Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim? What if the driver who hit me is uninsured? Why do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer?

We answer these questions and many more in our collection of frequently asked questions. Unlike many websites that provide brief yes-or-no answers to important legal questions like these, we provide detailed answers to help you get a better idea of your rights, your options, and what you can hope for in the future.

If your questions are not answered here, feel free to connect with us through our website, or call us at 843-488-5360, to speak directly with us about your legal concerns.

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  • How much does it cost to hire a wrongful death attorney in Myrtle Beach?

    The devastating personal loss of an unexpected death is often coupled with the potential for extensive medical bills and the loss of income from your deceased loved one.
    Myrtle Beach Wrongful Death Lawyer The Derrick Law Firm
     
    When a person or company needs to be held responsible for negligent actions, you may be concerned about how to afford a wrongful death attorney.
     
    Even if you are financial struggling, an experienced Myrtle Beach lawyer can fight on your behalf to hold the negligent party responsible for your loved one’s passing and help you get the compensation you deserve.

    Handling the Costs of a Myrtle Beach Wrongful Death Case

    Regardless of your financial situation, it’s important to find a skilled South Carolina attorney after a wrongful death. Since you are already dealing with a stressful and financially draining situation, wrongful death lawyers often work on a contingency basis.
     
    Using a contingency payment method means you pay no upfront money to hire a lawyer. Rather than charging you an hourly rate, the attorney instead takes payment out of the settlement won for the wrongful death.
     
    With a contingency fee arrangement, you don’t have to pay until the case is settled, which can be especially helpful if the deceased was the primary source of income for your family.  

    Costs Associated with a South Carolina Wrongful Death Case

    While adjusting to life after such an overwhelming loss, you don’t need to spend your time hunting down documents and chasing after insurance companies. A Myrtle Beach wrongful death attorney will handle these aspects of your case without requiring any upfront payment:
     
    Hiring investigators
    Gathering police reports and medical documents
    Calling on expert witnesses
    Paying court filing fees
    Negotiating with insurance adjusters
     
    There’s another extremely important reason to retain a knowledgeable legal team in this difficult time of your life. An insurance carrier or the negligent party responsible for your family member’s death may offer a settlement that is much lower than the total amount you could otherwise receive. Through the help of a firm with experience negotiating wrongful death cases, you will more likely receive the maximum amount you are legally owed.

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.3165 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrels Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

  • Do I have a Myrtle Beach wrongful death claim?

    When a loved one dies suddenly and unexpectedly, surviving family members understandably have many questions. They want to know what happened and who is responsible. And when another person’s carelessness has caused their loved one’s death, they want to hold that person accountable. A wrongful death claim is often an effective way for surviving family members to legally address the loss they have experienced. So, how can you know if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim?Myrtle Beach Wrongful Death Attorney The Derrick Law Firm

    Understanding a South Carolina Wrongful Death Claim

    A wrongful death is defined by the state of South Carolina as the death of a person “caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another.” This means, someone died as a result of another person’s carelessness or negligence. Surviving family members must prove that the person responsible for their loved one’s death acted in a manner that the average, responsible person would not have. Perhaps a driver got behind the wheel intoxicated; a company ignored consumer safety testing; or nursing home staff ignored the important needs of a patient.
     
    Additionally, it is necessary to show that the death has caused damages for surviving family members. This means, the death has caused the family financial hardship, emotional pain, loss of companionship or care, or more. Whether the deceased earned vital income for the family or provided essential childcare duties, family members in a variety of circumstances may have rights to compensation.

    Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim in Myrtle Beach

    Once it’s been determined that another person is responsible for the death of your loved one, you may wonder how to pursue a wrongful death claim. In South Carolina, this type of claim must be filed by the administrator or executor of the deceased person’s estate. This person is often the spouse of the deceased person, a child, parent, sibling, or grandchild. Once the probate court approves the representative, he or she can then pursue a wrongful death case on behalf of any eligible family members.

    Time Limitations for South Carolina Wrongful Death Claims

    In South Carolina, the statute of limitations generally, but subject to some exceptions, starts on the date of death. You typically have three years from the date of the death for filing a wrongful death claim. Once that time frame has passed, the courts will refuse the claim. Therefore, it’s important for a wrongful death claim to be filed quickly after the death of a loved one.

