Losing a loved one is one of the hardest parts of life. When their death is caused by negligence or misconduct, it can feel unbearable. Your grief may seem unmanageable, but you deserve to fight for your family member’s rights.
At Shelly Leeke Law, we will help you through this difficult time. Working with a Forest Acres personal injury attorney can help you take the steps to bring justice to your family. Contact a personal injury lawyer in South Carolina today.
South Carolina Wrongful Death Statistics
According to the South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book of 2020, one fatal collision occurs every 9.1 hours. One person dies in a DUI crash every approximately 28 hours. Every seven days, a child under eight years old is seriously injured or killed in a traffic crash.
Definition of Wrongful Death
The term “wrongful death” is used when damages are brought upon a party that leads to death. This usually involves criminal activity that has failed or not attempted. Another way to describe this term is when a death is caused by wrongful, negligent, or willful act, omission, or default of another person.
A wrongful death case can be brought to court by family members or dependents on behalf of the victim.
How to File a Wrongful Death Case
The executor or administrator of the deceased individual’s estate must file for the wrongful death claim. Usually, any family member or dependent can start this process. There is a three-year statute of limitations period.
Any wrongful death claim should be pursued three years after the incident. If there are no children or spouses, the deceased person’s parents will get the compensation.
All you need to do is meet with a Forest Acres wrongful death attorney to get pointed in the right direction. As long as you have the proper evidence, your case can go smoother than you think. If you do not have proof, an attorney can help you gather each piece of information that you need to make a strong case.
How Damages Are Calculated in a Wrongful Death Case
Damages in a wrongful death case are calculated with various factors to determine the settlement amount. Usually, the financial losses will be considered by adding all the bills and receipts of the deceased person’s medical care and funeral costs. Any lost wages, timesheets, or work invoices will also be determined.
The damages are typically divided into two subcategories.
This is meant to cover the loss of the decedent’s expected earnings, benefits like medical coverage and pension plans, potential inheritance, and any goods and services the decedent would have otherwise provided.
This category is meant to cover the protection, care, physical pain, and mental anguish of the family member(s) and dependent(s).
Proving a South Carolina Wrongful Death
In a scenario where you have to fight for your family member’s justice, you need solid evidence to support your case.
The first step is to prove the defendant’s duty. For example, the machines may have been faulty if your spouse died wrongfully at a job-related incident. For example, if your spouse told you the machines are not consistently maintained, the company would be considered at fault for negligence. You need evidence to build a strong case.
Get access to all of the medical records. For example, if your spouse died after sustaining injuries, you would now have that evidence. You can contact your hospital to get copies of the records.
The police would have to report on the incident, and you should always get copies. The officer will include what they see on the report, such as the surrounding area. They will put in detail what happened. Police officers are very descriptive in their reports. What they list on that report could support your claim.
Having a witness testimonial is vital for any case. Using the above example, if this situation occurred at work, it may be easier to get witness testimonies as many people are usually around. If you do not want to ask the employees, you can work with a wrongful death lawyer in Forest Acres who can help you gather this necessary information.
Difference Between a Criminal Homicide Case and a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The defendant’s liability in a wrongful death case is solely for financial compensation. This is the biggest difference between the two. With a homicide case, a conviction will be penalized, and the person responsible will face probation, prison or jail time, and other sanctions.
Another difference to consider is that in a criminal homicide case, the person responsible is considered guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” With a civil lawsuit, such as a wrongful death claim, the court should see that there is “more evidence than not” that the defendant is responsible for the decedent’s death.
Keep in mind that it is possible for both of these charges to be filed during a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, the defendant can be charged for wrongful death but also criminal charges for the same incident. This could mean that the defendant was driving under the influence, which is illegal, and that is what caused the death of the decedent. This would now fall under vehicle manslaughter, in addition to the wrongful death claim.
Get Your Family Member Justice with a Wrongful Death Attorney in Forest Acres
Losing a family member is hard enough, and having to go about a legal case just adds more distress. Having legal representation on your side can help take some of the weight off. Our team of compassionate attorneys at Shelly Leeke Law Firm knows that you are trying to grieve the loss of your loved one. We will work hard to help you through the steps during this difficult time.
With our help, a Forest Acres wrongful death lawyer can fight for justice with you. We do not get paid unless we win. Contact us today for your free consultation.