Losing a loved one unexpectedly is devastating, especially if it was because of another’s reckless behavior or negligence and could have been prevented. Family members and others left behind to grieve may also be facing a growing financial burden resulting from the loss of their loved one.
At Roden Law, our Charleston wrongful death lawyers are prepared to help, as we have done for many injury victims and their families that we have represented throughout South Carolina over the years. To date, we have obtained millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients.
Our firm’s founder, Eric Roden, is an active member of the America's Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® and has been selected to the 2020 – 2021 Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. If you suffered the wrongful death of a loved one, reach out today to arrange for your free consultation. We charge no upfront fees for our services and only get paid if you do.
When you are ready to talk: 1-844-RESULTS.
What is South Carolina’s Definition of a Wrongful Death?
In South Carolina, a wrongful death is defined as one caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another. If the deceased victim had not died, he or she could have filed a personal injury claim for damages.
A wrongful death may be the result of many types of incidents, but most commonly happens from:
- Car crashes
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Motorcycle crashes
- Nursing home abuse
- Workplace incidents
- Truck collisions
How Do I Know If I Have a Case?
Under state law, a wrongful death claim can only be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased victim’s estate. The executor or administrator is often named to carry out the terms of the deceased’s will. If there is no will or estate plan, the court may appoint an executor or administrator.
The executor or administrator files a wrongful death claim in court on behalf of the deceased victim’s loved ones. Certain family members who may be eligible to recover damages in a case include:
- The surviving spouse and any children of the deceased victim
- The surviving parents of the deceased, if there is no spouse or children
- The heirs of the deceased victim, if there is no spouse, children or parents
If a child was deemed an adult (at least 18) at the time of his or her death, the parents may still claim damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina. However, if a parent abandoned his or her child before the child turned 18, the parent will be barred from recovering any damages, regardless of the child’s age at death.
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What is the Benefit of Hiring a Lawyer?
Those with legal representation often have a greater chance at obtaining higher compensation than those who do not. With that being said, the burden of proof is on you or your lawyer to establish that negligence, wrongdoing or other reckless behavior caused your loved one’s death.
Our Charleston wrongful death lawyers know how to investigate accidents, gather supportive evidence and prove liability. We also have access to additional resources that may be required, such as accident reconstruction specialists or other industry experts.
To prove another party’s negligence in a wrongful death claim, these four elements must be established:
- The other party owed the victim a duty of care, which means he or she had a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to another.
- The other party breached that duty of care. For example, in a car accident, a citation for drunk driving may be supportive evidence that a duty of care was breached.
- There was a direct link between the breached duty of care and the victim’s injury. In other words, you must show that the victim would not have been killed if the defendant had not acted negligently.
- The injury led to damages that are the direct result of the at-fault party’s negligence.
We are fully prepared handle your case and keep you informed throughout the legal process. We are also ready to communicate with the insurance companies and other third parties on your behalf.
Get the Legal Help You Need. Ph: 1-844-RESULTS.
How Much Could My Case Be Worth?
Damages awarded in a wrongful death case attempt to compensate for the current and future financial and emotional hardships of the deceased’s family. Generally, these damages could include:
- Medical bills and expenses associated with the deceased’s final injury or illness
- Funeral, burial and/or cremation costs
- Lost wages and benefits the deceased victim contributed to the household
- Pain, suffering and mental anguish suffered by surviving family members
- Loss of the deceased victim’s care, companionship and protection
If the wrongful death was caused by another’s extreme negligence or recklessness, the court may also decide to award exemplary or punitive damages. Unlike other types of damages, punitive damages are not awarded to compensate the estate or surviving family members from losses stemming from the unexpected death. These damages are meant to punish the at-fault party and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Recovering Damages in a Survival Action
In South Carolina, filing a survival action is different from filing a wrongful death lawsuit. While a wrongful death case seeks to compensate for losses incurred after or due to a loved one’s death, a survival action compensates for losses a loved one incurred during the time between the incident and his or her death.
Damages that may be sought in a survival action by the representative of the estate include:
- Costs of any medical treatment related to the injury or illness that caused the victim’s death
- Pain and suffering which the victim experienced until his or her death
- Other related out-of-pocket costs incurred by the victim prior to death
Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death lawsuit is three years in South Carolina, and the clock starts ticking on the date of the victim’s death. However, under unique circumstances, some exceptions may apply, and you could be required to file later or significantly sooner. If you attempt to file a claim after the deadline, your case will likely be dismissed, and you will miss any opportunity to recover damages.
Our Charleston wrongful death lawyers are well-versed in federal and state laws and are prepared to help. We recommend contacting our firm as soon as possible to arrange your free case evaluation, even if you think you may have missed the deadline, to discuss your legal options.
Speak with a Charleston Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Our lawyers at Roden Law are committed to helping grieving families who have lost a loved one due to the wrongdoing or carelessness of someone else. While no amount of compensation can change what happened, recovering damages could help you and your family to move forward.
We operate on contingency, so if you have a valid case, we charge nothing up front to represent you. We do not get paid for our services unless we are successful in obtaining a settlement or verdict for you.