If someone that you love has been killed due to a vehicle accident, medical malpractice, slip and falls, or any other incident caused by someone’s wrongdoing or negligence, you or your family may be eligible to file for compensation in a wrongful death claim. Our Easley wrongful death lawyers at Hernandez & Cabra can see if you’re eligible to file a claim today and help you navigate the court system.
You have three years from the death to file to file a wrongful death claim in South Carolina, but wrongful death claims against a government defendant must be made within two years. The sooner you file, the sooner you can begin receiving compensation for a loved one’s death. Don’t risk losing out on the compensation that you deserve. Call our Easley personal injury attorneys today at 864-501-4384 and let’s get started on your claim today.
How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of South Carolina?
In the state of South Carolina, wrongful death is defined by statute Section 15-51-10 through 60. This statute allows for a lawsuit to be brought forward on behalf of the decedent’s spouse and children should a family member die due to the deliberate, negligent, or reckless action or actions of another.
Wrongful death includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Criminal actions
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Faulty construction
- Nursing home abuse and or neglect
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Food contamination in commercial establishments
- Pedestrian accidents
- Improper or illegal alcohol services (bartender continues to serve visibly intoxicated persons)
- Other cases of negligence lead to that death
In the State of South Carolina Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the state of South Carolina, only the executor or administrator of the estate is allowed to file a wrongful death claim. The executor or administrator of the estate will then distribute the funds in accordance with the estate and the state laws. Administrators or executors are the person or institution that carries out the terms of the decedent’s will or, if there is no will, distributes the property per South Carolina’s probate laws. Our Easley wrongful death lawyers can help you to determine if you have the potential for a wrongful death claim that can be filed in the state of South Carolina.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable?
Damages that are awarded in the state of South Carolina are the jury’s attempt to compensate the family for current and potential future financial and emotional costs to the family of the decedent. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Medical bills
- Funeral costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages (including future earnings)
- Lost benefits
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of support
- Punitive damages
Medical bills and funeral costs are the least challenging to calculate. The amounts are totaled by the sums that are incurred (regardless of insurance payments). Medical bills will also include any medications as well as life-saving measures that are used on the decedent. It’s important to keep copies of all of the medical treatments that have been done as well as any copies that are given to the family for court purposes.
Lost earnings and future earnings are a bit more challenging to calculate and will require the determination of the anticipated lifespan and the decedent’s earnings as well as whether or not the decedent would have earned a higher income in the future. This will be dependent upon what the job or job skills of the decedent were and their position.
Pain and suffering as well as loss of companionship and support, mental anguish are the most challenging compensation to calculate. These damages are subjective and unique to each situation. If the decedent supported an entire family, this will be taken into consideration by the courts.
Damages will be divided among the spouse, living children, parents, or other heirs in accordance should the person die without a will.
Can the Surviving Family File for Punitive Damages?
In the state of South Carolina, only the executor or the administrator of the estate can file a wrongful death claim. They will then distribute the compensation accordingly.
If the conduct that caused the death was deliberate or reckless, the court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the family, but instead to punish the wrongdoing.
How is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
Losing a loved one is always tragic. When it’s negligence that caused the death, it must be proven that the victim died due to another’s negligence. To prove this negligence, the courts must see the evidence that duty of care was not taken to ensure the person remained safe.
Everyone is expected to act in a responsible and reasonable manner. Drivers are expected to obey the laws, go the speed limit, not drive intoxicated, etc. When failure to do these things results in wrongful death, a wrongful death case may be filed. Other examples would be the failure of a business or facility to ensure the safety of the patrons thus leading to the patron’s demise.
After duty of care, it must be proven that the duty of care was breached. It will have to be proven how the defendant breached their duty of care. It could be via a specific action or a lack of action thus resulting in the death of the decedent.
Causation is the final step wherein the plaintiff will have to prove that the death was a result of the defendant’s actions or lack of action and not from any other cause. Our Easley wrongful death lawyers at Hernandez & Cabra have the experience to navigate the courts in a wrongful death claim. Give us a call at 864-501-4384 and let us help you navigate the court systems in your wrongful death claim.
How Do You Begin a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina?
At Hernandez & Cabra, we file wrongful death claims for our clients in Easley and the Upstate of South Carolina. Give us a call today and let us help you determine if you have a wrongful death claim. Give us a call at 864-501-4384 and we’ll review your situation and go over your case to help you determine if you have a claim.
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim in South Carolina?
A wrongful death lawsuit can consist of two different claims:
- A Wrongful Death Claim
- A Survival Action (Estate Claim)
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit against the negligent party that can be held liable for their actions or inaction that led to the person’s death. In such cases, the law in South Carolina specifies that the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate will bring the wrongful death claim.
An estate claim, which is also known as a survival action in South Carolina allows for the decedent’s estate to file a lawsuit for the injuries or damages the deceased suffered immediately prior to passing away. Under an estate claim, the surviving family is essentially filing a lawsuit for damages the deceased would have pursued if they had lived.
Estate claims are usually filed at the same time as wrongful death claims, but these 2 courses of action have 3 key differences that are outlined below:
Circumstances When the Action Can Be Brought
Estate claims can only be brought if the decedent survived for a period of time after the negligent act that caused the death. A wrongful death claim, on the other hand, can be brought even if the deceased died instantly.
Purpose of the Action
Estate claims are typically brought to seek damages incurred by the decedent between the negligent act and the person’s death. A wrongful death claim, on the other hand, is brought to compensate the surviving loved ones for losses suffered as a result of the death.
Damages That Might Be Available
Wrongful death claims typically allow surviving family members to recover compensation for:
- Medical bills incurred by the deceased
- The mental anguish of the family
- Pain and suffering of the family
- Lost benefits of the deceased
- Lost wages, including future earnings
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship, consortium, and support.
Estate claims typically seek compensation for the following:
- The emotional distress that the deceased suffered prior to their death.
- Medical expenses that the deceased incurred prior to their death.
- Funeral expenses if they aren’t already covered in the wrongful death claim.
Contact Our Easley Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you have lost a loved one through the wrongdoing or negligence of another party, we understand that there’s no amount of money that can ever be enough to compensate you for your loss, but a wrongful death claim can help ease the financial strain associated with the loss.
You deserve compensation for your loss and the sooner you file the sooner you can begin receiving compensation. Don’t leave this to chance and don’t miss out on compensation that you may be due. Give us a call today at 864-501-4384 to schedule a free consultation. Our wrongful death lawyers at Hernandez & Cabra will help you to navigate the court system.