Wrongful Death

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

South Carolina law provides the survivors of those wrongfully killed with a path to recovery.  By filing a wrongful death claim, surviving family members can potentially gain financial security for the loss of a loved one’s income.  Further, the surviving family can find a sense of closure knowing that a negligent someone was held responsible for their loved ones wrongful death.  Wrongful death lawsuits do not only arise out of automobile accidents, but can be filed after any kind of accident, including those involving medical negligence (malpractice) or deaths arising from defective products.

Who can sue for Wrongful Death in South Carolina?

The spouse, children and or parents of a loved one may file a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina.  A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against any company and or person responsible for the death of a loved one.  In specific cases, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against a government entity. 

What am I entitled to as a survivor in a wrongful death case?

Damages is a legal term for a sum of money awarded by a Court and or an insurance company to compensate the loved ones for an injury or death in South Carolina. In South Carolina, wrongful death damages allows survivors to recover many different types of monetary damages, including the death of their deceased family member’s income and financial support, the loss of the deceased family member’s companionship, the loss of an expected inheritance, mental anguish and suffering.  The surviving family members may be able to recover punitive damages to penalize or punish the at fault party (Defendant) for his or her reckless and or grossly negligent act.

Is there a time limit on filing a wrongful death claim in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, there is a rule of law known as a statute of limitations which requires that you file a lawsuit on the wrongful death claim within a certain period of time.  Typically, family members must file a wrongful death lawsuit within three years of the date on which the accident occurred where their loved one passed away. In some cases, the period of time that family members have to file a lawsuit is only two years.  It is important to contact a South Carolina wrongful death attorney quickly in order to get your wrongful death claim filed within the required amount of time.

What types of fatal accidents can be the cause of a wrongful death claim in South Carolina?

When the negligence of another kills your loved one, you may have the right to make a wrongful death claim on behalf of the survivors.  

In a car accident, various factors contribute to fatal car accidents, but the most common we see in South Carolina are:

  • Drunk driving – Having a blood alcohol level at 0.08% or higher may result in DUI and other severe consequences.  If the driver that killed your loved one was cited with DUI as a result of the wreck, then you most likely will have a wrongful death claim for the loss of your loved one in South Carolina.  In addition to a claim against the at-fault drunk driver, you may have a dram shop case against the bar who may have overserved the intoxicated driver that killed your loved one.
  • Traffic Citations – When a negligent driver runs a stop sign, fails to yield right of way, drives through a red light or commits other traffic offense and kills your loved one, you may have a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.  You should consult with a South Carolina attorney as soon as possible to determine your rights as a survivor who lost a loved one at the hands of a negligent driver who committed a traffic offense.
  • Reckless Driving – South Carolina recognizes reckless driving as a major traffic offense.  An irresponsible and negligent driver can commit reckless driving in many different ways, such as excessive speed.  If your loved one was killed by someone charged with reckless driving, you may have a wrongful death claim against that driver.  It is important to contact a South Carolina lawyer quickly after the accident has occurred to learn your rights and get the claim started.

Wrongful Death Damages in South Carolina

It is devastating to lose a loved one because of someone else’s wrongful act.  As the initial shock and trauma from this type of event wears away, you may begin to consider whether you will be able to recover money by taking legal action to hold the responsible party accountable.

In addition to emotional loss, you may find yourself in a devastating financial situation, especially if your loved one was the primary income for your household. Fortunately, South Carolina allows for people who have lost a loved one in a tragic accident to recover financial compensation for their injuries and or death.  While there is no monetary amount that can undo the fact of what has happened, it can certainly help bring a sense of closure to such a tragic event and secure financial needs for the future of your loved one’s family.

The following are the types of damages available to family members in a South Carolina Wrongful Death claim

South Carolina allows surviving children, spouse, and or parents of a deceased individual to pursue compensation for their personal loss as a result of losing their loved one.  There is a law that provides a survival action, which allows survivors to recover compensation for losses incurred by the decedent after the accident took place – it allows a personal injury claim to survive the death of your loved one. The damages available in a wrongful death action in South Carolina include:

  • The loss of earning capacity for the decedent;
  • The loss of companionship, comfort and love;
  • Emotional pain and mental anguish suffered by the decedent’s survivors; 
  • Medical bills if the decedent lived for a period time prior to his or her passing.

How Much is a Wrongful Death Case worth?

Why there is no set amount a wrongful death case is worth, it is only human nature to wonder how much money or compensation you may be entitled to by filing a South Carolina wrongful death claim.  There are many factors that will control the amount of settlement and or the verdict a jury may give.  It is nearly impossible to determine what one’s wrongful death case may be worth without a thorough investigation into the merits of the case. However, some of the following factors may control and help determine the amount a South Carolina wrongful death claim may be worth:

  • The age of the decedent at the time of death;
  • The potential loss of earnings from the decedent;
  • The severity of the acts that caused the tragic accident resulting in death by the at-fault party(s); and
  • Whether the decedent had any potential liability in the accident causing their death.

 

While these are not all of the factors that may be considered, they are certainly common factors to most South Carolina wrongful death claims.