with Our Charlotte Wrongful Death Attorney

Top Reasons Clients Choose Sumwalt Anderson

With decades of experience and the proficiency that comes with it, our skilled wrongful death attorneys will obtain for you the maximum compensation possible. Clients who choose to work with our team find that our knowledge of the law and strategic approach to their case give them peace of mind that they aere represented by highly skilled attorneys.

Here are some reasons why working with our wrongful death lawyers is your best option:

  • Our expertise in and leveraging of North Carolina wrongful death laws.
  • Our attention to our clients’ needs and concerns.
  • We get results, winning millions for our clients.
  • The experience of an award winning team, including attorney Mark Sumwalt and attorney Richard Anderson.
  • As formidable litigators, we are ready to take your case to court.
  • Our compassionate team recognizes our clients are going through a very difficult time.
  • We make sure our clients understand what to expect as their case progresses.

Our Victories in Wrongful Death Cases

  • We secured $2 million for the family of a young man from Charlotte whose wrongful death was caused by the negligent actions of an inexperienced truck driver.
  • We recovered $1.75 million in a wrongful death settlement when a woman died in a car accident, leaving behind her husband and her small children.

Types of Damages Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In legal terms, “damages” are the compensation you can receive in a wrongful death case. Our experienced team of wrongful death lawyers at Sumwalt Anderson understands well the types and amounts of damages you can pursue in a legal claim. We will fight aggressively to get you maximum compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Our skill in the courtroom means that insurers are motivated to provide a substantial settlement so they can avoid the expense of a trial. But if your case goes to court, you’ll have strong, seasoned litigators at your side.

Compensation in a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit will address expenses associated with the loss of your loved one. It will also address the loss of income your loved one would have earned, as well as the pain and suffering associated with your loss. It is hard enough to emotionally deal with your grief. Adding to that pain a list of financial concerns creates more stress in an already difficult time. That’s why our wrongful death lawyers fight zealously on your behalf to get you the full damages to which you are entitled.

A broad range of damages can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit in North Carolina.  These include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Pain and suffering for the person who has died
  • Lost income (the money the deceased would have earned had the incident not occurred)
  • The present monetary value of the decedent to his or her beneficiaries
  • The value of the services the deceased would have provided, including protection, care, companionship, and guidance
  • Punitive damages.

It is important to recognize that in North Carolina, wrongful death cases are civil cases. This means that the court’s decision relates to awarding financial compensation and damages. Criminal punishment, like jail time, is not going to result from this type of case. Should criminal activities have occurred, like drinking and driving, a separate case may be brought by the authorities.

Can You Receive Punitive Damages in a North Carolina Wrongful Death Case?

Yes, punitive damages can be awarded in addition to general wrongful death damages.  The general awards are used as compensation.  In North Carolina, when wrongful death damages are assessed, expenses are paid from the settlement.  Attorney’s fees, court costs, medical and funeral bills are satisfied. Any remaining monies are then distributed to the deceased’s beneficiaries.

Punitive damages are assigned as a punishment to those who were deemed responsible for the death. These damages are awarded when the actions of the defendant have been particularly reckless and without care. If our wrongful death attorneys believe your case merits pursuing punitive damages, we will explain what’s involved in that process and what you might expect for damages in your case.

It is hoped that punishments like these will serve as a warning to others (both businesses and individuals) and that they will behave more responsibly in the future. History should not repeat itself.

Who Can Be a Beneficiary in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit, the beneficiaries who would receive proceeds are determined by intestate succession laws. Part of the compensation is used by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to pay reasonable and necessary expenses. These can include attorney’s fees, funeral and burial expenses, and reasonable hospital and medical expenses.

The rest of the compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit is paid out according to a priority order formula, depending on which family members survive the decedent. Who gets the money in a wrongful death case is clearly defined in North Carolina law. Distributions made to family members depend on whether or not the deceased was married, had children, had siblings, surviving parents, and other factors (See N.C. Gen. Stat. §29-15 and §29-14). Given the complexity of North Carolina’s laws regarding shares of the proceeds, it is best to work with wrongful death attorneys who understand the intricacies of those laws.

Learn how we can help you seek compensation in your case. There are many good reasons why clients come to the wrongful death attorneys at Sumwalt Anderson. Find out for yourself. Give our team a call today at (704) 377-3770.

FAQs About Wrongful Death Cases in North Carolina

Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in Charlotte Answer Your Questions

When clients come to us needing help, they typically have many questions related to wrongful death claims. They want to know their options and how the process works. Here are answers to some of the more common questions asked of our wrongful death lawyers.

  • What Is Wrongful Death?

    Quite simply, wrongful death occurs when life is lost due to the negligence of an individual or organization. It is an occurrence that could have, that should have, never happened. Wrongful death can be the result of a number of events, whether there was a work accident, a fall on another’s property, or a tragic car accident that should never have happened. The important factor is that a death was caused by negligent action – a workplace didn’t follow safety regulations, a property owner didn’t fix a faulty railing, there was reckless behavior of a driver. If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by another, talk to our Charlotte wrongful death lawyer. We’ll let you know if your situation merits a legal case.

