South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney
What to do when a loved one dies from someone else's negligence in South Carolina?
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South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one because of the neglect or carelessness of another, the experienced and compassionate South Carolina wrongful death lawyer at Keibler Law Group can help. We understand that no amount of money can compare or replace the loss of a loved one; a wrongful death claim helps alleviate the financial burden a death often causes such as lack of a second income, lack of companionship, and the pain and suffering both you and your loved one faced.
Having a South Carolina wrongful death lawyer by your side will also help ensure wrongdoers are held accountable in order to prevent similar future tragedies.
If you have questions about a potential wrongful death claim in South Carolina, we invite you to call us for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced South Carolina wrongful death lawyer.
What is Wrongful Death in South Carolina?
A wrongful death in South Carolina is defined in Section 15-51-10 through 60 as the death of a person that is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default and such person would have had a personal injury claim against the responsible party if that person would have lived.
The primary purposes of a South Carolina wrongful death claim are 1) to provide compensation to those who lost a loved one and 2) to deter future wrongful conduct by holding the responsible party accountable. To say it differently, a wrongful death claim can protect others from similar tragedies, which is important to many people who lost a loved on because of someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence.
Wrongful death claims can also help recover funds to pay for medical bills, funeral expenses, and to help make up for the lost wages and benefits previously provided by your deceased loved one.
What is a Survival Action in South Carolina?
A survival action is a separate action than a wrongful death action. If the decedent survived for an amount of time between the negligent action and their death, the estate may be able to bring a separate survival action to recover damages suffered by the decedent before their death, such as lost wages, conscious pain and suffering, and medical expenses (if not already recovered in the wrongful death action).
A wrongful death action seeks to compensate the decedent’s family, while a survival action seeks compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering between the injury and their death.
Who is entitled to receive compensation from a South Carolina Wrongful Death claim?
If a wrongful death settlement is reached or if damages are awarded by a jury verdict following a wrongful death lawsuit, there are several categories of people who have a potential right to receive some of the settlement. Those people who have a potential right to receive compensation are called beneficiaries. South Carolina wrongful death and probate law provides that the following people may be entitled to compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one:
- The surviving spouse
- Children, including adopted children and stepchildren
- Parents of the deceased
- Brothers and sisters
- And any persons who were financially dependent upon the decedent at the time of his or her death
- or anyone who would otherwise be equitably entitled to share in such distribution
If you are able, we recommend keeping a journal or daily log after a loved one passes away. Journals help you remember what you may have felt at the time of their accident, help you recall details, feelings, your surroundings, and possible struggles you are facing since your loved on passed away. A journal can be in many forms – it can be handwritten, typed, spoken on your phone, video recorded. Journals can also help with mental health and grief after a loved one dies.
How is money divided in a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina?
How the compensation is distributed among beneficiaries depends on many factors. South Carolina Code Section 15-51-40 controls how the money is divided among wrongful death beneficiaries after a lawsuit. It gives the same share they would have been granted by South Carolina’s laws of intestate succession – or how a person’s estate is distributed if they died without a will.
If the case is filed on behalf of a deceased’s spouse and their children, the spouse would receive half of the money and the other half would be divided by the children equally. If the spouse survived without any children, then 100% of the settlement or verdict would go to the surviving spouse.
If the deceased has no spouse or children (or the deceased was a child), then the money would go to the next beneficiary in the South Carolina intestate laws – this is the individual’s parents. There is a possible exception to an even share split in the event a child dies and parents split the compensation.
Having skilled, compassionate attorneys on your side can help you recover full and fair compensation and help ensure the compensation is distributed fairly.
If you or a loved is a potential beneficiary to a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, we invite you to call one of our experienced wrongful death lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation.
Who can sue for a Wrongful Death in South Carolina?
Under South Carolina law, the executor or administrator of the deceased person must file the wrongful death case. An administrator or executor is a person or institution that carries out the terms of the deceased’s will or, if there is no will, distributes the deceased estate according to South Carolina’s probate laws.
Who gets money in a Survival Action in South Carolina?
Recall a survival action is different than a wrongful death action and is in fact a separate claim. The proceeds from a survival action are distributed based on the decedent’s will. If they do not have a will, the proceeds from a verdict or settlement in a survival action will be distributed in the intestate succession laws.
What is the statute of limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina?
Three years. In South Carolina, the general rule is a representative of the estate must file a wrongful death action within three years. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, including exceptions that may expand the amount of time you have to file a claim.
That said, if you miss this deadline, called the statute of limitations, your legal rights related to the wrongful death of your loved one may be barred forever. It is important to talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the loss of a loved one to gather evidence and not miss this deadline.
If you are suing a government entity, the South Carolina Tort Claims Act applies and you must bring a lawsuit within two years of the injury.
Common causes of Wrongful Death cases in South Carolina
In South Carolina, car accidents and truck accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death. Work accidents and falls are also a common cause. Some other common types of wrongful death cases that West Law Firm helps families with include:
- Truck accidents
- Car accidents
- Work place injuries
- Medical negligence
- Drunk driving crashes
- Construction accidents
- Asbestos mesothelioma claims
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Motorcycle accidents
- Product liability
How much is a Wrongful Death case worth in South Carolina?
Every case is different and, therefore, it depends. However, if you hire an experienced and creative attorney like Keibler Law Group, they can rely on top resources, experts, and technologies to convince a jury, the court, and opposing counsel to pay more.
No one can determine how much any case is worth without first analyzing the facts. However, there are certain factors you can use to make an approximate estimation of your claim.
Under the South Carolina Wrongful Death Statute, family members may recover compensation for a variety of losses including but not limited to the following:
- Compensation for loss of financial support or expected income
- Compensation for loss of services, protection, care, and assistance provided by the decedent
- Medical expenses for the decedent prior to their death (see Survival Action above).
- Loss of parental support
- Loss of affection
- Medical costs,
- Final expenses such as funeral and burial costs,
- Reasonable funeral expenses
- Punitive damages
If the decedent survived for an amount of time between the negligent action and their death, the estate may be able to bring a separate Survival Action to recover damages suffered by the decedent before their death, such as lost wages, conscious pain and suffering, and medical expenses (if not already recovered in the wrongful death action). The proceeds from a survival action are distributed based on the decedent’s will. If they do not have a will, the proceeds from a verdict or settlement in a survival action will be distributed in the intestate succession laws.
Why file a Wrongful Death Case in South Carolina?
An unexpected loss of a loved one can cause a family extreme financial hardship. A wrongful death claims can at least help reduce this financial hardship. Also, as mentioned above, a wrongful death claim can also help prevent similar tragedies in the future by holding wrongdoers financially accountable, which will help deter future reckless behavior.