To lose a loved one is heartbreaking. To lose someone you love through the negligence of another is even more devastating. A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit you file on behalf of a loved one who tragically died due to the wrongful actions or inactions of an individual, company, or group. If you’ve experienced the heartbreak of loss and feel your loved one deserves justice for an accident that should have been prevented, a Columbia wrongful death lawyer may be able to help.
When you contact The Solomon Law Group, you’ll be able to speak to a caring, compassionate attorney who understands what you’re going through and how you may be able to obtain justice for your loved one. Death is an excruciating experience—one you shouldn’t have to suffer through while knowing your loved one’s death could have been prevented. Our South Carolina law firm is committed to making reckless, careless, or otherwise negligent people and businesses pay for their wrongdoings.
Determining If You Have a Potential Wrongful Death Case
If you’re thinking about filing a wrongful death claim, the first step will be to determine if you have a potential case. Wrongful death claims require thorough evidence and a great deal of investigation. After contacting a lawyer, they will consider the available evidence you may have to determine the eligibility of your case.
According to South Carolina state laws, wrongful death is defined as a death that was caused by the wrongful, neglect, or default action of another person. You’ll know you have a claim if, had the deceased survived, they would have been able to file a personal injury claim.
It’s important to note that you only have a period of three years from the time of your loved one’s death and/or accident to file a wrongful death claim. This is called a statute of limitations. If you don’t file within this period, you will likely render yourself ineligible for compensation.
When you speak to a wrongful death attorney regarding your case, you should be prepared to answer the following questions:
- Was the death of your loved one directly caused by the accident, incident, or act of negligence that occurred?
- Do you feel the accident or incident was caused by someone else’s reckless, careless, or wrongful actions? In other words, could an individual, group, or entity have prevented the accident or incident if they weren’t acting negligently?
- Have you and your family suffered financial losses after the passing away of your loved one? Does the loss directly correspond from a loss of income or emotional suffering caused by the premature death?
These questions from our attorneys may be difficult to answer, but they are crucial in determining the eligibility of your claim. If you can answer “yes” to every question, it may be possible to prove your case in court.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
Since wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits, you can file a claim against a guilty individual or group in addition to any criminal charges which may already be pending. Depending on the nature of your case, you may be able to file suit after the death of a loved one or family member in the following circumstances:
- Auto Accidents. Traffic accidents, whether involving passenger vehicles, tractor-trailers, or motorcycles, can result in the wrongful death of a victim. While there are numerous situations that can result in a deadly accident, some of the most common include distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and speeding.
- Defective Products. When you go to the store to purchase a product, you assume it will work as intended. In some instances, however, manufacturers cut corners in an attempt to save money. When this happens, it’s possible the products released could be defective. When something like a medical device doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, a person could sustain fatal injuries.
- Nursing Home Abuse. Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide residents with safe and attentive care. In the event your loved one received substandard care that resulted in fatal injuries, the negligent facility and employees should be held accountable for your loss.
- Slip and Fall Accident. Property owners are supposed to ensure their residence or place of business is safe for all visitors. When a property is neglected, cracked pavements, torn carpets, and inadequate lighting can result in someone falling. If someone slips, falls, and sustains a fatal traumatic brain injury, the family can take action.
- Medical Malpractice. Doctors are legally obligated to provide their patients with the standard of care. This means that they should practice medicine in a way that the majority of physicians in the same field would practice. When a doctor fails to do that and a patient is injured, it can be labeled malpractice. Some of the most common med mal events that result in a wrongful death are medication errors and surgical errors.
There are other situations that have the potential to result in the wrongful death of a loved one. In the event we did not discuss your family’s situation above, you may still have a valid claim. Get in touch with a wrongful death lawyer from our firm to learn more.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in South Carolina?
