The death of anyone is a tragic occurrence. Deaths can be even more tragic when someone dies suddenly. It is a sad reality that many deaths could have been prevented if the proper precautions had been taken. In South Carolina, many deaths occur simply because another individual was acting recklessly or negligently. If an individual is acting reckless or negligently and causes another individual to die, the victim’s family members may have a cause of action known as wrongful death.
What is a wrongful death under South Carolina law?
A wrongful death is one that occurs due the wrongful act, neglect or default of another individual. The action that causes someone to die must be the same type of action for which a personal injury claim could have been filed by the victim if they had survived the accident. A wrongful death case is similar to a personal injury action, except the party who was injured can’t bring an action on their own behalf, because they are dead.
Who can file a wrongful death action in South Carolina?
A wrongful death action needs to be filed by someone known as an executor or administrator. This person is normally named in a will or other document known as an estate plan, prepared before the victim dies. Generally, a will or an estate plan will name an executor or an administrator. If there is no will or similar document, generally a court will appoint an executor or an administrator. Although the executor or administrator is the one that actually files the claim, it is as if the claim is brought from the perspective of the person who died.
What types of damages are available in a wrongful death claim?
Families of victims in wrongful death cases are compensated primarily in money damages. They may be awarded things like funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, claims for loss of the victim’s companionship and lost wages. If whatever act caused the death was intentional, the family may also be able to get punitive damages.
How long do I have to file a claim for the wrongful death?
Consulting a lawyer is often far from the minds of the family members after the death of a loved one. However, it is important to act quickly, because like many other legal cases, wrongful death claims have a statute of limitations. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is three years from the date of the death. If a claim is not filed within three years, the family will not be able to have a court hear the claim.
How can a Columbia SC injury attorney help?
If a loved one has died in an accident, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can help you with your claim. The attorneys at the Solomon Law Group will work hard to help you achieve a legal conclusion that is in your family’s best interest. Contact us today for a free consultation.