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Wrongful death victim's family finally gets day in court

A North Carolina family that won a decisive victory in the state Supreme Court will have the opportunity to seek legal relief from government officials in Cleveland County. The family has been pursuing a wrongful death claim after an unfortunate accident left their 24-year-old relative dead at the Cleveland County landfill. That male victim was reportedly crushed to death by a 40-ton trash compactor in 2010.

Official reports show that the family has been fighting against the county for several years. The county appealed to the state Supreme Court in an effort to have the case dismissed entirely. However, justices agree that the case should be heard in state court, and proceedings are slated to begin as soon as December.

Attorneys in the case say that the family is not as concerned with the financial compensation associated with the case as with the fact that the litigation could prevent a similar accident from occurring in the future. The victim's mother had initially tried to sue the driver of the trash compactor that crushed her son, but she changed her mind and chose to sue the county after discovering that entity did not have immunity.

The family's legal team characterizes the woman as a tenacious plaintiff who will not allow her son's death to be in vain. She said that changes should be made at the landfill, including equipment upgrades and the replacement of faulty cameras. Additional procedural changes could also prevent trash compactors from working in unexpected areas of the landfill.

Victims who have suffered the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident may be entitled to financial compensation. Both public and private entities may be held accountable for compensatory damages, including pain and suffering, wrongful death, funeral expenses and a variety of other civil claims. A North Carolina attorney may be able to help such victims learn more about their legal options.

Source: Shelby Star, "Landfill death lawsuit against county headed for court" Molly Phipps, Mar. 14, 2014

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