Child Dies in a Fatal Car Crash the Day After his Mother

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 Charlotte, NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

The Charlotte Observer sadly reported that a 3-year-old boy passed away Tuesday, September 9, 2014 due to injuries he sustained after an SUV smashed into the car driven by his mother, Silje Grayston. Caw Kam, the man driving the SUV, was charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle of Grayston and having an open container of alcohol in his car after his SUV swerved across four lanes of traffic and struck Grayston’s vehicle. The Charlotte Observer reported that police are seeking additional charges against Kam for the death of the 3-yearold boy.

Wrongful Death: The Most Painful Case

In a horrific car accident where there is loss of life such as the one above, the victim’s family or loved ones may be able to file a civil cause of action for wrongful death in addition to criminal charges. Under North Carolina law, the plaintiff must prove the usual elements of negligence and additionally, the existence of a legal beneficiary. The classic elements of negligence which must be shown in a court of law in order to recover for a wrongful death action are as follows:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant/driver owed the injured part a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty of Care: The defendant breached their duty of care through their negligent acts;
  • Causation: The defendant’s action must be the actual cause of the injured party’s injuries; and the defendant’s actions were the legal or proximate cause of the party’s injuries;
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered an injury or damages. In this case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions resulted in death.

To prove a defendant/driver is negligent in causing the death of another, a successful plaintiff must prove each of the above elements by a preponderance of the evidence. Although all of these may seem confusing or even a foreign language, an experienced attorney at Bice Law, LLC will be able to explain it thoroughly.

If You Are Involved in a Car Accident, Contact a Bice Law Attorney

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, or you have lost a loved one due to the negligent driving of another in North Carolina or South Carolina, contact an experienced attorney at Bice Law, LLC and schedule a free consultation immediately. Furthermore, if you or your loved one has injuries that require expensive hospitalization, continued rehabilitation, permanent physical or mental damage, or even death, our attorneys are ready and willing to help you recover the damages to which you are entitled and explain the legal process in an understandable manner. To discuss the facts of your case with an experienced attorney at Bice Law, LLC, click here or call (855) 5-BICE-LAW.

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Important Elements of a Wrongful Death Case

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Charlotte, NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful death law is applicable in tort cases where the defendant’s conduct has contributed to the death of the victim. The law compensates the surviving family members and dependents who bear economic and non-economic losses resulting from the death. These include medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, pain and suffering.

Most often, negligence is alleged in wrongful death claims. The defendant’s careless conduct may be the major contributing factor for the automobile accident or medical malpractice. Intentional conduct on the part of the defendant could be the cause of wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit may also arise from a liability case involving a defective product.

What you must prove in a wrongful death case

As the plaintiff, you are required to prove the different elements of a wrongful death claim to be awarded damages. You must basically show that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the victim’s death.

Duty of care: You must prove before the court that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim. In a car accident case, for instance, you must prove that the defendant had an obligation to follow the applicable road rules and drive with care and responsibility.

Breach of duty of care: This element involves proving that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the victim. For a car accident case, it is critical to demonstrate that the defendant did not adhere to the traffic laws of the state.

Causation: It is not enough to prove that the defendant breached a duty or defied a law. You must also show that the defendant’s actions were directly responsible for the wrongful death. If a brake problem in the victim’s car caused his/her death, then the defendant’s breach of law by jumping a red light will not be deemed a direct cause of death.

Burden of proof: The burden of proof in a personal injury lawsuit falls on the claimant. However, being a civil case, it is enough to show that it is ‘more likely than not’ that the defendant was responsible for the victim’s death. The quality of evidence presented before the court will determine the outcome of the case and decide the damages. It is best to engage the services of an experienced wrongful death attorney to present strong evidence and poise yourself for a favorable verdict.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorneyResults are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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A Wrongful Death Attorney in Charlotte Discusses Adjuster Evaluation Tricks

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Charlotte, NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

Don’t expect to learn about negotiating and settling claims by reading a book. A wrongful death lawyer in Charlotte can tell you that the most significant factors in settlement negotiation are the individual practices and policies of insurance carriers, as well as that of each insurance adjuster involved in your case. Attorneys who have experience with personal injury cases can educate you regarding common tricks adjusters may use when evaluating your claim.

Requesting More Information

Your wrongful death attorney in Charlotte can tell you that an adjuster delay tactic may be to continue to ask for more and more information. For example, your counsel may send the adjuster a medical bill, only to be asked to send a complete report from the physician. If your counsel sends any bills, expect the adjuster to request all of the hospital records that relate to those bills.

Claiming the Investigation Is Not Complete

A wrongful death attorney in Charlotte can tell you it is not rare for insurance adjusters to stall in their response to settlement demands by claiming that investigations are not complete. If that’s the case, your counsel may respond with a number of questions. Those questions may include the following:

  • What do you need to close the case?
  • What are you doing to get the information you need?
  • When do you think you will have it?
  • How long will it take to finish the investigation?

