When someone dies in an accident in South Carolina, there are two distinct legal claims that may be made. The first, a wrongful death claim, makes up for the loss suffered by the decedent’s beneficiaries and survivors. The second, a “survival action,” continues after the person has passed away in order to recover damages for the decedent’s injuries.
As Charleston wrongful death lawyers, we have supported families whose loved ones have died in accidents. Our team of Charleston personal injury lawyers at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm understands how difficult it can be to lose a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. But we are here to help guide you through the claims process to obtain damages for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Pursuing Legal Action for Wrongful Death
An action for wrongful death is brought when a victim succumbs to the extent of their injuries and passes away. Whether death was brought on by deliberate or careless behavior, the surviving family nonetheless suffered emotionally and financially. A civil lawsuit can be brought to recover both economic and non-economic losses.
Beneficiaries of Wrongful Death Settlements
The claim is made by the personal representative on behalf of the wrongful death victim’s beneficiaries.
Only a few people are eligible to receive compensation under the South Carolina Code of Laws § 15-51-20 for wrongful deaths:
- The surviving spouse and children
- The parents, in the absence of a surviving spouse or children
- In the absence of a surviving spouse, children, or parents, the decedent’s heirs
It is crucial to realize that children born outside of marriage have the same legal rights in a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina as children born in a marriage. A Charleston wrongful death lawyer can clarify criteria of beneficiaries if additional concerns apply.
Amounts Survivors Can Recover from Wrongful Death Cases
To ensure that the family of the deceased receives beneficial financial relief and to hold the negligent party accountable, our legal team requests the highest settlement sum.
The financial strain and mental distress brought on by losing a loved one largely impacts the amount of money that you can recover. In a wrongful death case, compensation may be sought for the following damages:
Financial difficulties may occur for people who were reliant on the decedent’s income. After the death of a loved one, if certain comforts and necessities are no longer affordable, your attorney will ask for compensation that restores your life to how it was before the loss of your loved one.
Distress and Suffering
Mental trauma or health issues may result from deep grief and loss of a loved one. This can also stem from a loss of enjoyment of life and a loss of consortium. While receiving compensation won’t make your pain go away, it might enable you to access services that support families while they grieve in a healthy way.
Health Care Costs
The family might still be responsible for paying for any medical care given to the decedent before death. Even burial expenses may be sought after or recovered.
This is given under unique conditions, which our attorneys may explain during a consultation. Typically, it only applies to egregious accidents where it is necessary to set a cautionary example for others to follow in order to prevent similar irresponsibility.
When to File a Wrongful Death Claim
If your loved one passed away as a result of the unlawful act or neglectful conduct of another person, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina. It is best to file the claim immediately so that a wrongful death lawyer in Charleston can investigate and preserve evidence.
Lawsuits alleging wrongful death may result from the following situations:
- Accidents involving vehicles
- Hazardous workplaces
- Defective items
- Violence or homicide
- Accidents in nursing homes
- Medical malpractice
- Slip-and-fall occurrences
There are additional factors that can cause wrongful death. To find out if you have a claim, it is best to speak with a personal injury lawyer specializing in wrongful death cases.
Dividing Compensation for Wrongful Death Recipients in South Carolina
How funds are distributed among wrongful death beneficiaries following a lawsuit is governed by SC Code of Laws § 15-51-40. It distributes each beneficiary’s portion in accordance with South Carolina’s statutes of intestate succession, which dictate how an estate would be divided in the event that a person passes away without leaving a will.
The spouse would receive half the settlement, and the other half would be divided evenly among the children. If the victim passed away without any children, the entire compensation would go to the victim’s spouse. The wrongful death settlement payment would be split equally among the surviving parents if the victim didn’t have a spouse.
Compassionate Legal Help for Families of Wrongful Death Victims
Anyone who believes they may have a wrongful death claim is eligible for a free consultation at The Shelly Leeke Law Firm. Contact us today, you will be met with compassionate legal assistance from a Charleston wrongful death attorney whenever you feel ready to pursue justice for your loved one.
It is noteworthy that South Carolina only gives you three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek damages. To align with moving forward, act quickly to protect your future and valuable rights. You deserve healing and restitution, and we can help.