In South Carolina in 2017, a person was killed in a car accident approximately every nine hours. A car crash is a sudden and devastating experience for thousands of families every year in this state, and the surviving family members of those killed are left with many questions. During this difficult time, it can be hard to know how to move forward. In addition to the burden of grief and life adjustments, many families wonder if they should try to pursue legal action. Often, family members aren’t sure of their rights or what a wrongful death claim could accomplish.
Understanding a Wrongful Death Claim
In South Carolina, a wrongful death claim is a legal suit filed by surviving family members when a person is killed by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another. Essentially, it is the personal injury claim that the deceased, had he lived, could have pursued against the person responsible for his injuries.
For family members, a wrongful death claim can accomplish two main goals. First, it can bring a measure of justice and closure. When the law acknowledges the negligent behavior of the at-fault driver and holds him accountable for that action, families can feel secure in knowing that they stood up for their loved one.
Second, a personal injury claim can provide compensation for surviving family members to help them remain financially stable through this time. In many cases, the deceased performed vital family duties such as wage earning or providing child care. Without that person, life can be very difficult for surviving family members. A wrongful death claim can help ease that burden.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina?
Typically, a wrongful death claim is pursued by the spouse and children of the deceased. If there is no spouse or there are no children, the parents of the deceased may file a claim. In some cases, those considered heirs would be eligible to file a claim. Families can take many forms, so it’s important to talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney to understand exactly what your rights may be.
Determining If You Have a Wrongful Death Claim
It is possible to file a legal claim when another person’s negligent action (or lack of action) directly results in another person’s death. The surviving family members would have to demonstrate that their loved one would likely still be alive if not for that careless action. Common causes of car accidents that result in wrongful death claims include:
- Drunk drivers
- Distracted drivers
- Drowsy drivers
- Aggressive drivers
- Road rage
- Pedestrian accidents
Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?
If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you should speak to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.