Losing a loved one brings with it an overwhelming amount of pain and grief. Dealing with such a loss is already a difficult situation, but when your loss may have been prevented if not for the negligence or wrongful actions of another, it makes accepting the death even harder. Money cannot bring someone back, but there can be healing in holding the parties responsible for their actions.
If you have lost a loved one due to what you believe to be someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, you and your family may be entitled to significant compensation. South Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death suit seeking that compensation, so it can be important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Discuss your case with one of the compassionate and skilled Mt. Pleasant lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm by calling (843) 881-8644 for a free consultation.
Hughey Law Firm’s Results in Wrongful Death Cases
Hughey Law Firm’s legal team has extensive experience have extensive experience in settling and litigating personal injury cases, including those that involve wrongful death. Past verdicts have ranged from $225,000 to more than $3,000,000. These results are examples and do not guarantee results in a particular case. Each situation is different, but Hughey Law Firm’s skilled attorneys do their utmost to achieve the most just outcome for their clients.
Wrongful Death Defined
According to South Carolina law (Section 15-51-10), a wrongful death occurs when “the wrongful act, neglect or default of another” causes the death of a person. South Carolina law allows legal action seeking compensation for a wrongful death if the victim, had he or she not died, would have had the legal right to seek damages for injuries. South Carolina law specifies which family members may file a wrongful death suit in the event that a loved one dies, as follows:
- Parent, only if there is no spouse or children; and
- Heir(s) at law if there isn’t a spouse, child, or parent.
South Carolina law also states that children born out of wedlock and the surviving parent have the same rights to file a wrongful death suit as if the parents were married at the time of birth.
The Responsible Parties
Several types of situations and injuries may lead to legal liability for wrongful death. Some common examples include:
- Property owners might be at fault when a visitor to the property dies from injuries sustained in a slip-and-fall.
- Business owners or corporations might be liable when there are work-related deaths such as electrocution on a construction site.
- Drivers who are distracted or driving under the influence might be held liable if they cause an accident that leads to the death of another.
- Hospitals, doctors, and other medical staff may face accountability for medical malpractice, including surgical errors and pharmaceutical errors that cause death.
- Companies that have manufactured or sold a defective product that led to one’s death might also be at fault in a wrongful death suit.
The Cost of Wrongful Death
Compensation for damages awarded in a wrongful death suit depends on several factors, including the financial burden the death puts on surviving dependents, the life expectancy of the victim had the wrongful death not occurred, and the extent to which the victim played a part in his or her own death. Types of damages that are most commonly awarded in wrongful death suits in South Carolina include compensation for:
- Medical expenses paid for by surviving family members;
- Funeral costs;
- Pain and suffering of the surviving family members;
- Loss of financial support provided by the deceased, including lost future wages;
- Loss of companionship, care, or protection provided by the deceased;
- Property damage and other economic losses tied to the victim’s death;
- Punitive damages in rare cases of gross neglect.
Insurance Companies Will Try to Fight Your Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims often lead liable parties to use every tool that they can to avoid paying their fair share. Although South Carolina law typically gives you the right to sue when you lose a loved one, there are limitations on when an injured person or their family can recover damages. South Carolina is what is known as a “modified comparative negligence” state. That means that courts and juries here must decide the percentage of fault of every party in a wrongful death suit, including any fault the victim had in his or her own death. If a court or jury decides your loved one was more than 50 percent for his or her fatal injury, you are prohibited from recovering damages.
Because of this rule, the defense will attempt to shift blame to your family member to avoid some or all of its potential liability, such as:
- In motor vehicle accidents, the defense may claim that the victim violated traffic laws or was driving under the influence.
- In work-related accidents, the employer may claim that the victim wasn’t performing his job correctly.
- In deaths that are a result of a defective product, the manufacturer may claim that the victim wasn’t using the product as intended.
An experienced attorney will be familiar with these tactics and can work to develop a strategy to fight them.
Call the Hughey Law Firm if Someone You Love Died in a Preventable Accident
The Hughey Law Firm offers a free consultation for you to discuss the facts of your loved one’s wrongful death with an attorney who is experienced in the field. When our team agrees to represent a client in wrongful death matters, we handle the matter on a contingent fee basis, in which we only recover our fees out of any settlement or verdict that our client receives.
If someone you love has died because of someone’s negligence or wrongful conduct, call one of the caring, compassionate Mt. Pleasant wrongful death attorneys of the Hughey Law Firm online or at (843) 881-8644 for a free consultation.