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Losing a loved one under any type of circumstance is difficult to handle, but it’s even more difficult if your loved one’s death was caused by the negligence of another person. If you’ve lost a family member due to someone else’s negligence, you’re likely eligible to receive compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you determine your legal options.
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim due to the loss of a loved one, below we provide answers to some of the questions that our clients most frequently ask us.
South Carolina law defines wrongful death as one that is “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” The law states that in the case of wrongful death, the at-fault party is liable for the same damages that the deceased would have been eligible to claim through a personal injury lawsuit had he or she survived. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed by a personal representative of the estate of the deceased.
A wrongful death claim is made on behalf of surviving family members and is based solely on the economic and general damages that they have suffered and will continue to suffer due to the death of their loved one. Wrongful death actions require that the plaintiffs prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the death of their loved one. Survival actions, on the other hand, allow the estate of a deceased individual to bring claims for the pain and suffering that he or she experienced due to the injuries that eventually led to death. Damages in a survival action include the cost of medical bills and compensation for conscious pain, suffering, or mental anguish that the deceased experienced prior to death.
Virtually any negligent act under any circumstance that can cause a personal injury to an individual can also cause a wrongful death if the injuries sustained are severe enough. Some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths include:
In South Carolina, the executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent’s family members. The executor or administrator may be listed in the deceased’s estate plan. If no estate plan exists, then the court may appoint an administrator. The family members that may be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit include:
The success of a wrongful death claim in South Carolina hinges on a plaintiff’s ability to prove all of the following:
Under South Carolina law, the executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate must file any wrongful death claim within three years from the date of the deceased individual’s death. If the death occurred at a state or county medical facility, then the wrongful death claim must be filed within two years after the date of death.
You may seek to recover the following types of damages through a wrongful death claim:
If the at-fault party wishes to settle your wrongful death claim outside of court, you and your experienced wrongful death attorney should carefully consider the settlement offer in relation to the damages that you’ve suffered prior to accepting. If you both determine that the settlement amount is fair, you may want to agree to the terms, avoid litigation, and move on with your life. However, the court will still need to review and approve the settlement at a court hearing.
Damage amounts recovered through a wrongful death claim are not taxable by the IRS. Furthermore, if the settlement or award is paid out by a business, that business cannot deduct the amount as a business expense.
The laws pertaining to wrongful death are complicated and fraught with deadlines and strict procedural requirements. While you could attempt to file a wrongful death claim on your own, hiring an attorney who is well-versed in these laws is your best chance to maximize your compensation.
Yes. Both parties have a right to appeal the outcome of a wrongful death case.
If you’re looking for an attorney to assist you in your wrongful death claim, you should ensure that the attorney has the following:
South Carolina law allows for the legal pursuit of damages incurred through wrongful death. However, only the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate, on behalf of certain family members, may file a wrongful death claim. By law, the administrator or executor must file any wrongful death claim within three years from the date of the deceased person’s death. The family members who are eligible to receive compensation through a successful wrongful death suit include:
Compensation for the following types of damages may be sought through a wrongful death lawsuit:
Virtually any type of negligent or reckless act that results in a person’s death can become the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit. Some common examples include:
The following news stories provide two examples of Charleston wrongful death lawsuits:
Attorneys Nathan Hughey and Stuart Hudson of the Hughey Law Firm work with wrongful death cases throughout South Carolina that result from nursing home abuse, car accidents, construction site accidents, and other accidents that involve the negligence of another person. Additionally, attorney Nathan Hughey lectures about and teaches nursing home litigation and regulations. Due to this significant expertise, other law firms throughout the state often retain him to assist them in wrongful death and nursing home litigation.
Having previously defended insurance companies in wrongful death cases, Hughey Law Firm can answer your questions and provide full legal representation regarding wrongful death. These types of cases are complex and difficult to understand. Don’t take time away from grieving with your family members and honoring your deceased loved one to worry about procedural details of your wrongful death claim; let one of our experienced wrongful death lawyers handle all of the legal aspects while you focus on recovering from your loss. Call the Hughey Law Firm today at (843) 881-8644, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation and to discuss the details of your claim with one of our wrongful death attorneys.
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