The death of a loved one is a significant loss, one that stays with a family forever. Learning that your loved one’s passing was preventable, and caused by the negligence of someone else, can add anger and a deep desire for justice to those feelings of loss. Although money can never replace your loved one, it can help ease the burden of medical expenses, funeral expenses, and lost wages that many families experience after a wrongful death. By consulting with one of our South Carolina wrongful death attorneys, you can pursue justice for your loved one and help ensure that the same tragic fate that happened to them can never happen again.
Wrongful Death Law in South Carolina Defined
A wrongful death in South Carolina is one that is caused by the negligence or reckless action of another person or entity. These actions must be the same type that would result in a personal injury claim if the victim had survived. Negligence is the failure to exercise care towards others that a reasonable person would, whether by action or inaction. A key part of proving negligence is determining whether the defendant had a duty of care to the victim. For example, a doctor has a duty of care to their patient, but a homeowner does not have the same duty to a trespasser.
The burden of proof for a wrongful death case is on the plaintiff, but it is not held to the same standard of proof as a criminal proceeding. It is instead proved by a preponderance of the evidence.
A wrongful death suit must be filed by executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate, even though they represent the family and heirs of the deceased. The family of the deceased receive the damages determined by a wrongful death suit.
The suit continues against the defendant’s representative in the event of the defendant’s death. In other words, the estate of the defendant must still respond to a wrongful death suit. South Carolina has a statute of limitations of 3 years of three years on wrongful death cases and filing quickly is crucial to a successful claim and receiving a fair settlement.
Uncovering Wrongful Death Accident Facts
At Guest & Brady, the first thing we do is investigate how your loved one’s death occurred. We ask questions like: where were they when they passed away, what was the ultimate cause of their death, and who may be at fault for those causes? We will investigate what happened shortly before and after your loved one’s death. We scour through paperwork, emails, witness testimonies, forensic evidence, and other records to find any possible support. That information may provide clues as to how it occurred, and we will examine every possible link to the party or parties at fault.
In many cases, more than one entity can be held legally responsible for a fatal accident. For example, if a factory worker dies as a result of an accident involving malfunctioned equipment, two parties may be at fault – first, the manufacturer of the equipment, if the malfunction occurred as the result of a defect in the design or creation of the equipment, and second, the employer, if he or she knew that the equipment was malfunctioning and failed to correct the problem.
Facing these questions and examining the case can be a painful experience while grieving for the loss of a loved one. Without gathering available evidence, however, it can be difficult to prove who is liable and how. The discovery process is vital in getting justice for your loved one.
Wrongful Death Damages
The compensation for wrongful death claims are usually not limited to medical costs, although it often includes it. Financial restitution in such cases may include:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damages related to the death
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, in cases of gross negligence
Many of these damages are easily calculated by totaling the physical bills and estimates. Others are much more subjective and can be difficult to translate into a monetary value. An experienced attorney can help you assess your claim and determine a fair compensation.
Get Justice for Your Loved One’s Wrongful Death Today
A wrongful death claim isn’t just about the money. For families who are torn apart from the loss of a loved one, money does little more than take care of the serious financial burdens that result. These families want one thing – justice. The person(s) or company(s) that are at fault for your loved one’s untimely passing should not be allowed to get away with their negligence and wrongdoing. They must be held legally responsible in a court of law, and they must be penalized in a way that will strongly encourage them to never make the same mistake again.
Filing a wrongful death claim can be daunting and confusing. There are special procedures and rules to filing a claim and negotiating a fair settlement. Taking a case to trial or to an alternative dispute resolution like arbitration involves specific and precise processes that can challenge a grieving family.
In such situations, you may believe that trusting your insurance company to handle your claim is the best option. However, insurance companies are invested in their profits, not in your best interests. A dedicated wrongful death attorney can defend your rights, guide you through the legal process, and advocate for you in negotiations and in court.
At Guest & Brady, we understand how challenging and heart wrenching a loved one’s death can be, especially if their death was caused by someone else being careless or negligent. We can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for death related expenses and personal suffering. Call our South Carolina wrongful death attorneys today for a consultation, at (864) 233-7200.