  • What Is the Statute of Limitations in North Carolina Wrongful Death Cases?

    According to North Carolina Wrongful Death Law § 28A-18-2, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years. Thus, you must file within two years of the date of death of your loved one. That said, certain elements of a case can affect this timing. Our Charlotte wrongful death attorney can explain these issues and assist you in determining your time frame for filing.

  • What Situations Qualify as Wrongful Death?

    There are several incidents that may occur where life is lost that would qualify as wrongful death. These include, but are not limited to:

    • Motor vehicle accidents (including car, truck, and motorcycle)
    • Medical malpractice
    • Drunk driving accidents
    • Defective products
    • Accidents related to premises liability
    • Workplace injuries.
  • Who Can File for Wrongful Death?

    In order to file a wrongful death claim in North Carolina, you must be either the executor or administrator (also known as the personal representative) of the estate. That said, not everyone has executed a will or has estate planning documents in place. In cases like this, the court will appoint an individual (usually a child, parent, or relative of the deceased) to serve in this role.

  • What is a Survival Action?

    When your loved one suffers great injury caused by another’s negligent actions, they may not pass away right when they are injured. To cover losses from the time between that injury and when your loved one dies, our wrongful death attorneys can pursue damages separate from those related to the losses you experience related to your loved one’s death. Seeking damages associated with injuries, but before death, is a survival action (§28A-18-1) and the award gets distributed to the family members of the deceased. They are similar to the damages you could receive in a wrongful death claim. They include compensation to cover medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

Do you have other questions related to your wrongful death case? These cases can be complicated. Our attorneys are ready to help you and give you the answers you need. Contact our team at (704) 377-3770 to get your free consultation.

Engage Our Charlotte Wrongful Death Attorney to Handle Your Claim

Working with well-respected and qualified attorneys when filing a wrongful death claim is a wise decision. Experienced professionals, like our Charlotte personal injury attorneys at Sumwalt Anderson, are a critical resource during this stressful process.

Our attorneys will serve as your representative and communicate on your behalf with all involved parties, including insurance companies and other attorneys. As a result of their experience, our wrongful death lawyers understand the legal process. When you have our skillful representation, we can help you obtain the maximum benefits to which you are entitled when negligent actions caused you to lose your loved one.

If ever there were a time that you need to rely on the expertise of our Charlotte wrongful death attorney so you can focus on your needs, it is now. When you lose a loved one due to others’ negligent actions, it upends your life and leaves you wondering how to get compensation.

Proving Wrongful Death in North Carolina

For a Successful Case You Need a Charlotte Wrongful Death Lawyer

Clearly, there are a number of incidents that could, unfortunately, result in the wrongful death of someone you love. In order to receive compensation based on this, you must prove that the death of your loved one was the direct result of the negligence of the defendant.  When you work with our wrongful death attorneys, we must establish a duty of care, prove a breach of that duty of care, and show causation. Each of these elements has specific legal definitions and requires knowledge and legal strategy that our experienced attorneys have.

Duty of Care

When an individual has a “duty of care,” it means they hold a legal responsibility not to cause harm to others. They must avoid any acts that could reasonably be identified as leading to such harm. In a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must prove the existence of this responsibility. Some examples of duty of care include:

  • Adhering to the traffic laws when operating a vehicle
  • Maintaining a safe workplace that complies with appropriate codes
  • Posting warning labels on products that may be dangerous.

Breach of Duty of Care

When we represent you in a wrongful death claim, not only must our attorneys prove that the duty of care exists, but we also must show that the defendant breached this responsibility. To further explain, let’s look at the above examples.

  • Adhering to Traffic Laws: Should a driver of an automobile speed or make an illegal turn resulting in the injury or death of another, a breach of duty of care would likely exist. If your loved one’s death happened as the result of a vehicle accident, our car accident attorney at Sumwalt Anderson can help you understand the issues in motor vehicle cases.
  • Maintaining a Safe Workplace:  If a business owner does not maintain the workplace according to code and an individual is injured or killed, the owner may be guilty of a breach of duty of care.
  • Warning Labels: Warning labels inform consumers about the dangers of specific products and their use. Should an individual suffer personal injury or death from using a product without a warning label, the company may be liable if the courts determine that the risks would have been less or nonexistent had the user been warned.

Causation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Finally, it is the burden of the party pursuing a wrongful death claim (the plaintiff) to go beyond proving irresponsible or illegal actions.  In fact, it is necessary that the plaintiff show that this behavior (or lack thereof) was the direct cause of death. The behavior (or absence of such) must be linked directly to the outcome.

Proving causation can be more complicated when a variety of factors come into play. This is why it’s so important to work with an experienced wrongful death attorney.

Given the complexities involved with a wrongful death case, when you come to Sumwalt Anderson for help, our attorneys will explain each step of your case as it proceeds. We are ready to answer any questions you may have and ready to fight for the compensation you deserve after losing a loved one.