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina office directly at 843-488-5360 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrels Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

  • Can my family obtain pain and suffering damages in a wrongful death claim?

    When a loved one dies suddenly in an accident, family members have the right to hold the at-fault person accountable. A wrongful death claim can help family members obtain both a sense of justice for their loved one and compensation to address the family’s needs related to the death. This compensation can cover outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost wages that would have been earned by the deceased. In addition, it is possible to obtain compensation for pain and suffering.
    Wrongful Death Lawsuit The Derrick Law Firm

    Understanding Pain and Suffering

    Pain and suffering refers to a variety of physical and emotional hardships experienced by the plaintiff after the car accident. In the case of a wrongful death claim, it addresses the non-financial challenges faced by surviving family members because of the death. It can include the emotional and mental difficulties of grieving a loved one, as well as the anxiety, shock, insomnia, depression, and loss of enjoyment or companionship.
     
    It is important to note that the courts also recognize the pain and suffering of the deceased during the time between the accident and the death. This type of pain and suffering compensation would be obtained through a survival action, as opposed to a wrongful death claim. 

    How Is Pain and Suffering Determined?

    Some types of damages are straightforward; it is easy to add up all the medical bills and calculate the amount of loss. When it comes to pain and suffering, however, there is much more gray area. It’s harder to assign a monetary amount to an intangible. When determining an appropriate amount of compensation for pain and suffering, insurance companies often consider:
    Type of injury and treatment suffered by the deceased
    Type of treatment sought by surviving family member from a mental health expert
    Length of treatment
    Testimony of friends, relatives, and treating physician
    Consistency in reporting symptoms
    Willingness to discuss pain and suffering openly

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843-484-0707 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

  • If my loved one died in a car accident, can I file a wrongful death claim?

    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. Filing a wrongful death claim The Derrick Law Firm

    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
    • Speeding
    • 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 need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843-484-0707 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

     

  • What types of accidents can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit in Myrtle Beach?

    A wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina seeks to provide surviving family members with a sense of justice, as well as compensation, for the emotional and financial challenges they face after a loved one dies unexpectedly. State law defines a wrongful death as a death caused “by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” It goes on to explain that this type of claim is appropriate when “if death had not ensued, (would) have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages.” Essentially, it is the personal injury claim the deceased could have pursued had he lived.  Causes of wrongful deaths The Derrick Law Firm

    Common Causes of South Carolina Wrongful Death Claims

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are more than 169,000 unintentional injury deaths every year in the U.S. There are a wide variety of circumstances that can result in an accidental death and a wrongful death claim, but these lawsuits most commonly occur because of:

    Car Accidents

    In 2017, an estimated 40,000 people were killed in a car crash. While not every accident may warrant a wrongful death claim, there are many times when another driver’s negligent behavior directly causes the death. In those cases, surviving family members may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. Drivers who are drunk, fatigued, distracted, or simply reckless can be held accountable for their actions.

    Truck Accidents 

    Tractor-trailer truck accidents are particularly dangerous, and when crashes occur, it is most often the smaller vehicle passenger who is injured and killed. Drivers and trucking companies may be held responsible for the death when their careless behavior leads to a crash.

    Pedestrian Accidents

    Pedestrians have rights to the roadways just as cars, trucks, and other vehicles. However, the South Carolina Highway Patrol reported that one in every five traffic fatalities in 2018 was a pedestrian. In Horry County alone, there were 107 pedestrian accidents. Drivers can be held responsible when they do not adhere to the rules of the road and cause the death of a pedestrian.

    Recreation Accidents

    In a beach resort town like Myrtle Beach, there is no shortage of fun activities for thrill seekers and those just looking for some active fun. The owners and operators of recreational businesses, however, also have a responsibility to ensure the equipment for the activities they provide are safe. Accidents that occur when boating, jet skiing, parasailing, and at amusement parks can have devastating consequences, and those responsible can be held accountable.

    Product Liability 

    Product liability cases refer to situations when a defective product causes injury or death. Manufacturers, assemblers, and retailers have a duty to bring only safe products to the market, and they can be held accountable when they knowingly fail to uphold their responsibility.

    Medical Malpractice 

    Medical malpractice occurs when a care provider fails to perform his duty fully and appropriately. The general measurement for medical malpractice asks the question of whether or not another doctor, given the same information under similar circumstances, would have made the same decisions about care. This can include unacceptable errors during a surgery or other procedure.

