The loss of a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, business, or entity can be incredibly distressing. When these traumatic events occur, most family members are focused on arranging the proper funeral and burial of their loved ones and grieving for their loss. However, family members who lose a loved one due to the actions of another person may be entitled to compensation through a civil wrongful death lawsuit. At The Jeffcoat Firm, our wrongful death attorneys in Columbia or Lexington, South Carolina, want to discuss the time limit for these claims to be filed.
The time limit for a Columbia, South Carolina, wrongful death claim
Every state is responsible for setting a time limit for how long family members in these cases have to file civil wrongful death lawsuits against an alleged negligent party. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is 3 years from the date of the deceased person’s death. Any wrongful death claim that is not filed within this three-year window may not be heard by the court, and the family may lose the ability to recover any compensation for their loss. This limitation is set by South Carolina Cold of Law Section 15-51-10, which states:
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, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, the person who would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as make the killing in law a felony. In the event of the death of the wrongdoer, such cause of action shall survive against his personal representative.
The law is going to be slightly different for wrongful death cases arising due to medical malpractice. These cases must be filed within three years from the date that the injury occurs or within three years from when the injury was “discovered.” No medical malpractice case can be filed more than six years after the alleged mistake occurred.
In order to best comply with the statute of limitation requirements for these cases, you need to speak to a skilled attorney with a thorough understanding of all South Carolina wrongful death laws as soon as possible after your loss.
Who is able to file a South Carolina wrongful death claim?
South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-51-10 specifies that wrongful death claims must be filed by the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased. This person may be named in the estate plan or may be appointed by the court. However, while the administrator or executor is the person who will bring a wrongful death claim to court, any damages recovered in the lawsuit will be distributed to the following family members of the deceased:
- The surviving spouse and children
- The surviving parents of the deceased if there is no surviving spouse or child
- Any heirs of the deceased if there are no surviving parents, spouse, or children
Are you within the wrongful death status of limitation? Then contact us for a free consultation today
If you have lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, company, or entity, contact The Jeffcoat Firm as soon as possible. We have extensive experience helping clients in Richland and Lexington counties through these difficult times. Our team will thoroughly investigate your case and work to secure the following compensation on your behalf:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Cost of any pre-death medical care
- Loss of future income and benefits of the deceased
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of consortium or companionship damages
- Possible punitive damages against the negligent party
When you need a wrongful death attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 803-373-1302.
South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney Review
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I could not have hoped for a better experience with the Jeffcoat Firm! After a car accident that wasn’t my fault, I didn’t really know what to do. So I reached out to a couple of places and I just didn’t get a good feeling from any of them. From the first time I called The Jeffcoat Firm until the resolution of my case, they were consistently available, friendly, responsive and informative! Ms. Betsy initially helped me when I first reached out to them. I left a voicemail around 5:30 pm and she called me back that evening from her home just to talk to me and hear my story. She made me feel comfortable and confident, answered all of my questions and was so kind every time I spoke with her. Jess Harrell is who worked with me primarily and was CONSTANTLY available anytime I had a question! Phone calls, texts or emails, she never complained and made me feel welcome. She explained the whole process to me and made sure I understood everything each step of the way!
I would recommend the Jeffcoat Firm to anyone! If I ever have a situation where I need an attorney I won’t hesitate to work with them again! – Sarah Truel
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