All of these questions force an adjuster to take action to complete the investigation, make a decision and move forward with negotiations.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorneyResults are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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A Charlotte Wrongful Death Attorney Explains Why Your Case Might Not Settle

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Charlotte, NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your loved one has died in an accident, you probably hope to avoid filing a lawsuit. As your Charlotte wrongful death attorney can explain, sometimes a lawsuit is necessary if the insurance company will not agree to settle.

Top Reasons Why Settlement Negotiation Breaks Down

Though your Charlotte wrongful death lawyer will do everything he can to facilitate settlement, sometimes the insurance company just won’t budge. Some of the biggest roadblocks to settlement are as follows:

  1. No Meeting of the Minds—If the amount the adjuster wants to pay for your claim is simply too low, your Charlotte wrongful death attorney will likely recommend filing suit.
  2. Not Our Fault—Sometimes, the insurance company does not agree regarding who caused the injury. If the adjusters insist that either you or someone besides their policyholder is at fault, they will likely refuse to settle with your Charlotte wrongful death attorney.
  3. No Injury—If the adjuster doubts the severity or existence of your injury, your Charlotte wrongful death attorney will need to file suit to pursue your claim.
  4. Just Say No—Unfortunately, sometimes insurance companies refuse to settle injury claims as a matter of company policy, leaving you no choice but to go to court.

Who Do We Sue If We Have to?

If your Charlotte wrongful death lawyer feels a lawsuit is the only option, he will sue (on your behalf) the “wrongdoer” or person you feel caused your injuries. The insurance company itself would only be made a party in automobile accident cases involving an uninsured or underinsured driver. Your Charlotte wrongful death attorney can fully advise you about the stages of litigation (lawsuit) if that becomes necessary.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorneyResults are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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A Charlotte Wrongful Death Attorney Discusses When It Is Appropriate to Hire Counsel

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Charlotte, NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

When you decide to hire an attorney in a personal injury case may raise red flags to claims adjusters. Whether it is fair or not, claims adjusters are often suspicious of people who are quick to hire a personal injury attorney at the beginning of a claim. A Charlotte wrongful death attorney can attest that adjusters typically like to get a chance to work with an injured person before attorneys get involved.

Adjusters can justify the retention of counsel appropriate if the parties can’t reach an agreement or there is a dispute over the value of a claim—however, not before an adjuster and claimant work together first. A Charlotte wrongful death attorney can explain that letters of representation dated the same day or the day after the accident look suspicious to adjusters. Some claimants have reached out to lawyers while still at the scene of the accident. These types of behavior will likely compel adjusters to further investigate prior claims history, search medical records for inconsistencies and possibly take a longer time to handle the claim.

Adjusters Take Note of Claim Consciousness

Adjusters make mental notes of those claimants who seem to know a lot about making claims. Adjusters often search the Central Index Bureau, which reveals the number of past insurance claims for personal injury claimants, to see if the claimant has a history of personal injury lawsuits, workers’ compensation claims or other injury claims. A claimant who is overly enthusiastic about settling may also leave the adjuster questioning the validity of the claim.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorneyResults are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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A Charlotte Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You Spot and Stop Bad Faith Denials of Insurance Benefits

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Rock Hill, SC Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you are injured in an accident, our Charlotte wrongful death attorneys can help you handle unfair delays made by insurance companies. In some cases, you may get additional money if the delay was made in bad faith. Here are common tactics to watch for.

The All-or-Nothing Tactic

You might have multiple claims in an accident case. For example, a car accident can cause physical injuries and vehicle damage. The insurance company may withhold payment for car repairs until your injury claim is settled, which might force you to accept settlement too quickly to get your car fixed. An experienced Charlotte wrongful death attorney can fight in your corner to help you through this.

The Exhaustion of Medical Coverage Tactic

In some cases, an insured’s representative may pressure you to submit medical bills to your own health insurer before they agree to pay for the injury. A Charlotte wrongful death lawyer may be able to help.

The Imbalance of Power Tactic

An accident can leave you physically and financially vulnerable, counting on insurance benefits for basic living expenses, especially if you cannot work due to your injury. If an insurer preys on that by delaying benefits, this may be in bad faith, for which you may claim money damages. Your Charlotte wrongful death lawyer can explain how this can be done.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorneyResults are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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Fatal Accident Brings Family to Sue a Sorority

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Charlotte, NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

It has been almost two years since a North Carolina woman learned that her daughter had been killed in a car accident. The woman’s daughter was with several friends when their car was involved in a one-vehicle wreck. One of the daughter’s friends had been driving. The driver was tired and fell asleep behind the wheel.

The driver and one passenger survived the Nov. 20, 2010, crash. However, the woman’s 20-year-old daughter suffered fatal injuries in the accident and another passenger died from her injuries the day after the crash. Now, the mother is hoping that she will be able to prevent other families from having to experience the tragic loss of a child. The woman has already filed a lawsuit against the driver for negligence, but it was reported this week that the mother is also filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a sorority for the group’s involvement in the fatal accident.

