Dealing with the loss of a family member is difficult, particularly when the decedent (deceased person) died due to someone else’s negligence. If your family member is the victim of a wrongful death in Columbia, SC, seek out legal help. By partnering with a Columbia personal injury lawyer, you can request compensation from anyone who contributed to your family member’s death.
At the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we can teach you everything that you need to know about personal injury lawsuits and other types of legal claims. We can also put you in touch with a Columbia wrongful death lawyer who can help you seek damages from anyone responsible for the loss of your family member. To learn more, please reach out to us.
What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Claims in Columbia
A wrongful death happens when an individual or entity acts irresponsibly or recklessly. This type of death could and should have been avoided. There are reasons why a death that is wrongful happens, including:
It is a healthcare provider’s responsibility to provide a high standard of care. If a medical professional is negligent, they violate this standard. As such, a healthcare professional can face a medical malpractice lawsuit from the family of a victim who was killed due to this professional’s negligence.
Your family member can get into an auto accident due to no fault of their own. The accident can cause your loved one to suffer an injury that proves to be fatal. In this scenario, you can submit a car accident claim against the driver responsible for the crash.
If a family member is working and suffers a fatal on-the-job injury, you may be able to sue their employer for damages. To do so, you must file a claim against your loved one’s employer. A Columbia wrongful death attorney can help you submit your claim and request the most compensation possible.
Slip and Fall Accident
Your family member can slip, fall, and get hurt on someone else’s property. The injury can be catastrophic and, ultimately, lead to your loved one’s death. In this situation, you can partner with a wrongful death lawyer in Columbia, and they can help you seek compensation as part of a premises liability claim.
If your family member rides their bike and gets hit by a speeding motorist, they can die. You cannot change the fact that your loved one was killed. However, a wrongful death attorney in Columbia can work with you to pursue damages from the driver responsible for your loved one’s bicycle accident.
A negligent trucker may choose not to follow the rules of the road. When they do, this trucker can crash into a motorist and kill this individual. If your family member is killed in a truck accident, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver, their employer, or both.
Nursing Home Abuse
Your family member may die due to abuse while they live in a nursing home. If you find out that nursing home staff abused your relative, you may be eligible for compensation. At this point, you can file a nursing home abuse lawsuit against the facility, its staff, and any other at-fault parties.
At the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we take on medical malpractice cases for these reasons and many others. Our team can take a look at your case and help you decide if now is the right time to file a lawsuit. For more information, please get in touch with us.
How a Columbia Wrongful Death Case Works
In a recent study conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC), researchers found that preventable injury-related deaths make up almost 70% of all deaths in South Carolina. A wrongful death lawsuit is a serious ordeal. If you have the right attorney at your side, you can get the help you need to navigate the legal process with precision and care.
Your lawyer can evaluate your case and help you weigh the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit. They will ask you questions about the death of your relative. Your attorney can also explain what can happen when you submit a request for compensation.
If you decide to move forward with a claim, it can take months or years to resolve your lawsuit. Regardless, your attorney advocates for you and represents your best interests. They will make sure that you are put in the best position to secure the compensation that you deserve.
When to File a Columbia Wrongful Death Claim
South Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits. In accordance with this statute, you have up to three years from the date of your family member’s death to file your claim. If you do not submit your lawsuit within this window, you cannot do so at a later time.
Your lawyer will make sure that you do not have to wait too long to file your lawsuit. As soon as your claim is submitted, your attorney will work with you to build your argument. They will look for evidence to support your claim and witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
If you decide against submitting a wrongful death lawsuit, you are solely responsible for any costs relating to your loved one’s death. On the other hand, filing a lawsuit can help you secure compensation from anyone who caused your loved one to die. The lawsuit may even allow you to get tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
You cannot file a wrongful death claim directly if your family member dies due to someone else’s negligence, per South Carolina laws. Instead, you are required to have a personal executor or administrator submit your claim. You can work with this executor or administrator to ensure your claim is handled properly.
Those who can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina include a decedent’s spouse, kids, and parents. Along with these people, the decedent’s heirs can request damages if this individual has no surviving spouse, children, or parents. No matter who submits a claim, they must be able to show that the defendant was negligent.
Your attorney can work with you to craft an argument that shows the defendant in your case had a duty of care to your relative, violated this duty, and caused your loved one’s death. They will gather and examine evidence with you. Your lawyer will also search for witnesses who can provide insights into the death of your loved one.
