The sudden loss of a loved one in an accident or other circumstance can be emotionally and financially devastating. If you have lost a spouse, parent, child, or other family member, you may be unsure where to turn to get answers to legal questions.
My name is Kenneth Berger. I am a Columbia, SC wrongful death lawyer committed to helping grieving families in South Carolina pursue accountability from the companies and individuals whose negligent, reckless or intentional actions have fatal consequences.
An Attorney Who Will Guide You Through Every Step of the Legal System After a Fatal Accident
There are a number of reasons why you might file a wrongful death claim. The legal process is often the best way to get clear answers about the causes of your loved one’s passing. Your family might also need financial support through this difficult time for expenses like funeral costs and medical bills.
I listen carefully to my client's concerns and goals, providing compassionate advice and advocacy as I seek the results you deserve. My job is to handle the legal matters so that you and your family can focus on recovering and rebuilding.
When someone else's wrongdoing leads to a fatality, the victim's family has the legal right to pursue damages for the loss of companionship and financial support they suffered.
What is Considered a Wrongful Death in South Carolina?
Under South Carolina law, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the reckless, negligent, or intentional act of another person or company. Wrongful death lawsuits may arise from different types of incidents, including:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Drunk Driving Wrecks
- Boating Crashes
- Nursing Home Negligence
- Defective Products; or
- Medical Malpractice.
Whether in relation to driving, product manufacturing, or other potential dangers, South Carolina imposes laws and regulations to protect its citizens from harm. Unfortunately, many people and businesses disregard our safety laws, resulting in tragedies that could have been prevented. Our firm is here to help you hold them accountable.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
When a fatal accident occurs, the victim’s survivors may file a wrongful death claim even if there were no criminal charges. Survivors are often left with immeasurable grief and countless questions. Although there is no amount of money that can undo the loss of a loved one, a family may seek compensation - the civil system's only measure of justice - for the following damages in a wrongful death case:
- Funeral expenses and burial costs
- Lost Earnings
- Medical expenses
- Grief and mental anguish
- Loss of companionship; and
- Punitive damages (payment made to punish the responsible party for their reckless conduct).
Proving negligence and ensuring that every form of damages is properly valued under South Carolina law can be a difficult process. You need to make sure your case is handled properly to help secure a full and fair recovery. My firm will not only work hard on your behalf, but also show you the compassion and respect we would want if it was one of our loved ones who passed.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina
In order to recover damages for your loved one’s death, a personal representative must be appointed for the estate. Personal representative means the same thing as administrator or executor. The probate court will approve of or appoint the personal representative; then the wrongful death case can proceed.
Once we have a personal representative for the estate, we begin collecting medical records and other evidence (exp. photos, police records, coroner's reports). We will also put the negligent party on notice of the wrongful death claim and request that they forward our correspondence to their insurance company.
Proving the case often requires speaking with multiple witnesses, utilizing a private investigator, and retaining experts. Insurance companies take wrongful death accidents very seriously and defend them vigorously. For these reasons, it is essential that we gather as much evidence and witness testimony as possible early in the case.
When to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
After investigating the facts and obtaining all possible evidence we may either send the insurance carrier a "pre-litigation demand package" or file a wrongful death lawsuit. Though filing a lawsuit may lengthen the process, it is often the only way to find out "why" the accident occurred or obtain a proper financial recovery.
Without subpoenas, depositions, and other fact-finding tools that only a lawsuit provides, a family may never know why the negligent party made the dangerous choices it did. For instance, did a company put profits ahead of safety? Did a driver mix alcohol and medication before getting on the highway? Answers to these questions often benefit the legal claim while also providing some level of vindication for families.
Attorney Fees for Wrongful Death Cases
My law firm does not charge grieving families any type of hourly or retainer fee. Instead, we pursue wrongful death cases in Columbia and throughout South Carolina on a contingency fee basis, meaning your family does not pay any attorney fees unless we make a monetary recovery for you.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you have questions about a wrongful death accident claim in South Carolina, I want to make sure they are answered. My job as an attorney is not simply to seek compensation, but to guide, counsel, and comfort survivors. I do not seek to profit from tragedy. I handle fatal accident cases in Columbia and across our state because I believe in community safety, accountability, and the value of every human life.
To find out how I can help, call me today at 803-790-2800, or fill out a contact form and someone will reach out to you shortly to schedule a consultation. You may also start a live chat to speak with a member of our team 24/7.