What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When a loved one dies due to another’s negligence or fault, it can be especially hard to reconcile. Fortunately, wrongful death actions offer a decedent’s survivors the opportunity for justice and compensation after their loss. 

If you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina, you need counsel from an experienced South Carolina wrongful death attorney. 

Wrongful death attorneys in South Carolina not only answer questions about wrongful death lawsuits but also evaluate your case, explain your legal options, and fight fiercely on your behalf.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligent or intentional misconduct of another person or entity.  Following a wrongful death, the victim’s survivors are legally entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault party through a civil action, known as a wrongful death claim. 

Though criminal charges may have been filed against the negligent or at-fault party, wrongful death claims are separate, civil actions filed on behalf of the victims’ survivors. Wrongful death civil actions carry a lower standard of proof than criminal cases.  

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina?

South Carolina law provides that wrongful death claims may be pursued on behalf of a deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents. In the absence of a surviving spouse, child, or parent, other heirs of the estate may be entitled to file a claim. 

Per South Carolina law, the wrongful death claim must be filed by an administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate on behalf of the survivors pursuing the claim. If the wrongful death action is in the interest of a minor child, the court may appoint a guardian to bring the action on behalf of the minor child.

What Can Be Awarded in South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

Wrongful death damages in South Carolina fall under two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages are quantifiable and include:

  • Medical expenses 
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost wages and future income
  • Lost inheritance
  • Value of services

Non-economic damages are generally subjective and often left to the discretion of a jury:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost care and emotional support
  • Lost companionship
  • Lost social connections
  • Loss of consortium

South Carolina law, Section 15-51-40, directs that any recoverable damages be divided among the decedent’s survivors in keeping with what each party in interest would have received if the decedent had died without a will. 

Valid Wrongful Death Claims in South Carolina

Any death of a person resulting from another’s reckless, negligent, or willful harmful acts may qualify as wrongful death. Defendants in wrongful death actions must be shown to have had a duty of care to the person who died, and that the duty of care was breached, resulting in the direct and proximate death of the victim. 

Common incidents resulting in wrongful death actions:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Auto accidents
  • Faulty Products 
  • Poisoning

These are only some of the fatal accidents that can create a wrongful death cause of action under South Carolina law.

Consulting a South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your loved one suffered a fatality in South Carolina due to another person or entity’s actions, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. However, South Carolina’s wrongful death claims are governed by statutes of limitations, making it essential that you reach out to a South Carolina wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. 

Contact our office today for a comprehensive case review and step-by-step action plan by one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys. Together, we can get justice for your loved one and compensation for your loss.