Losing a family member is never easy. Even when your loved one lived a long life, and you expect their death, it can be difficult to accept that it is the time for them to leave this world. However, grief can be even more intense and difficult to process when a loved one's death is sudden and preventable. A wrongful death claim could provide some measure of justice for the family.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
A death caused by another person because of intentional wrongdoing, neglect, or negligence may be considered a wrongful death. Intentional wrongdoing could be a fatal gunshot wound or an assault.
Negligence is failing to act with reasonable care. A wrongful death case involving negligence could arise from:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Defective product injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents and other premises liability claims
- Nursing home abuse and negligence
Our Myrtle Beach wrongful death lawyers investigate the cause of your family member's death to determine whether your family may have a wrongful death claim against one or more parties.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in South Carolina?
Under South Carolina's wrongful death laws, the personal representative of the probate estate for the decedent files the wrongful death claim. If the person did not have a will naming a personal representative, the court names someone to serve in that capacity for the estate.
Even though the deceased's probate estate files the case, the funds received from a wrongful death claim are for the victim's family members. The surviving spouse and children of the victim have first priority for wrongful death claim payments.
If the victim did not have a surviving spouse or children, the victim's parents would receive the funds. If the victim had no surviving parents, spouse, or children, other heirs of the deceased should receive the proceeds of the wrongful death claim.
The estate may also file a second cause of action called a survival action. In a survival action, any proceeds from the lawsuit are paid directly to the probate estate and distributed according to the person's will or intestate laws.
What Compensation Is Paid for a Wrongful Death Claim?
In a wrongful death claim, the money recovered is to compensate the family members for damages incurred because of their loved one's death. Compensation paid for a South Carolina wrongful death claim can include:
- Cost of burial and funeral
- Mental anguish experienced by family members
- Lost income that the deceased would have earned and contributed to the household
- The loss of the deceased's companionship, care, and protection
A survival action is different. The compensation for a survival action provides compensation for the damages the person would have received had the person survived the injury. Compensation can include:
- The cost of any medical expenses incurred between the time of the injury and death
- Pain and suffering the person experienced between the accident and the date of death
- Other damages included in a personal injury lawsuit filed by the deceased had they lived
The probate estate receives the funds from the survival action and distributes the funds to the heirs of the estate.
Call Our Myrtle Beach Wrongful Death Lawyers for a Free Consultation
At Morris Law Firm, we understand that filing a lawsuit will not bring back your loved one. However, it can help you hold the person responsible for your family member's death accountable for their actions.
Call our office now to schedule your free consultation with a Myrtle Beach wrongful death attorney.