    After the death of a loved one, surviving family members may feel overwhelmed. They may want justice for their loved ones and need compensation to help them begin their own recovery, but they may not know where to start. 

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.3165 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrels Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

     

  • How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Myrtle Beach?

    time limits for wrongful death claims in Myrtle Beach South Carolina Derrick Law FirmAfter a loved one dies unexpectedly, families need time to grieve and process their loss. The days, weeks, and months after the accident are often overwhelming, and it’s understandable that family members may not be ready to consider filing a legal claim.

    However, many families want justice and to hold the person responsible for the death accountable. To do so, it is necessary to take action as soon as possible. The state of South Carolina has specific rules about how much time surviving family members have to file a wrongful death claim, known as the statute of limitations.

    Understanding South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations

    A statute of limitations sets the amount of time accident victims have to file a legal claim, with different types of cases allowed varying amounts of time. For those in Myrtle Beach, the law allows three years from the date of the death to file a claim. After this time, the court will not allow the claim and families may be left with no recourse.

    In certain rare situations, however,  it is possible that the time limits would be extended. This is referred to as tolling the statute of limitations. For example, it could be the case that family members were not made aware of the cause of death or did not discover the involvement of another person until a significant amount of time had passed. 

    Families Need Time to Prepare a Claim

    It’s important to get started as soon as possible when surviving family members are considering pursuing a wrongful death claim. While three years may seem like plenty of time, there are many factors to consider. It will be necessary to:

    • Investigate the accident
    • Obtain a police report
    • Talk to witnesses
    • Gather supporting documents
    • Determine the value of the case
    • Fill out legal forms
    • File forms with the court by specific deadlines

    This process can take time, and no family needs the additional stress the statute of limitations running out. When a loved one dies, family members deserve justice and compensation to help them address their changing needs. 

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina office directly at 843-488-5360 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrels Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

     

  • What can I do if my family member was killed by a person or a product?

    In South Carolina, if a person's death was caused by a negligent act, an intentional act, or a defective product, the personal representative of the deceased can pursue both a "wrongful death action" and a "survival action."

    To determine if you have a wrongful death claim, you will need an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer.

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843-484-0707 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

  • Who has the right to bring a "wrongful death claim" and a "survival claim"?

    The personal representative of the estate has the right to file a wrongful death claim or a survival claim.

    If a personal representative has been appointed, the claim process can start. If not, The Derrick Law Firm can help the right person file the necessary documents in Probate Court to get appointed.

    Since 1991, SC Personal Injury Lawyer Dirk Derrick has focused on personal injury law including wrongful death claims, car accidents, workers' compensation, and other insurance based claims.

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843-484-0707 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

  • What is a wrongful death claim?

    A wrongful death claim is brought for the benefit of certain family members who have been harmed emotionally and/or financially by the passing of a loved one. When someone is killed by the recklessness and negligence of another's actions, a wrongful death claim is typically actionable.

    Section 15-51-20 provides that a wrongful death claim is for:

    1. The benefit of the wife, or husband, and child or children, of the person whose death shall have been so caused; and if there is not a wife/husband, child/children, then the

    2. Benefit of the parent or parents; and if there is not a parent, then the

    3. Benefit of the heirs.

    Damages payable by the wrongful death claim are measured by the loss to the beneficiaries, including:

    1. Financial loss

    2. Mental shock and suffering

    3. Wounded feelings

    4. Grief and sorrow

    5. Loss of society and companionship

    Typically, in the event of a wrongful death, you will need an experienced Personal Injury Attorney to help facilitate and settle the claim.

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843-484-0707 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

  • What is a "Survival Action?"

    If someone dies an untimely death related to another's actions, a survival action may brought for the benefit of the Estate, and includes any damages that the decedent could have sought, had he or she not died.  

    Therefore, you need to prove negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct.

    The following damages can be obtained in a survival action:

    1. Medical bills incurred in the accident;

    2. Pain and suffering incurred before death; and

    3. Possibly punitive damages if the at-fault party was reckless or acted intentionally.

    If you lost a loved one due to another's actions, you may have a wrongful death and survival action claim. Contact Myrtle Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Dirk Derrick for a free consultation. 843-488-5360.

    Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?

    If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843-484-0707 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.