Nancy: Today on North Carolina Law TV, David Daggett, Injury and Disability Lawyer from Daggett Shuler Law out of Winston, Salem talks to us about wrongful death cases.
David: While the grieving process is going on there’s also what I call the business aspects that also need to be taken care of. If the parent and their support are now gone well then you need to be compensated for that loss to make sure it’s taken care of. They don’t have experience handling the negligence claim if the death is due to someone else’s fault. So they’re in a world of complete unknowns. I mean to reach outside, get some help so that things are taken care of properly for the best interest of the family, the children, and the relatives in the aftermath.
Nancy: That’s all next on this episode of North Carolina Law TV.
Nancy: The unexpected death of a loved one can be one of the most life altering and painful experienced of a person’s life. According to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, death of a spouse and death of a close relative are two of the top 5 most stressful life events for the average person. And when the death was wrongful, when it was caused by someone else’s negligence it can be especially traumatic for those who are left behind.
People who are affected by the wrongful death of a loved one often experience dramatic consequences beyond the immediate cause related to the death including loss of income, loss of parental guidance, and loss of companionship.
David Daggett is here today to talk to us about wrongful death cases and what steps survivors can take to recover during these difficult times. Welcome, David, good to have you here today.
David: Thank you. Thank you for having me, Nancy.
Nancy: During the grief process a lawsuit is not something people typically think about. Is there a time-sensitivity to these type of claims?
David: Well, and that’s a little bit of a problem because after you lose a loved one obviously it’s right and it’s natural and you should spend time with friends and family grieving and recovering together. That doesn’t However, if it’s somebody else’s fault there could be some time-sensitive information out there investigation into the circumstances, those sort of things that doesn’t stay around forever. So, while the grieving process is going on there’s also what I call the business aspects that also need to be taken care of. Does that make sense? Investigation of the acts and scene, the circumstances, you know, it could be from a work injury it could be from an automobile accident, it could be from a dog bite we did a show earlier on dog bites, it could be number of different circumstances where the death was caused by somebody else’s negligence or fault and that may require some immediate investigation in order to best look after your best interest.
Nancy: So part of the grieving process during that time when you’re making all sorts of other plans is maybe something that you can actually give to someone and say, listen, take this off my plate and tell me what I need to do deal with right now so I can get back to dealing with my family members, right?
David: Exactly. In fact that’s a good recommendation is you can get it off your plate by having somebody else deal with it. Now, usually the last thing you think about is lawyers and that sort of thing. But, it can be very valuable to get experienced help involved early. You don’t have to worry about that stuff now somebody else can worry about it and you can take care of yourself and your family.
Nancy: And that’s where your focus can be in knowing that someone else is taking care of that would be really helpful early on is what you’re saying. That’s a good suggestion. Who is allowed to file a lawsuit for wrongful death?
David: Well, the claim is brought by the administrator or the administratrix of the state, okay? That’s whose right it is to bring the client which is usually the next of kin whoever that is. Now, sometimes that can get a little bit complicated but it’s the next of kin and then what they’re doing is they’re bringing a claim for the damages for the loss of this person. Their income stream that supports the family, the medical expenses they may have incurred, burial and funeral expenses that they have incurred, those sort of things.
Nancy: So these are things that the executor is dealing with anyway, right? But there may be some financial assistance because of the wrongful death.
David: Because it’s somebody else’s fault.
Nancy: Right. Right. Okay.
David: So for example you have a parent and their income, you know, supports and raises your children. Raises them, puts them through school, that sort of thing. If the parent and their support are now gone well then you need to be compensated for that loss to make sure it’s taken care of. It’s a prudent thing to do to look after the best interest of your family.
Nancy: Sure. Sure. And as you’re taking care of the emotional health of your family having someone on board to help make sure that the future is taken care of would be helpful.
David: What I many times tell people is that there’s two parts of a wrongful death. Obviously there’s an emotional part and you’ve got to deal with that, you know, through your pastor, your friends, your family, what have you. But there’s also the business aspect. That is our job is to take care of the business. Now, while we’re taking care of the business we never forget that it’s more emotional for you but the business is very important to be taken care of and that needs to be handled by somebody who knows what they’re doing.
Nancy: And as an executor of an estate it would really feel helpful to have someone that you trust taking care of that for you so that you can focus on the other things that you’re responsible for.
David: Well, and of course, the executor or administrator of an estate typically they don’t have experience doing that.
Nancy: Absolutely. Right.
David: And on top of not having experienced doing that they don’t have experience handling the negligence claim if the death is due to somebody else’s fault. So, they’re in a world of complete unknowns. They need to reach outside, get some help so that things are taken care of properly for the best interest of the family, the children, the relatives in the aftermath.
Nancy: Absolutely. In a very highly stressful time what a benefit that can be. Well, that’s all we have time for today. Any last thoughts, David? Is there something you think people should know?
David: Well, sure. I think people just need to have an awareness of their rights so that if something does happen you know where to go and who to turn to to get some help.
Nancy: Well that’s great. Thanks so much for being here with us today. This is helpful information. I appreciate it. Appreciate it.
David: Thanks for having me
Nancy: If you or someone you know has lost a loved one due to negligence of someone else, you can call David’s office at (336) 724-1234 to discuss your case. Until next time, this is Nancy Hollett for North Carolina Law TV.