Every state has different laws concerning who may file a wrongful death claim against a guilty individual or group. In South Carolina, only the following family members may file on behalf of a deceased loved one:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving parents
- Surviving siblings
- Any heirs named in a will or representatives of the deceased individual’s estate
A surviving spouse or any children will generally have the priority when it comes to filing a case, followed by any surviving parents or siblings. These rules may vary from case to case, however, depending on a family’s circumstances.
If you decide to file a claim, you want to make sure it’s done properly. In order to ensure that, it’s best to work with a wrongful death lawyer. If you’re located in or around the Columbia, South Carolina area, the lawyers from The Solomon Law Group can help.
Filing a Survival Claim in South Carolina
In addition to the wrongful death claim, the personal representative has the option of bringing a lawsuit for the medical expenses and pain and suffering that the decedent experienced between their accident and death. This is only a viable option when there is evidence that the deceased person survived for an amount of time after the accident. Medical records and the death certificate can confirm this.
Individuals entitled to damages for the survival claim are the heirs to the deceased person’s will or estate. Those individuals may be different than the persons identified as being entitled to recover damages for the wrongful death claim. In some cases, creditors of the estate may be entitled to claim some or all of the proceeds of a survival claim.
Whether you’re looking to file a wrongful death claim, survival claim, or both after the unexpected passing of your loved one, a Columbia wrongful death lawyer can explain your rights and the rights of your family and guide you through the process to make it as easily digestible as possible for you during this difficult time. Now, let’s take a look at other ways a lawyer can help you when you’re looking to take legal action on behalf of a loved one who has passed.
How Can a Columbia Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me?
Wrongful death lawsuits are among the hardest type of claims to handle and they require an attorney who has extensive legal experience coupled with deep compassion for those left behind.
An experienced law firm will document the life of the person who died as the result of another’s negligence. Every minor detail of the accident or incident is important in determining the type of claim presented. Experts will calculate the loss to the family or heirs of future earnings. Medical costs, as well as funeral and administrative costs, will be included.
As the claim evolves, a good Columbia wrongful death attorney will find ways to present the life of the deceased in a way that shows the victim was a real person. This takes experience, care, and concern—and can make a difference to the judge or jury who settles your case. At The Solomon Law Group, we don’t treat you and your family like you’re a number. We know your loved one deserved better.
Recovering Losses After a Wrongful Death
Filing a claim not only holds the negligent party accountable for your loved one’s death, but your surviving family members can also collect compensation, often referred to as damages, to manage any related expenses.
Compensation for a wrongful death is typically split into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Your attorney will help you properly value your case so you can manage all accident-related expenses and ensure you have the financial means you’ll need in the future that your loved one would have provided.
Economic damages refer to those that can be calculated directly. When someone dies unexpectedly, especially after an accident, it’s likely you’ll have to contend with medical expenses, property damage costs, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages and benefits. Your lawyer will take the time needed to calculate those losses and ensure nothing is left out.
Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate because they’re based on more subjective forms of suffering. Your family could be awarded compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of guidance, and more. Factors like marriage and children have the potential to increase the noneconomic damages a family is eligible to recover.
In some instances, punitive damages could be available. Punitive damages serve to punish the negligent party for willful, wanton, or reckless conduct and discourage others from taking similar actions in the future. In regard to wrongful death, punitive damages could be available, for example, if a drunk driver was responsible for your loved one’s death.
Our wrongful death lawyers recognize that compensation won’t bring your loved one back, but it can help ease related financial burdens. When those expenses are taken care of, you can focus on spending time with your family and grieving your loss in peace.
Contact The Solomon Law Group
Losing a loved one, no matter the situation, is always devastating and it can be a challenge to move forward. When someone else causes the death, the situation can be that much harder to cope with. This is especially the case if you’re dealing with unexpected and unmanageable expenses.
If a loved one has died because of the actions or inactions of an individual or business, complete our online form to schedule a case evaluation. Get in touch a Columbia wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. You deserve the chance to move forward. We can help.