The loss of a loved one, whether expected or sudden, is a tragic event. Family members should have time to grieve and remember their loved one fondly; however, if the loss was caused by the negligence of someone else, coping can be even more difficult. Along with grief, anger and confusion are probably persistent emotions.
If you think your loved one’s death happened because of something someone else did, you may be able to seek justice and financial compensation. If you choose to file a wrongful death claim in South Carolina, it’s important to understand how the laws work so you can receive the compensation you deserve to ease any financial burdens you’re experiencing.
Wrongful Death in South Carolina
South Carolina law 15-51-10 defines wrongful death as a death that was caused by the “wrongful, neglect, or default” action of another person. If the deceased had survived, they would have been able to file a personal injury claim.
Filing a Wrong Death Claim in South Carolina
A wrongful death claim must be filed by the executor of the deceased person’s estate. If a person was not deemed executor prior to the death, the court has the authority to name one. The executor brings the wrongful death claim to court on behalf of the surviving family.
Of the surviving family, the following individuals can recover damages in South Carolina: the spouse and children, the parents – if there’s no spouse or children, or the heirs at law – if there are no parents, spouse or children.
Statutes of Limitations for Wrongful Death in South Carolina
In the event of a wrongful death, South Carolina says the executor has three years from the time of death to file a lawsuit. If the claim is not filed within the time limit, the case will not be heard by any court.
In some circumstances, there may be up to six years of time to file if the wrongful death was a result of medical malpractice.
Wrongful Death Damages
Wrongful death liability is expressed in financial compensation. Those eligible for compensation may receive money for funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses related to the injury that caused the death, or lost wages and benefits that the deceased person would have earned.
Compensation may also be awarded for the loss of the deceased person’s knowledge, experience, companionship, or protection.
If it is found that the wrongful death was deliberate, the court may choose to award punitive damages. These are not awarded to compensate the family for the death. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the liable party and discourage others from taking similar actions.
Seeking Legal Guidance with Solomon Law Group
Wrongful death lawsuits are among the most complicated legal battles. You’ll need a knowledgeable attorney at your side to convince a judge or jury that your loved one’s death could have been prevented. Contact our Columbia wrongful death lawyer today to find out about settling your case quickly, so you can focus on what matters most.