When you have lost a loved one unexpectedly due to someone’s negligent actions, knowing what to do next can feel overwhelming while also grieving. In South Carolina, you can file a wrongful death claim or a survival action. A wrongful death claim allows the surviving loved ones of the victim to be compensated for the loss they have suffered.
While this topic can feel intimidating, our South Carolina wrongful death lawyers at Hammack Law Firm are here to help you understand what a wrongful death claim is and who can file it.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
In South Carolina, a wrongful death claim is any incident that is caused by the neglect or wrongful action of another person. A good way to understand what would qualify as a wrongful action is to ask, “If my loved one had survived, could they have still filed a personal injury suit?”. If the answer to that question is “yes,” then it is very possible you have a claim for a wrongful death. In many ways, these claims are similar to other personal injury suits. The most significant difference is that a wrongful death claim is filed on behalf of the deceased.
Incidents that could lead to a wrongful death claim include the following:
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
So, if a wrongful death claim is filed on behalf of the deceased, who is the one who files the claim?
For a free legal consultation, call 864-740-8653
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim
It is important to hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer in South Carolina who has practiced in the specific state laws surrounding these claims. In many states, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the surviving family and beneficiaries of the victim. However, South Carolina has a different requirement. A wrongful death claim must be filed by the person named as the executor of the deceased’s estate. If you are unsure what an executor is or who your loved one has named as such, they are often named in wills. However, if the deceased dies without a will, the executor will be named by the courts. If this is the case with your claim, talk with our South Carolina attorneys at Hammack Law Firm to get help with all the details so you don’t have to handle it on your own.
It’s important to understand that just because the executor of the estate files the claim does not mean they receive the resulting settlement; the victim’s family will also be paid out of the settlement won from the claim. Who qualifies depends on the members of the family the deceased left behind. Those who can recover compensation include:
- Spouse and children
- Spouse, if no children
- Children, if no spouse
- Parents, if no spouse or children
- Siblings, if no spouse, children, or parents
How to Prove Wrongful Death
Every wrongful death claim includes four elements that must be proven in order to claim compensation on behalf of the deceased.
- The defendant had a duty: if you are filing the wrongful death claim, you are the plaintiff, and the person you name as the one who committed the wrongful action is the defendant. As the plaintiff, you must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim. For example, in a car accident case, the defendant owed the victim a duty to drive safely.
- The duty was breached: as the plaintiff, you must prove that the duty owed to your loved one was breached in some way. If we continue the example of the car accident, if the defendant was found to be speeding or driving under the influence, then this fact would be considered the breach of duty.
- The breach caused an injury: it must be proven that the victim in the claim suffered injuries as a result of the incident.
- The causation: for a wrongful death claim, it must be shown that the deceased was killed as a direct cause of the negligent actions of the defendant.
In some cases, these elements can be clear cut with plenty of evidence to back up the claim, but oftentimes, there are other elements that make a wrongful death claim complicated and difficult to prove.
Click to contact our personal injury lawyers today
Let Our South Carolina Lawyers at Hammack Law Firm Help with Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
With so many factors to consider to make a strong claim, it can feel overwhelming and intimidating to file on your own. If you need help with your wrongful death lawsuit, our experienced team at Hammack Law Firm is here to serve you.
When it comes to wrongful death suits, our lawyers are experienced in gathering the necessary evidence and data to build a strong case to recover the most compensation possible for the irreversible loss you have suffered. Don’t struggle alone—contact our South Carolina lawyers today at (864) 428-7591 or by filling out our contact form.