North Carolina Wrongful Death FAQs

Q:  Who can bring a claim for wrongful death in North Carolina?

A:  Under North Carolina law, only the personal representative or administrator of the estate of the deceased person can bring a claim for wrongful death.  The clerk of court in the county where the deceased person resided at the time of death will issue Letters of Administration appointing the personal representative if designated by a will.  If there is no will, the clerk of court will appoint a suitable person to serve as the estate administrator.  Usually, this person is the surviving spouse or an adult child of the deceased.

Q:  How long do I have to bring a North Carolina wrongful death claim?

A:  North Carolina has a two year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims.  This means that a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death.

Q:  Can I only bring a claim for wrongful death if the death was the result of an intentional act such as a crime?

A:  No.  You can bring a wrongful death claim in North Carolina for negligent acts as well as deliberate acts.

Q:  Does liability insurance cover wrongful death claims in North Carolina?

A:  Yes.  A wrongful death claim will be covered under any circumstances where the insurance policy would provide coverage for an injury such as automobile or homeowner’s insurance.

Q:  How much is my North Carolina wrongful death claim worth?

A:  There are many factors that go into determining the value of a wrongful death claim including the conduct of the defendant, whether the deceased incurred any medical bills before passing away, whether the deceased had any pain and suffering before passing away, the relationship of the deceased with his/her remaining family members, and the available insurance for the claim.