Hit and run wrongful death claims typically come with one of two distinct factual scenarios. In the first scenario, the at-fault, hit and run driver has been identified. In this situation, the Estate of the victim may file a lawsuit or seek to a settle a claim out-of-court directly against the at-fault driver and his or her automobile liability insurance company. The types of compensation recoverable in such a case are described below.
In the second common factual scenario, the at-fault, hit and run driver cannot be identified. In this situation, the family members of the victim killed by the hit and run driver often times incorrectly assume that because they cannot identify the hit and run driver, they have no right to recover compensation for the financial and emotional loss of their loved family member. In most cases, this is simply not true. In fact, almost all North Carolinians have a specific type of automobile insurance coverage that can apply in a hit and run wrongful death case. That coverage is called Uninsured Motorist Coverage or UM Coverage.
UM Coverage applies in one of two situations. The first situation is where the at-fault driver simply does not have automobile liability coverage. This commonly occurs when a negligent driver allows his or her policy to “lapse” or simply failed to purchase liability insurance in the first place. The other situation where Uninsured Motorist Coverage applies is where someone in a vehicle is injured or killed because of a hit and run driver.
In a Wrongful Death case, the Estate of the hit and run victim can recover from the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance liability carrier (if the hit and run driver has been identified) or the Uninsured Motorist Carrier (if the hit and run driver has not been identified), the types of compensation that are permitted by North Carolina’s Wrongful Death statute, N.C.G.S § 28A-18-2. That includes compensation for:
• The expenses for the care, treatment and hospitalization of the victim following the hit and run crash;
• The pain and suffering of the victim following the hit and run crash and prior to his or her death;
• The reasonable funeral expenses of the victim;
• The “net income” of the victim to the beneficiaries of his or her Wrongful Death claim;
• The “services, protection, care and assistance” that would have been provided to the beneficiaries of the Wrongful Death claim by the victim; and
• The “society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice” that would have been provided to the beneficiaries of the
Wrongful Death claim by the victim:
If you have lost a family member due to the negligence of a hit and run driver, the North Carolina attorneys of Maginnis Law can help. We understand how the sudden loss of a loved one not only leaves an emotional hole but a financial one. We are experienced in representing clients in high stakes, complex litigation, including Wrongful Death claims, and will retain the necessary experts to establish the tremendous loss to the beneficiaries of the Wrongful Death estate. We are willing to fight for justice for your family member inside the courtrooms of North Carolina, not just settle out-of-court for the insurance company’s offer.
To speak with an attorney regarding the circumstances of losing your family member, call Maginnis Law’s lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard, at 919.480.8526 for a free consultation. You can also visit our contact page to reach out to our lawyers. Our firm offers a contingency fee arrangement for all Wrongful Death claims.