More than 36,000 people died from car accident-related injuries in 2019. This figure accounts for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists and illustrates the alarming frequency with which traffic fatalities occur.
If you lost a loved one in a motor-vehicle collision, your family may be entitled to compensation for the resulting damages. Read on to learn the answers to a few FAQs about pursuing a recovery in such a scenario:
1. Who Could Be Liable for My Loved One’s Death?
There are a number of parties that could be responsible for your loved one’s passing. Examples include:
- The other motorist or motorists who were involved;
- A vehicle or parts manufacturer;
- A motor carrier; and/or
- The government agency responsible for designing or maintaining the roads where the incident occurred.
Your legal team will perform a thorough investigation to identify all potentially liable parties. If multiple parties are to blame, taking action against all of them may be strategically advisable.
2. Who Can Bring the Action on Behalf of My Family?
In South Carolina, a wrongful death suit can only be brought by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. If the deceased failed to draft a will prior to passing and therefore never assigned the role—or the named party is unwilling or unable to settle the estate—the court will appoint a personal representative.
This party may file a wrongful death suit on behalf of eligible beneficiaries including the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, parents, and rightful heirs. If the case is successful, it could yield compensation for:
- Funeral and burial costs;
- Lost income and benefits;
- Loss of companionship, care, and protection; and
- Mental anguish suffered by surviving family members.
If the circumstances surrounding the crash demonstrate malice, ill will, or a reckless disregard for the victim’s life on the part of the liable party, it may also be possible to collect a punitive award.
3. How Can My Family Strengthen Our Wrongful Death Case?
There are several steps your family can take from day one to give your wrongful death case the best chance of success. Such steps include:
- Staying off social media for as long as the case is pending;
- Saving relevant documentation of damages;
- Consulting an attorney promptly so your legal team can gather time-sensitive evidence while it’s still available; and
- Referring all corresponding from the opposing party to your lawyer.
Depending on the circumstances, there may be other ways to strengthen your claim even more. A seasoned attorney will share any such strategies after evaluating your case in a free consultation.
Discuss Your Case with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Spartanburg, SC
To find out if your family has grounds for a wrongful death claim, turn to Hodge & Langley Law Firm. Our compassionate team understands the emotional and financial toll that an unanticipated death can take on the whole family. Call 864-585-3873 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney in Spartanburg.