When a loved one has died, surviving family members are faced with many challenges. In addition to the pain and grief of loss, there are practical questions that must be answered. For many families, financial concerns are a top worry, particularly when the loved one was a main income earner and/or caregiver. While money may be the last thing that families want to think about at this difficult time, it is both important and possible to consider your family’s financial future and how it could benefit from a wrongful death claim.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a legal action that surviving family members can bring against the person or entity responsible for their loved one’s untimely death. The law states that a wrongful death claim is, in essence, the personal injury claim that the deceased could have filed against the party who harmed him had he lived. In South Carolina, this type of claim is typically brought on behalf of a spouse and children. If there are no spouse or children, parents or other heirs could be eligible to file a claim.
Types of Compensation For A Wrongful Death Claim
While nothing can bring back your loved one, a wrongful death claim can help ease some burdens as families begin to rebuild their lives. South Carolina law allows surviving family members to obtain compensation for:
The costs associated with the funeral and burial of the deceased can be included in wrongful death compensation.
It is often the case that the deceased did receive medical care in an attempt to save the life. Bills for this care related to the injury that caused the death still need to be paid and could be covered by a wrongful death lawsuit.
Lost Income And Benefits
Surviving family members may be entitled to compensation that is equal to the wages and benefits that the deceased would likely have earned throughout his life until an anticipated retirement.
Value Of Services
In some cases, the deceased may not have earned income but rather provided essential services for the family, such as caregiving. The value of that contribution need not be ignored.
Pain And Suffering
The pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to his death can be considered by a wrongful death lawsuit.
Loss Of Care, Companionship, And Protection
Especially in cases where the deceased was the parent of minor children, it is possible to acknowledge the loss of the care and guidance that the deceased could have provided to loved ones.
Every situation is unique, and the amount of compensation that surviving family members may obtain can vary from case to case. South Carolina law does state that family members could be awarded as much compensation as a jury “may think proportioned to the injury resulting from the death.” So, the specific details of each family’s circumstances will be considered to determine the value of 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 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.