How to Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death lawsuits allow grieving family members to be compensated when a loved one dies because of the wrongful acts of another person.
This type of lawsuit is not easy to bring, and people will need an experienced wrongful death attorney in South Carolina to help.
The basis of any wrongful death is to prove fault. Essentially, you need to identify who is responsible for your loved one’s death and show that their conduct was wrongful.
Wrongful Death Elements
Every personal injury case is made up of certain elements, which are facts you need to prove. If you can’t prove all elements, you can’t win your case.
A wrongful death case in South Carolina has the following elements:
- You need to show your loved one died. Without a death, there is no wrongful death lawsuit.
- You need to show you have been appointed the executor or administrator of the estate. This person actually files the lawsuit. Family members like spouses and children will receive the compensation, but the executor/administrator actually files the lawsuit.
- You need to show the person you are suing (the defendant) is at fault for the death.
- You need to show your damages- which are the losses you have suffered as a result of the death. Damages can include lost wages, funeral expenses, medical bills, property damage, and intangible losses like the loss of care, companionship, and guidance. You can also receive compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured after your loved one’s death.
These wrongful death elements can be tricky to establish, so work closely with your South Carolina wrongful death attorney to find appropriate evidence.
A Closer Look at Fault
Fault is an element in a wrongful death case and is often in hot dispute. Under South Carolina statute 15-51-10, a defendant is at fault if the following caused your loved one’s death:
- Wrongful act
For example, if someone intentionally attacked your loved one, then you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit because an assault is a wrongful act that qualifies. Likewise, if a careless driver backed over a loved one because he didn’t look in his mirrors, then his conduct also qualifies.
Typically, wrongful death case are brought for negligence, which means the failure to exercise ordinary care. If the defendant was sufficiently careful, then you might not have a case even if your loved one died.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney for Your Wrongful Death Case
To bring a successful lawsuit, you need to file within three years of the death. If you wait too long, then the judge will toss your case out of court, even if the defendant was clearly responsible for your loved one’s death. It is best to call an attorney right away to talk about your case so that you don’t miss the deadline.
Peace Law Firm has brought several wrongful death lawsuits, and we are well-versed on the wrinkles in the law. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation by calling 864-298-0500 . You can also schedule a meeting by sending an online message.