Our Team Represents Clients After Work-Related Wrongful Deaths

A case in which a worker in North Carolina dies from injuries or disease related to the normal course of work may result in a workers’ compensation claim. These cases can be complicated and difficult to navigate. Our workers’ compensation lawyer knows exactly how challenging it can be to develop a workers’ comp case after the death of an employee. In North Carolina, filing a claim under workers’ comp requires showing that the death stems from a work-related injury or disease that would be compensable.

At Sumwalt Anderson, our team deals regularly with workers’ comp cases, including some that result in a fatality.

Time Limits in North Carolina Wrongful Death Cases Involving Work

Under workers’ comp law in the state, the death must occur within six years of the injury or of the qualifying occupational disease. If it takes many years to create a final determination of disability, the death must occur within two years of this final determination. Victims can make use of the latter date for the two- or six-year window, whichever is more helpful to their case, to try to obtain death benefits under workers’ compensation.

Special Circumstances in Work-Related Workers’ Comp Cases

In some of these wrongful death cases, the victim suffers a work-related accident a few years before dying. Eventually, the injuries from the accident lead to death. Even if the victim and his or her family received workers’ compensation injury benefits previously, they may later qualify for death benefits under the law. The case simply needs to fit within the time limits described earlier.

We do not back down when insurance companies try to make untrue claims about the nature of the work-related injury your loved one suffered. We fight hard for your family’s rights in a wrongful death case related to the jobsite.

Attorney Richard Anderson

Richard “Rick” Anderson is a native Charlottean. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1990 and his Juris Doctorate law degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law in 1993. Rick focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, medical negligence, and catastrophic personal injury cases. You will find Rick to be an honest and dedicated advocate ready to fight for his clients. When he accepts your case, Rick makes a personal commitment to you and uses his 27 years of knowledge and experience to advance your lawsuit to achieve a successful outcome. [ Attorney Bio ]

millionRecovered on behalf of a gentleman (plaintiff/client) who was working as a vinyl window installer on a metal ladder when the ladder struck a live electrical wire. Learn more.
millionRecovered negotiated on the behalf of our client who was rendered a paraplegic due to a spinal fracture after falling from a roof in the course and scope of his employment as a construction worker. Learn more.
millionRecovered for a construction worker from Texas who suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury following a fall from a roof while working on a job site in Charlotte, NC. Learn more.
millionRecovered on behalf of our client who sustained a spinal cord injury in the course and scope of his employment as a production worker in a manufacturing plant. Learn more.
millionRecovered on behalf of the gentlemen (plaintiff/client) who sustained an injury when he slipped and fell on an icy ramp during his employment. Learn more.
millionRecovered on behalf of a client who was injured in the course and scope of her employment as a nurse when attacked by a patient. Learn more.

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    Law Firm in Charlotte NC

    Choose Our Charlotte Wrongful Death Attorneys

    Get Peace of Mind Knowing We Are on Your Side

    Clients come to our wrongful death attorneys knowing we will provide them zealous legal representation and a compassionate ear. We understand that when your loved one dies from a wrongful death, it is one of the hardest experiences you’ll endure. That’s why we will guide you through the process of a wrongful death claim and allow you to focus on your emotional healing and your next steps. With Sumwalt Anderson you can expect our wrongful death lawyers will have…

    Expertise in Knowledge of North Carolina Wrongful Death Laws

    When negligence of an individual or organization caused your loved one to lose their life, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss. Filing and prosecuting wrongful death claims requires the expertise of attorneys who are experienced in investigating, negotiating, and trying such cases.

    Our Sumwalt Anderson wrongful death attorneys in Charlotte are well-versed in the intricacies of wrongful death settlements and litigation. Our attorneys have decades of experience in North Carolina wrongful death law, catastrophic injury, and medical malpractice. We understand how the legal process works, and we have a proven record of success.

    Understanding, Compassionate Attorneys

    Additionally, but no less important, we are respectful, caring, and sympathetic professionals. We understand that the reason you need our help is because of an unimaginable tragedy. While we could never claim to understand the depths of your personal pain, we do appreciate your grief and know how devastating losing someone you love can be.

    We Handle the Legal Fight So You Can Focus on Moving Forward

    We offer caring and compassionate service and assume responsibility for as much as possible, relieving you of many responsibilities. We will coordinate any and all necessary investigations and communicate with all related parties on your behalf.  And we will work tirelessly in our aggressive pursuit to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys always show up prepared. We research every aspect of each and every case and work to see that our clients receive all to which they are entitled.

    Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Caring Advocates Ready to Help You

    We recognize that the loss of your loved one is devastating.  While we cannot remedy the pain you feel, we can help you avoid the financial hardships that occur related to their death. Take the steps you need toward rebuilding your life. Work with our team at Sumwalt Anderson to secure the maximum compensation in your case so you obtain the financial award you need to move forward. Contact our Charlotte wrongful death lawyer today at (704) 377-3770 for your complimentary consultation.