What Is the Value of Life in a Wrongful Death Case in South Carolina?
The sudden and tragic death of a loved one is devastating. There are few words to describe accurately the emotions that relatives of the person who died must confront. The anger, frustration, despair, and grief take a massive emotional toll on everyone.
The sudden death of a loved one often imposes a substantial financial burden on the family of the person who died. Funeral and burial costs are exorbitant, and these costs alone could send a family deeper into debt. Despite personal tragedy, life goes on.
The relatives of the decedent must learn to live with the drastic change in their lives. They must continue to pay their rent or mortgage, buy food and other necessities, as well as return to work or school, all while still reeling from the untimely and tragic death of their beloved. Additionally, the family of the person who died needs to figure out how to make ends meet without the help of wages or salary of the decedent.
At Peace Law Firm, we genuinely care about our clients. We fight hard for people who lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another. Allow our experience and superior advocacy to hold those responsible for your loved one’s wrongful death accountable and find the justice you deserve.
Wrongful Death Claims in South Carolina
We know that life is uncertain. Every time we get in our cars, go to work, or even leave the house could be our last. We try not to think about it, even though we know how unfair life can be.
Wrongful death claims arise from various circumstances. Examples of incidents giving rise to wrongful death actions include:
- Auto accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Bicycle accidents,
- Workplace accidents,
- Workplace assaults,
- Medical malpractice,
- Product liability,
- Failure to safeguard premises,
- Nursing home neglect or abuse, and
- Defective conditions.
This list is by no means exhaustive. A seasoned South Carolina injury lawyer will review your claim and determine the wrongful death value of life.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina?
South Carolina’s wrongful death law specifies who can file a wrongful death suit. Under South Carolina’s wrongful death statute, the decedent’s estate’s executor or administrator must file the claim in their capacity as executor or administrator. The decedent’s executor or administrator might be a close relative but does not have to be.
The executor or administrator files the wrongful death claim for the benefit of those who would “benefit from the person’s estate." The beneficiaries of a wrongful death action in South Carolina are:
- Parents of the deceased if no surviving spouse or children, or
- The heirs of the decedent as determined by South Carolina’s intestate laws.
The law dictates that the decedent’s beneficiaries divide the proceeds from a wrongful death award as though the person died without a will.
Wrongful Death Value of Life
A dollar amount cannot accurately reflect the value of your loved one’s life. In a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina, a settlement or jury award depends on the financial and emotional losses suffered by the deceased person's loved ones. Those damages may include:
- Medical costs,
- Funeral and burial expenses,
- Lost wages or salary,
- Future lost wages or salary,
- Loss of consortium,
- Loss of friendship,
- Mental distress, and
- Punitive damages.
A jury may assess punitive or exemplary damages if the defendant acted intentionally, recklessly, or wantonly. Wrongful death suits based on another’s negligence are not eligible to recover punitive damages.
Calculating the Loss
Some of the losses recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit are easy to calculate. For example, damages that are easy to ascertain are medical bills, funeral costs, burial costs, and property damage expenses.
Other damages are more difficult to ascertain. For instance, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity require expert analysis to estimate. An actuarial analysis could provide a basis for calculating the length of time the person might work or live. A vocational expert could calculate how much money the person would have made in their profession had they not died prematurely.
The other categories of damages are subjective. Someone’s wrongful death could leave a spouse widowed, a child orphaned, or a parent childless. A strong advocate will explain the emotional wreckage the decedent’s loved ones suffered.
Demand Justice for Your Loss
Holding those responsible for your loved one’s death accountable could help you find closure and experience justice. We know that no sum of money will replace your loved one. Instead, civilized society demands that anyone responsible for the wrongful death of another must be held accountable for their deadly actions.
Contact John Peace and the Peace Law Firm today at 864-298-0500. We will pursue justice vigorously for your family in memory of your loved one.