Losing a loved one is always hard, but it can be especially difficult when you know their death could have been avoided. If you have lost a family member or friend due to negligence, you have the right to hold the responsible company or person accountable for their wrongdoing.
We are a personal injury firm located here in Myrtle Beach, focusing on catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. It’s all we do, and as a result, we have to come to learn the common questions and concerns survivors have regarding the legal process The following list will hopefully provide some answers, but please know that our South Carolina wrongful death attorney is here to help with any questions you may have during this difficult time.
Common Questions About South Carolina Wrongful Death Cases
1. What does the legal term “wrongful death” mean?
It means a person died because of another person or business’ negligent acts. When this happens, surviving family members have the right to pursue a wrongful death case and seek damages from the responsible party or parties. Some of the most common types of fatal accidents that lead to wrongful death claims include:
- Car Crashes
- Truck Accidents
- Drunk Driving Wrecks
- Medical Malpractice
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Defective Products
2. Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Myrtle Beach?
Wrongful death claims can only be filed by a personal representative of the estate, also known as an administrator or executor of the estate. The personal representative may be the deceased person’s spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandchild, or any legally competent person. Once the chosen personal representative is approved by the probate court, he or she can pursue a wrongful death case on behalf of eligible surviving family members. The personal representative does not get a greater share of the recovery, but does have decision-making authority when it comes to accepting or rejecting any settlement offer.
3. How long do you have to file a wrongful death suit?
In most South Carolina wrongful death cases, you have 3 years to file suit against a non-governmental defendant. However, the statute of limitations is only 2 years if the defendant is a government entity, such as a school, county hospital, or police department.
4. How long does it take to settle wrongful death claims?
There is no exact timeline for how long a wrongful death case can last. Your case could settle in a matter of months or it could last for years if you’re forced to file a lawsuit or take the case to trial. Knowing this, it’s important to consult with a lawyer to share your story early on and get a professional opinion on what your best options are. Rest assured our team will listen to your concerns and let you know if we are able to help you, or if it may be a case you can handle on your own.
5. How are wrongful death settlements paid out?
South Carolina law states the beneficiaries of a wrongful death action may include the husband or wife of the deceased, as well as his/her children, parents, and additional heirs. The recovery will be divided among the beneficiaries the same as if the person had passed away naturally and the settlement/verdict amount had been assets of the person’s estate.
6. What damages are included in wrongful death case?
Damages can vary from case to case, and may include both economic and non-economic damages. Listed below are common damages that may be covered by a wrongful death settlement.
- Funeral Expenses
- Lost Income
- Grief and Sorrow of Survivors
- Loss of Companionship (i.e. Loss of a spouse, parent, or child)
- Punitive Damages (If the responsible party was reckless in causing the loss of life, this form of damages is recoverable. Learn more here.)
7.What is a survival claim?
A survival claim can be pursued for any “pain and suffering” the deceased person experienced before they passed away. Medical bills incurred for any injuries ultimately resulting in loss of life would also be covered by the survival claim. For example, if a person survived for some time before eventually succumbing to their injuries – in other words, if they did not die immediately on impact – you can seek damages for the pain they endured and the medical expenses related to their care.
A Myrtle Beach Lawyer to Help With Your Wrongful Death Claim
You likely still have many unanswered questions about pursuing a wrongful death claim after the sudden loss of your spouse, child, parent, or other family member. Our team here in Myrtle Beach treats all of our clients with compassion, and are here to help you navigate the legal world of wrongful death actions. Our sole purpose is to take care of all the legal aspects of your case, so you can focus on healing.
Our consultations are completely free, and all cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means there is no charge until we secure a financial recovery. To further discuss your case, contact us at (843) 427-2800, through the live chat feature below, or by submitting a contact form. We are truly sorry for your loss and are here to help in any way possible.