Losing a family member after an auto accident can be a devastating event. Your loved one may have survived the crash but did not live long afterward despite the best efforts of doctors. Your tragedy may feel worse if the hospital that treated your loved one wants to take money from your relative’s estate to pay off the medical bills. This development may motivate you to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
It does not seem fair that money left behind by your loved one must go to pay off medical bills for an accident that was not the fault of your relative, yet this might become the case. Credit Karma explains that sometimes debts left behind by a deceased person come back to haunt the survivors.
Estates and unpaid debts
Usually, when a person dies, the deceased individual leaves behind property and money. These assets constitute an estate. A decedent may have also had debts remaining. Some debts will die with a person, but not all do. Creditors may approach the executor of the decedent’s estate to ask for payments from the estate to cover the outstanding debt.
This can be a problem if you stand to inherit from your relative’s estate. Money that goes from the estate to creditors is money lost to you and other family members. In some cases, a decedent has so much debt that the estate becomes insolvent because all of the estate assets went to paying off debts.
Wrongful death claims may offer compensation
If your loved one died as a result of the negligence of another person, you may file a wrongful death suit under North Carolina law. Wrongful death damages cover different kinds of expenses, including the bills for hospitalization and medical treatment for your loved one, as well as burial costs.
A wrongful death suit cannot bring back your family member. Still, the damages offered by wrongful death compensation may ease your worries that medical debts will deprive your loved one’s estate, plus you may feel some measure of justice from receiving damages.