Exposure to asbestos-containing products may have devastating consequences. If exposed for long periods of time, asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma can develop. With no known cure and a lengthy latency period, mesothelioma may claim the lives of those in North Carolina suffering without warning. In those situations, family members of the deceased may file a wrongful death suit to hold responsible parties accountable and receive compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of income and loss of parental guidance or love and companionship.
Wrongful death suits may be filed for several different circumstances including medical malpractice, elder abuse and exposure to occupational hazards such asbestos. To prevail in a wrongful death suit for asbestos product exposure the victim’s survivors must prove that the defendant caused the victim’s death by either their intention to cause harm or negligence, that the survivors suffered monetary injury as a result of the victim’s death and that a surviving family member is an official representative of the decedent’s estate.
Unlike criminal trials requiring adherence to the beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof, a wrongful death civil suit only requires proof that the defendant is responsible for the victim’s death by a preponderance of the evidence. In general, a wrongful death lawsuit allows survivors to pursue pecuniary damages. Pecuniary, or monetary, damages may include the cost of medical, funeral and burial expenses. Survivors may also receive compensation for the deceased’s expected income, calculated by courts according to several factors including the age, life expectancy and earning capacity of the deceased. Additionally, survivors may recover monetary damages for the pain and suffering of the decedent prior to their death and for the loss of parental guidance, love or companionship to survivors such as children or spouses.
It is imperative for survivors of those who died from asbestos product exposure to file suit within the legal time limit. In wrongful death claims, an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to ensure that survivors follow all necessary procedures and obtain rightful compensation.