4 FAQs About Putting Together a Wrongful Death Claim

June 13, 2023
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Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to the death of a person caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another. When a person dies as a result of the wrongful conduct of another, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The heirs may also have a survival cause of action.

If you think your family might have grounds for such a suit, here’s what you should know before proceeding:

1. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In South Carolina, the surviving family members of the victim may be entitled to compensation following a wrongful death. Potentially eligible parties include:

  • The spouse of the deceased,
  • The children of the deceased,
  • The parents of the deceased, and
  • The heirs of the deceased.

However, only the executor or administrator of the estate can actually bring the action. They must do so on behalf of any and all entitled beneficiaries. If the case proves successful, the plaintiff will then divide the resulting compensation among the eligible recipients according to statute.

2. What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The damages that can be included in a wrongful death claim depend on the facts of the case. Some of the most common losses that are recovered include:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Attendant services,
  • Funeral and burial costs,
  • Loss of companionship and protection,
  • Mental anguish suffered by the surviving loved ones, and
  • Lost income and benefits the deceased contributed to the household.

It’s imperative to keep detailed records of all losses incurred since you’re going to have to prove you actually suffered them. That means preserving all the receipts, invoices, and other documentation associated with the monetary damages. It also means keeping a detailed journal—and encouraging your loved ones to do the same—so you can demonstrate the extent of your non-monetary damages when the time comes.

3. What is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina is three years. This means that the surviving family members must file their lawsuit within three years of the date of death. Should they attempt to bring a case after this deadline has passed, the judge will likely dismiss it. The statute may be shorter depending on whether the wrongdoer is a governmental or public entity. There needs to be a certificate of appointment issued to the personal representative of the estate prior to the lawsuit being filed as well, so act promptly and diligently.

4. What are the Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney?

There are many benefits of hiring an attorney to help with your wrongful death lawsuit. A seasoned professional can:

  • Explain your legal rights and options,
  • Gather the necessary evidence,
  • Exchange discovery,
  • Depose witnesses,
  • Correspond with the opposing party,
  • Negotiate a settlement, and
  • Go to trial if settling proves impossible.

Discuss Your Case with a Wrongful Death Attorney in South Carolina

If you want to take action over a loved one’s premature passing, turn to Hodge & Langley Law Firm. We’ll conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal accident and help your family determine how best to proceed. Call 864-585-3873 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a wrongful death lawyer in South Carolina.



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