As you mourn the death of your loved one in a fatal South Carolina accident, you may be left with a lot of questions. Why did this happen? How will the person who caused your loved one's death be held accountable? Will your family suffer financially? Is it possible to get justice?
An experienced South Carolina wrongful death lawyer can answer all your questions and protect your legal rights. We can't bring your loved one back, but we will do everything possible to help you honor their memory and protect your future during this difficult time.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
A South Carolina wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of 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 lawsuit can accomplish two primary goals.
First, it can bring a measure of justice and closure. When the law acknowledges the defendant's negligent behavior and holds them accountable, families can feel secure knowing they stood up for their loved one.
Second, wrongful death cases can provide compensation for surviving family members. In many cases, the deceased performed vital family duties such as earning wages 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.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
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 accidents that result in wrongful death claims include:
Fatal car accidents can result from a range of factors, including driver negligence, impaired driving, hazardous road conditions, and collisions involving multiple vehicles. These tragic events vary in nature, such as head-on collisions, rear-end crashes, rollovers, and side-impact accidents. Our South Carolina wrongful death lawyers are dedicated to helping families navigate the legal complexities and seeking justice for their loved ones lost in car accidents.
Boat or Jet Ski Accidents
Fatal boat and jet ski accidents in South Carolina are tragic incidents that require careful investigation. Identifying the cause of the deadly accident is crucial, whether it's operator negligence or equipment failures. Families affected by these accidents may seek compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, emotional distress, and other damages.
Our South Carolina wrongful death lawyers are dedicated to helping families navigate the complex legal process after fatal motorcycle accidents. We will investigate the cause of the crash, value your damages, and help you seek justice and financial compensation for your devastating loss.
Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
South Carolina nursing home wrongful deaths are deeply distressing situations. These tragedies can stem from neglect, abuse, or medical errors. Pursuing a wrongful death claim involves legal steps, including filing a lawsuit and providing evidence. Families may seek compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and other damages. Our South Carolina nursing home lawyers are here to offer guidance and support during this challenging time.
Tractor Trailer Accidents
It's essential to determine liability after a fatal truck accident. The trucking company, the truck driver, or the manufacturer of faulty truck parts can cause deadly tractor trailer crashes. An experienced truck wrongful death lawyer will thoroughly investigate what caused the fatal accident and fight for your family's fair compensation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, a wrongful death 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, they can then pursue a wrongful death case on behalf of any eligible family members with the help of our experienced wrongful death attorneys.
Wrongful Death Damages
Estate executors file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of immediate family members or surviving relatives. In South Carolina, wrongful death damages are distributed as follows:
- First, to the deceased person's spouse and children.
- Then, if there is no surviving spouse or children, it goes to the deceased person's parents.
- Finally, if the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse, child, or parent, wrongful death damages may be distributed to other heirs.
Wrongful death damages may include:
- Emotional trauma and anguish
- Loss of companionship from a spouse or family member
- Property damage caused by the accident
- Lost income from the deceased family member
- Funeral and burial expenses
In some cases, you may also be able to recover damages through a survival action claim that additionally covers:
- Costs for medical treatment while the deceased was still alive
- Pain, suffering, and mental trauma your loved one suffered because of the injury
South Carolina Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
In South Carolina, you typically have three years from the date of your loved one's death to file a wrongful death claim. The wrongful death statute of limitations will only be extended in rare cases, such as when the family is not immediately made aware of the negligent party's involvement in their loved one's death.
If you don't file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out, a court typically won't hear the wrongful death case, and your family will not recover any compensation for your loss.
How a South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You
An experienced wrongful death attorney can determine if you have a wrongful death case and help you seek the compensation you are legally owed before the statute of limitations expires.
Beginning the process early is critical. A wrongful death lawyer can:
- Interview witnesses
- Acquire supporting documents and police reports
- File legal forms with the court before deadlines expire
- Calculate the value of the case based on the specific factors involved
- Negotiate with insurance companies