How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works

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If you have lost somebody you love due to the negligent actions of another person, then you are undoubtedly going through a difficult time. However, you may be able to gain compensation and closure through a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina. At The Jeffcoat Firm, we think it is imperative that you understand the basics of how a wrongful death lawsuit works in this state.

What is “wrongful death” in SC?

Under South Carolina Code of Laws section 15-51-10, a wrongful death claim arises “whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued…”

In layman’s terms, these cases arise when, had they not passed away, the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party for their injuries.

What must be proven in a South Carolina wrongful death case?

In general, there are four elements of a wrongful death case that must be proven in order for a claim to be successful:

  1. Duty. It needs to be established that the defendant (the alleged negligent party) owed a duty of care to the victim.
  2. Breach. It needs to be established that the defendant somehow breached their duty of care to the victim of the wrongful death. 
  3. Causation. If a breach of duty is established, it must be shown that this breach directly caused the injuries or death of the victim. 
  4. Damages. Finally, it needs to be shown that the death caused the damages that the plaintiff (the deceased’s estate) is trying to recover. 

Who can file a wrongful death claim in SC?

The wrongful death law in South Carolina specifies that the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate must file the wrongful death claim. If a claim is successful, the following people are able to recover damages (in descending order of priority):

  • The spouse and children of the deceased 
  • The surviving parents of the deceased 
  • Other heirs of the deceased 

What kind of compensation is available for a SC wrongful death case?

If you have lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, company, or entity, contact The Jeffcoat Firm today. Our compassionate and experienced team is going to handle every aspect of your case as we work to secure the compensation you need. This can include:

  • The deceased person’s pre-death pain and suffering
  • The medical treatment costs prior to death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of the deceased person’s expected lifetime income
  • Loss of any inheritance 
  • Value of the services that the deceased would have provided
  • Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided
  • Loss of love and companionship and loss of consortium

When you need a wrongful death attorney in South Carolina, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 803-373-1302.

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