Coping with the unexpected loss of a family member brings an overwhelming amount of pain and grief that might lead to a variety of physical and psychological responses. Additionally, surviving family members might suffer economic losses due to the need to pay for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and lost wages if the family member who passed contributed to the household’s income. If you learn that the death of your loved one could have been avoided, it adds layers of emotions on top of those that you are already feeling.
No amount of money or any action can bring your loved one back, but liable parties should be held accountable, if for no other reason than to prevent future deaths. If your loved one died as a result of another party’s negligent or intentional behavior, you might be entitled to seek compensation for your loss. Contact one of the experienced wrongful death attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm at (843) 881-8644 to determine your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim.
The Hughey Law Firm’s Results in Wrongful Death Cases
The compassionate and knowledgeable legal team at the Hughey Law Firm has years of experience negotiating, settling, and litigating personal injury claims, including wrongful death cases. Our past settlements and verdicts have ranged from $200,000 to over $3,000,000. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, the Hughey Law Firm’s seasoned legal team will strive to secure the most favorable outcome possible given your case’s specific circumstances.
How Does South Carolina Define Wrongful Death?
Under South Carolina law, a wrongful death occurs when one individual’s wrongful act, neglect, or default causes someone else’s death. The law also requires that, had the deceased victim survived, he or she would have been able to recover damages in a personal injury suit. In South Carolina, only certain surviving family members are eligible to file a wrongful death suit, including:
- Spouse of the decedent
- Unmarried partner who has parented a child with the decedent
- Children of the decedent, including those born out of wedlock
- Parent, if the decedent has no surviving spouse or children
- Legal heir(s), if the decedent has no surviving spouse, child, or parent
What Situations Might Give Rise to a Wrongful Death Claim?
A variety of tragic accidents can lead to the wrongful death of a loved one. Below we discuss some of the most common reasons that surviving family members file a wrongful death claim:
- Workplace injuries. Fatal occupational injuries result in thousands of deaths across the country each year. Accidents that result in death might be caused by falls, exposure to chemicals, dangerous equipment, hazardous working conditions, and a variety of other things. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that South Carolina suffered 96 fatalities in the workplace during 2016. Almost 40% of these fatalities stemmed from transportation incidents, and the rest primarily occurred from violence by others, exposure to harmful substances, and contact with dangerous objects or equipment.
- Motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most recent data reports more than 1,000 traffic fatalities on South Carolina roads in 2017. Traffic accidents have multiple causes, many of which don’t warrant a wrongful death suit when a fatality occurs. Yet, when negligent drivers break traffic regulations, drive under the influence of controlled substances, or drive while distracted, they sometimes cause fatal accidents and may be held accountable in a wrongful death claim.
- Slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accidents can happen to anyone at any time, but elders are especially at risk. In fact, injuries from falls among older adults lead to almost 7,000 hospital stays and 25,000 emergency department visits in South Carolina each year. Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of accident involved in premises liability cases; property owners have a legal duty to maintain safe premises for those who visit their property, whether for personal or business reasons. Slip and fall accidents might be caused by wet or dry spills of water, food, powders, oil, and more; by uneven walking surfaces; or by poorly maintained floors. When owners fail to keep their premises free of dangerous conditions or to warn visitors of potential hazards, and a visitor dies due to an injury, the property owner may be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Medical malpractice. When medical malpractice leads to death it creates a complex and difficult scenario; these complicated cases require the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney to handle the case. The general public depends on doctors and other medical professionals for diagnosing, curing, and treating illnesses; when those professional fail to maintain a high standard of care, it’s not only traumatic but also life-threatening. Medical malpractice situations that might give rise to a wrongful death suit include surgical errors that result in death, failure of a doctor to diagnose a life-threatening condition, a doctor diagnosing the wrong condition or giving the wrong prescription, or a doctor’s failure to provide appropriate follow-up care.
- Defective products. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) documents several million injuries per year across the nation, with tens of thousands of those deaths related to defective products. Any party that is part of the chain of distribution from the manufacturer to the retailer might be held liable in a wrongful death suit that involves a defective product. Product defects include design defects, manufacturing defects, and information defects, including a company’s failure to warn consumers about dangerous aspects of a product. The CPSC protects consumers by gathering data about chemical substances, toys and other children’s products, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), lighters, fireworks, and much more; even automobiles and pharmaceuticals can be defective. If a faulty car part causes an accident that leads to death, car part manufacturers might be held liable. Similarly, if a prescription medication causes death, the drug company, the salesperson, and/or the doctor who prescribed the drug might be liable for defective medication, depending on the circumstances.
Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
If you lost a loved one due to the neglect or intentional harm of another party in Greenville, South Carolina, call the Hughey Law Firm today at (843) 881-8644, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced wrongful death lawyers.