Mistakes to Avoid with Your Wrongful Death Claim
You can file a wrongful death lawsuit and expect to receive a large amount of compensation. If you are not careful, you risk mistakes that can compromise your case. Common mistakes that plaintiffs make in wrongful death lawsuits include:
Getting into Arguments with Family Members
Fighting within a family can put your lawsuit in danger. If you intend to submit a wrongful death claim, consult with family members before doing so. You can even have several members of your family attend a consultation with an attorney to discuss your case and address any concerns about it.
Posting Content on Social Media About Your Family Member’s Death
If you want to publish content on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), or other social media platforms about your family member’s death, be careful. Any content that you post about your loved one’s death may be used against you. When in doubt about posting certain pieces of content, avoid publishing this content altogether.
Talking to an Insurance Company
An insurance company may urge you to accept a lowball settlement offer relating to your loved one’s death. Rather than accept a settlement shortly after your family member dies, consider your options. Remember, you can connect with an attorney, and they can help you evaluate all aspects of a settlement proposal.
These mistakes and many others can cause you to miss out on an opportunity to secure compensation from anyone involved in your relative’s death. Fortunately, an attorney can help you avoid these problems. Your lawyer can discuss your case and help you figure out how to get as much compensation as you can.
How Much Money You Can Get in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In most wrongful death lawsuits, there is no cap on economic and non-economic damages. The exception lies in medical malpractice claims. In these cases, a plaintiff can receive up to $350,000 in non-economic compensation from a single medical provider or $1.05 million in this type of compensation from multiple medical providers.
You can ask for both economic and non-economic compensation. Economic damages are awarded for lost wages and other quantifiable losses. Non-economic compensation is provided for suffering, pain, and other subjective losses.
A judge or jury may award punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Punitive damages are provided to deter an at-fault party from future acts of negligence. There is a limit of $500,000 or three times the amount of “actual” damages awarded (whichever amount is greater) for punitive damages.
How Much Time You Need to Resolve a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The length of time required for a wrongful death lawsuit depends on the case. A defendant may do everything they can to avoid having to pay you compensation. Conversely, if you have a compelling case, the defendant may be inclined to settle.
You may get a settlement proposal at any time prior to your trial. If you receive a settlement offer, it is beneficial to review it with your attorney. Then, you and your lawyer can analyze a proposal and determine if it provides you with an adequate amount of compensation.
There is no reason to approve a settlement offer unless it matches your expectations. If a settlement proposal falls short of what you want, decline it. Next, you and your attorney continue to work together to strengthen your case.
How a Judge or Jury Evaluates a Wrongful Death Case
A judge or jury treats every lawsuit as its own entity. They will review your claim and all of the information provided by you and the defendant. If your argument is compelling, they will award you the damages that you request.
You should not take your case for granted, as there is no guarantee that a judge or jury will share your point of view. A judge or jury evaluates evidence, witness testimony, and other information as it makes a decision about your claim. They will determine your settlement amount and award you compensation only if they believe it is warranted.
The attorney that you hire has far-flung effects on your litigation. If you choose an attorney who has an outstanding track record in wrongful death lawsuits, you are in good shape. This lawyer will commit the time, energy, and resources required to help you get the maximum amount of compensation.
Why You Should Hire a Columbia Wrongful Death Attorney
Your family member’s constitutional rights can be violated to the point where they lose their life due to someone else’s negligence. It can be challenging to submit a lawsuit against the party responsible for your loved one’s death. Yet, doing so can help you get compensation that you can use to rebound from the loss of your loved one.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, you can collect compensation to cover your family member’s funeral expenses, medical bills, and other costs relating to their death. Your lawyer will help you calculate the damages associated with the loss of your loved one. They understand your case and all that it entails and prepare your argument accordingly.
As your lawsuit progresses, your attorney is available to answer frequently asked questions and many others about a wide range of legal topics. Your lawyer wants you to make informed decisions throughout your litigation. They are at your side every step of the way to ensure that you get the legal help that you need, exactly when you need it.
Get Help with Your Columbia Wrongful Death Claim
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm has many years of experience with wrongful death lawsuits. Our team can help you file your lawsuit and build an argument that resonates with a judge or jury. To find out more or schedule a free consultation, please contact us today.