The North Carolina mother may be eligible to obtain compensation for damages resulting from her daughter’s death, but she also wants to make sure that changes are made so that no mother has to lose a daughter under similar circumstances. According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the driver of the vehicle had been so exhausted because she was trying to join a sorority and was participating in hazing activities.

The woman’s daughter and several other women were trying to join the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at East Carolina University. Although hazing was in violation of the school’s policies, the sorority subjected pledges to various forms of hazing anyways.

The lawsuit claims that more than a dozen pledges were deprived of sleep as a result of hazing. The women were forced to share a small living space together and perform numerous physical activities. After days of little sleep, the women were then told to show up for 6:30 a.m. hair appointments to get ready for their induction ceremony. When several of the pledges, including the woman’s daughter, were on their way to their appointments, one of the pledges fell asleep while driving and crashed their car into a tree.

The mother is asking that the sorority be held partly responsible for causing the fatal accident. Hopefully, this tragic accident will encourage other sororities to focus on the safety of their pledges rather than to put their pledges in dangerous and potentially fatal situations.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorneyResults are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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Financial Difficulties After the Death of a Loved One

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Rock Hill, SC Wrongful Death Lawyer

The unexpected death of a loved one can cause great emotional hardship, but the financial suffering that follows can be just as crippling as the grief.  A  wrongful death attorney can work on your behalf to fight for justice after such a devastating loss.

Lost Income and Companionship

Perhaps the most significant element of financial hardship following a family member’s death is loss of income. Insurance carriers are responsible for providing family members with the decedent’s projected future earnings (which is mostly based upon work and salary history).

However, other factors are also involved; the deceased’s salary could have increased in the future had he or she continued to live. Therefore, insurance carriers must take that into account.

Insurance carriers may encounter difficulties in determining the deceased’s possible future salary if he or she did not demonstrate a consistent work history.

In addition to lost future income, families deserve reimbursement for lost companionship.

Insurance carriers also hold responsibility for evaluating how much the decedent’s presence was worth to his or her survivors.

Familial Burdens

One unavoidable and costly expense following a relative’s death comes in the form of funeral expenditures. Although this burden may be small compared to the loss of a family member’s income and companionship, many families still struggle to pay for the sudden and often overwhelming expense.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorneyResults are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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Adjuster Tricks: Accept the Offer Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

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Charlotte NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

It is common practice for most insurance adjusters to play games in getting you to settle for significantly less than what your wrongful death claim is worth. This is precisely why it is important to hire a Charlotte wrongful death attorney to avoid these cheap tricks played by insurance companies and to get the just compensation to which you are entitled for the anguish you have suffered.

“If you don’t accept this offer now, we will withdraw all offers.”

This is perhaps one of the oldest tricks in the book that adjusters use to get personal injury victims to settle their case quickly and for significantly less than what it is worth. The simple truth is that whatever the case is worth today, it will still be worth the same amount tomorrow, the next day, or even the next month. So, just because you and your Charlotte wrongful death attorney are not willing to accept the offer that instance does not mean it will not be available later.

Dealing With This Adjuster Trick

An effective way your Charlotte wrongful death attorney can deal with this cheap trick is to threaten litigation. Oftentimes, insurance companies will do nearly anything to avoid the timely and expensive costs associated with litigation. As such, just the threat of filing a lawsuit not only may keep their offer on the table indefinitely, but also may increase the value.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney. Results are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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What to Expect at Trial

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Charlotte NC Wrongful Death Lawyer

We’ve all seen courtroom drama on television, but the reality is very different. If your case is not complex, your Charlotte wrongful death attorney can prepare you in advance for the likely sequence of events, which generally transpire as follows:

Jury Selection

After the judge orders the parties, attorneys and potential jurors into the courtroom, the jury selection process begins. In North Carolina, lawyers are permitted to interview potential jurors during the jury selection (voir dire) process. The attorneys are looking for any bias on the part of potential jurors.

Since jurors are called using a lottery system, it’s a somewhat random, mixed group of people. The lawyers for each side may choose to dismiss jurors perceived to be unsympathetic.

Opening Statements

After jurors are selected, the attorney for each side presents opening statements or brief overviews of the case. Next, your Charlotte wrongful death attorney will present your case fully by calling and examining witnesses. These might include a doctor, employer, friends and family, and other professionals and individuals who can testify about the incident in question.

After your lawyer interviews each witness, the lawyer for the defendant gets to cross-examine each person also. Your lawyer gets another turn afterward, known as a re-direct examination, if he feels it will be helpful.

Contact the Wrongful Death Law Firm of Bice Law

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law.  We serve families across both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, however, so you must act quickly.  Contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney.  Results are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.

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