Wrongful death can’t be filed by just anyone. Normally, when a person is injured in an accident, they can file a claim against the person who hurt them. If you are involved in a car accident, you would file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company. If you experienced a slip and fall in the grocery store, you would sue the property owner. But what happens when an accident victim’s injuries are so severe that they don’t survive? Is the defendant off the hook? Or can a Greenville wrongful death lawyer file a wrongful death suit against the culprit?
In South Carolina, only certain people have standing to file a wrongful death suit. Here, we’ll explain who is entitled to file a wrongful deal suit against a third party. We will also discuss what kinds of damages the plaintiff in a wrongful death case can demand. If you’ve recently lost a loved one to any sort of accident, give us a call. Let us handle the legal side of things so you and your family can properly grieve the loss of your loved one.
If you have any questions after reading this article, feel free to give us a call. We can always schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone.
What Exactly is a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case is just like any other personal injury case in South Carolina. The only difference is that the person who would normally sue for damages is deceased. Rather than let the defendant get away with what they did, the courts allow certain people to file their own lawsuit.
A wrongful death lawsuit is directed and targeted on the people who are responsible for your loved one’s death. What follows are a few examples of accidents that give rise to a wrongful death claim.
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Dangerous drugs and other products
In these cases, the person who files for wrongful death is almost stepping into the shoes of the decedent.
Who is Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina?
Every state has its own wrongful death statute. These statutes indicate who has the right to sue for wrongful death. In South Carolina, the law limits the people who can sue for wrongful death on behalf of their loved one:
- Spouse and children
- If there are no surviving spouse or children, then the deceased’s parents can sue
- The siblings of the victim can sue if there are no parents alive and willing to pursue the matter
Keep in mind – none of these people can actually sue in their own name for wrongful death. They are suing in place of their loved one who didn’t get the chance to sue the defendant for damages.
What Damages Can Your Greenville Wrongful Death Lawyer Demand?
If you’re wondering what kind of damages you can demand in a wrongful death claim, you’re not alone. Most of our clients have no idea what they can demand. This is because most people never have to deal with something like this.
The courts in South Carolina allow you to demand the following types of damages:
- Damages for grief and suffering
- Mental anguish associated with your loss
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of your loved one’s contribution to the household
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium (for spouse only)
Of course, these damages represent the most common types of damages in a wrongful death case. Since every case is different, they may be other damages awarded. Once your personal injury attorney in Greenville has a chance to review your case, they’ll have a much better idea of what kinds of damages you’re entitled to.
The Executor of Your Loved One’s Estate Must Be the One to File Suit
One of things that frustrate our clients is that they aren’t allowed to file suit on their own. According to South Carolina’s law, the only person who can file the lawsuit against the defendant is the executor of the decedent’s estate.
The reason for this is that the court doesn’t want family members fighting over who gets to be the plaintiff in these cases. If you think about it, this is the best option. The executor doesn’t care who receives damages – all they care about is that the decedent’s family gets justice for their loved ones. Since the executor will be legally required to disperse any damages received in the wrongful death case, each family member will get their pro-rata share of the settlement.
It’s important to remember that, since the executor is the one named as the plaintiff, you will not be privy to what the attorney is working on. Their main point of contact is going to be the executor. You won’t have any say in how the case is handled. Nor will you have a say in whether a settlement is accepted or rejected. You must trust that the personal injury attorney in Greenville handling the matter has your family’s best interests at heart.
Reach Out to a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney in Greenville
If you’re wondering if you have standing to file a wrongful death suit in South Carolina, contact our office. We can set up a date and time for you to come into the office. We can review your case and let you know if you’re eligible to sue the person who caused your loved one’s death. Our personal injury attorneys in Greenville have years’ worth of experience handling wrongful death cases.
We suggest that you contact our office as soon as possible after your loved one has passed away. We want you to be able to take the time to grieve and remember your loved one. At the same time, we want to get started on your claim. In South Carolina, you only have three years to file a wrongful death claim. This is because of South Carolina’s statute of limitations. We want to get the ball rolling so you can get back to living your life.
Since your initial consultation is free, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Let our seasoned Greenville wrongful death lawyers get justice for your loved one.