When another party’s negligence causes the death of a loved one, the family members may have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina. Losing a loved one is painful, especially when their death was preventable. South Carolina personal injury law gives surviving family members a legal right to seek compensation. An executor can sue the person whose negligence caused the death in a wrongful death lawsuit. Navigating the legal system can be difficult after the death of a loved one. However, ensuring that surviving family members receive full compensation for the injuries and wrongful death of their loved one.
By filing a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina, surviving family members can experience peace of mind. A lawsuit can never bring a loved one back. Yet, it can help surviving family members pay for medical expenses and funeral expenses. At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, our experienced wrongful death attorneys have helped many surviving family members recover compensation. To learn how we can help you seek compensation, contact our Myrtle Beach personal injury law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
Elements in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Under South Carolina law, an estate executor can bring a wrongful death claim when a person’s death was “caused by the wrongful act, negligent or default of another.” Executors can only recover damages from the defendant when the deceased would have had a right to bring a personal injury lawsuit if he or she had survived.
Nearly any type of fatal accident can create a wrongful death cause of action under South Carolina law, to include the following:
- Car accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home negligence
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability
- Animal attacks
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in South Carolina?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the injured party is deceased and cannot bring a lawsuit on his or her behalf. Under South Carolina law, the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased has a legal right to file the lawsuit. If the deceased individual did not have an estate plan in place, a South Carolina court would appoint someone to the position.
The estate executor acts on behalf of the surviving family members. Thus, even though family members do not bring a wrongful death claim themselves, they still have a chance to recover compensation. The following surviving family members can recover compensation in a South Carolina wrongful death lawsuit:
- Surviving spouse
- Heirs at law if there are no other heirs available
In successful wrongful death lawsuits, any recovered damages are divided among the spouse, children, parents, and heirs of the deceased. A court will divide the amount of damages according to South Carolina’s intestate laws as though the defendant died without a will in place.
Statute of Limitation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
South Carolina requires plaintiffs to file wrongful death lawsuits within three years of the date the victim died. Executors who fail to do so will lose their opportunity to recover damages on behalf of the surviving family members. If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Wilcox, Buyck & Williams, PA. We will conduct a thorough investigation into your case. Three years can pass quickly, and the sooner our attorneys start the process of gathering evidence, the better.
Successful wrongful death plaintiffs are entitled to several different types of compensation. South Carolina personal injury law seeks to compensate surviving family members for all of the losses caused by the wrongful death. In addition to monetary damages, courts award damages for the emotional toll that a family member’s death places on surviving family members. Recovering monetary damages is particularly important when the victim has surviving dependent children. Successful plaintiffs are entitled to the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses incurred by the victim before his or her death
- The burial, funeral, and memorial expenses of the deceased
- Loss of past and future income
- Loss of household services
- Property damage such as a totaled motor vehicle
- Loss of care, affection, and companionship
- Mental anguish experienced by surviving family members
When the defendant acted maliciously, willfully, or wantonly, the court may impose punitive damages, also called exemplary damages. Courts do not assess punitive damages to compensate the victim’s family but to punish the plaintiff and act as a warning to prevent similar conduct among others in the future.
It is essential to speak with a skilled attorney who can help determine the amount of damages. In many instances, a surviving spouse and children need to recover monetary damages to survive financially, especially when the victim was the primary income earner for his or her family. Plaintiffs should be wary of demanding an amount of compensation that is too low and does not fully account for the victim’s loss of income.
At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, we work with economic experts and software that helps us accurately calculate the total damage amount to which our clients are entitled. When determining the lost earning capacity of the deceased person’s loss, the calculation should include the following information:
- Income level
- Education level
- Life expectancy
- Adjustment for inflation
Contact our South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Losing a loved one in an accident is never easy for surviving family members. Focusing on seeking compensation can seem overwhelming to grieving families who have suffered a loss. Nonetheless, executors have three years to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. Surviving family members of a loved one who died as a result of another person’s negligent or intentional act should act quickly. These lawsuits require significant preparation, including conducting an investigation and gathering evidence.
At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, our skilled wrongful death attorneys know how to fight assertively for our clients. For decades, our experienced attorneys have helped many South Carolina clients receive compensation. Contact our Myrtle Beach law firm today to schedule your initial consultation and discuss how we can help your family recover just compensation.