25 Aug As traffic deaths rise across NC, you stand to lose more than loved ones
Traffic deaths are up 19 percent in North Carolina this year and accidents are increasing in Charlotte as well, reaching levels we haven’t seen since 2009, according to a recent article in The Charlotte Observer.
Legal concerns generally aren’t top of mind when you lose a loved one in a car accident. Unexpectedly losing a family member or friend adds pain to an already grief-stricken situation and too often families postpone seeking (or never seek) the restitution they deserve.
This is complicated by the fact that any motor vehicle accident comes with a fair amount of legal hurdles and these are only amplified when a fatality occurs.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a traffic accident, it’s imperative that you seek good legal counsel as soon as possible for a few very important reasons. Here are four things you should know:
- There’s a two-year statute of limitations. Most accident claims have a three-year statute of limitations. But when a car accident claims a life, the time limit to settle the claim or file a lawsuit is reduced to two years. So it’s imperative to get good legal help right away.
- A thorough investigation is needed immediately. Even though you have two years to resolve the claim, the accident needs to be investigated right away before evidence is lost. Traffic camera footage, 911 recordings, and potential witness statements can all be lost forever if not located and preserved immediately.
- The insurance company is not your advocate. The auto insurance carrier does not work for you. Death claims can lead to substantial jury verdicts or settlements, so insurance companies will look for any excuse to deny or diminish the claim. Too often, families wait until the claim has been denied to seek legal help. Getting good legal representation from the beginning is the best way to ensure the insurance company takes the claim seriously.
- Estate issues must also be handled. On top of the wrongful death claim, personal estate matters must also be resolved. It is important that the entire estate process is handled correctly so nothing is done that negatively impacts the insurance claim. Firms like ours that have both personal injury counsel and estate planning attorneys are uniquely suited to handle all aspects of a wrongful death claim.
Despite the turmoil and tragedy that surround motor vehicle fatalities, it’s critical to protect the rights of your family and the deceased by seeking legal guidance early. Many of our clients begin the process too late and suffer more heartache as a result.
This isn’t a situation anyone ever wants to be in, and we understand. It’s our goal to make the process as easy as possible for you, so you can properly begin to mourn and honor your loved one without legal issues getting in the way.
To learn more, contact our wrongful death counsel: