City of Charlotte Settles Wrongful Death Suit Against Police

City of Charlotte Settles Wrongful Death Suit Against Police

City of Charlotte Settles Wrongful Death Suit Against Police

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Over a year after family members filed a wrongful death suit against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for the shooting of Jonathan Ferrell by a police officer, the city of Charlotte announced on May 14, 2015 that they had settled the case. The city agreed to pay Ferrell’s family 2.25 million dollars from the city’s reserve funds. Meanwhile, a concurrent criminal case against the police officer for voluntary manslaughter is scheduled for trial in July.

Excessive Force in Ferrell’s Shooting

On the evening of the shooting, Ferrell wrecked his car on an unfamiliar road. According to the toxicology report, Ferrell showed no signs of drugs and had blood alcohol levels below the legal limit. He left his car barefoot and without his cellphone, and was looking for help at a nearby house. He began pounding on the house’s door, which frightened the female resident inside. After the resident called 911, three Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers responded.  Video from the police car at the scene showed that the unarmed Ferrell ran into one of the police officers, who responded by firing 12 shots, 10 of which hit Ferrell. However, the other two more experienced officers did not pull their guns.

North Carolina law justifies a police officer’s use of deadly force only when it appears reasonably necessary for self-defense or the defense a third person from the imminent use of deadly physical force, to effect an arrest or prevent someone from escaping who is doing so with the use of a deadly weapon, or to prevent someone from escaping who is trying to do so because of a felony conviction. In a later interview, the Chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department commented that the officer used bad judgment and excessive force when he shot the unarmed Ferrell.

Wrongful Death Suits in North Carolina

Under North Carolina law, wrongful death is defined as such when it is caused by a “wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.”  Essentially, the act would have been a cause of action for personal injury if the victim had lived. Wrongful death suits are filed by the personal representative of the victim such as the victim’s survivors (including spouse, children, and parents), heirs, or others. Normally, a wrongful death suit must be filed within two years after the person’s death.

The personal representative may seek damages from the wrongful death that include:

  • Expenses for care, treatment, and hospitalization;
  • Compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering;
  • Funeral expenses;
  • Monetary benefits that the victim provides to other persons, such as dependents, that may include the net income of the victim, services, protection, care, companionship, and guidance;
  • Punitive damages, if the wrongful act that caused the death was malicious, willful, or wanton.

Proceeds from the settlement of a wrongful death case are divided in accordance with North Carolina law. Initially, the estate is reimbursed for any expenses incurred in pursuing wrongful death action. Next, a percentage of the recovery is paid towards attorney’s fees and medical expenses (not exceeding $4,500). Finally, the deceased individual’s heirs get the remainder of the settlement.

If you believe your loved one was the victim of a wrongful death, you will need a seasoned attorney to pursue your claims in court. Contact the legal professionals at Bice Law, LLC today in order to ensure any wrongful death claim is filed in a timely manner.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law:

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 500-BICE today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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