Wrongful death liability falls under the laws of personal injury. Personal injury lawsuits seek redress for injury caused by the negligence of another. Wrongful death cases, similarly, seek redress for death caused by the negligence of another. Both areas of the law are governed under similar principles and understanding your rights if you or anyone you know has been injured or killed due to the negligence, carelessness, or reckless of another is paramount in seeking compensation for loss.
Personal Injury Versus Wrongful Death: A Difference in Compensation
The main difference between personal liability cases and wrongful death cases is who receives the compensation and what types of compensation is available after an accident. In personal injury actions, the compensation from the lawsuit is designed to pay back the injured party for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, and time missed from work. On the other hand, wrongful death actions seek to compensate the survivors. There is no possibility of compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent, but the loss consortium (love and intimacy) and financial support are often recoverable in these actions. Since the decedent is not alive to bring the legal claim, the claims are carried out by the decedent’s “estate,” those that have rights to his or her compensation and legacy, most often spouses or children. These individuals file a lawsuit on behalf of the decedent and it is the estate that will receive any monetary recovery that comes as a result of the lawsuit.
Wrongful death actions in South Carolina
With regards to the estate, South Carolina specifically requires that all such actions be brought “by or in the name of the executor or administrator of [the decedent].” An executor is the individual named in a will to govern the affairs of the estate, and an administrator is appointed when no will exists. The legal effect is essentially the same, and the lawsuit can be carried out by this third party. South Carolina law enumerates an entire section of its civil code to “death by wrongful act.” This law protects the legacy of the deceased and can provide an opportunity to provide compensation to the survivors of a catastrophic event. The provision further governs who can receive the benefits, or “damages,” as monetary compensation is called in legal terms. Wrongful death cases are unique in that it is not the injured party themselves that receives the benefit of the legal action.
Wrongful Death Claims in South Carolina
When someone we love dies because of another person or entity, it can seem impossible to move forward with our own lives. We may be faced with loneliness, emotional instability, and financial problems. While no remedy can truly bring back what you have lost, under South Carolina law, in certain circumstances you may have a right to compensation for the financial losses and emotional trauma you and your family have suffered. Our knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys at Solomon Law Group have the experience necessary to advocate tirelessly on your family’s behalf and ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to by law. Contact our Columbia, South Carolina office today about your legal rights following a catastrophic accident.