How To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit in South Carolina
A wrongful death lawsuit is a lawsuit brought against a defendant who has caused someone's death either through negligence or through an intentional act. South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-51-10 defines this as a "wrongful act, negligent or default of another."
Determine if a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Can Be Filed
To determine if a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed, the plaintiff must provide the same proof that would be needed for their deceased to bring forth a suit, had they lived. In other words, a personal injury lawsuit.
South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-51-10 clearly says that had the injured person not died, they would have been able to bring forth a personal injury suit to recover damages.
Determine Who Can File the Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim. In South Carolina, the suit is filed for the benefit of a spouse, children, or heirs of the deceased person. A suit can also be brought forward to benefit the estate itself if there are no heirs named.
Once you determine that a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed, your attorney will research the details of your case. Pre-suit research is an in-depth investigation of all the underlying facts that could have an impact on your case.
Your attorney will speak to relatives and associates of the deceased about the death, including liability, as well as potential damages related to the case. Your attorney might also speak to experts to determine the viability of the claim brought forth.
If the defendant has an applicable insurance policy, your attorney will also notify the insurer to request a copy of that policy. Then your attorney can determine if your claim is subject to potential policy coverage.
Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can include many costs associated with the death of the deceased. These damage costs might consist of:
- Medical treatments that the deceased incurred before their death.
- Any funeral and burial costs of the deceased.
- A loss of expected income that the deceased would bring in.
- A loss of benefits that the deceased received.
- A loss of any inheritance as a result of the death.
- Property damage and any other damages associated with death.
- The loss of care, guidance, love, and companionship that the deceased provided.
There may be other determined damages awarded by the court. Other damages will depend on the case and any costs associated with the wrongful death lawsuit.
File the Suit with the Help of a Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer will assist in any of these steps to help file a wrongful death lawsuit. Lawyers help determine if a wrongful death lawsuit should be filed in the first place, and they:
- Handle negotiations for a settlement when applicable.
- File the wrongful death lawsuit properly in a court of law.
- Do the pre-suit research necessary to win a claim.
- Represent the plaintiff in court.
For advice on your wrongful death case, contact the Peace Law Firm today for a free consultation. We have successfully helped many people bring suits against others for the tragic loss of their loved one.