There are few things more stressful and life-altering than losing a loved one in a sudden and unexpected personal injury accident. This type of loss is referred to as a wrongful death claim under North Carolina law and there are many rules that apply to how a wrongful death claim must proceed. While you are coping with the sudden loss and grief, the competent Charlotte personal injury lawyers at Maurer Law are prepared to help you explore your legal rights and recover the compensation that you deserve. Although no amount of money will truly make you whole again, it can go a long way towards covering the financial impact of a sudden loss.
Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal heard an appeal in a case where the defendant appealed from an award of compensatory and punitive damages in an action where the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was responsible for his wife’s death. Punitive damages are a special category of damages that a jury can award if it finds that the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious and reckless.
Before trial, the parties stipulated to a set of facts establishing that the defendant was negligent in causing the death of the plaintiff’s wife while driving. The defendant agreed that she lost control of her vehicle and swerved into the opposing lane of traffic and running directly into the decedent as she was walking along the shoulder of the road. The trial was split into two phases, which is called bifurcation. The first phase was to determine the amount of compensatory damages that the plaintiff should receive for his suffering and loss. The jury awarded $4.25 million.