The pain of losing a loved one unexpectedly can be very difficult for people to overcome. Depression and intense grief often follow an unexpected and sudden passing. Family members may want to find a way to seek justice, and the civil courts offer one path toward a sense of closure and vindication.
South Carolina permits wrongful death lawsuits in a handful of situations. Such lawsuits allow those affected by another person’s unexpected death to seek financial compensation from the person or business responsible for the tragedy.
The four rules below are all very important to know in cases where families want to seek wrongful death compensation. They include:
1. When a claim is possible
Perhaps the most important rule that applies to wrongful death claims in South Carolina is the statutory explanation of when a lawsuit is possible. The law specifically permits a wrongful death lawsuit when defaults, negligence or wrongful acts cause someone’s death. Generally, the courts would need to acknowledge that those actions would have justified a personal injury lawsuit if the situation hadn’t proved fatal.
2. Who can file a claim
Not just anyone can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit after someone’s untimely passing. In South Carolina, it will be the executor or personal representative of someone’s estate that files the lawsuit. Immediate family members are usually the beneficiaries who receive the proceeds from successful litigation.
3. How long someone has to file
Those grieving the sudden loss of a loved one may take some time before they are ready to demand Justice or revisit the situation. However, if they delay too long, they may lose the right to take legal action at all. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims will usually expire three years after the date of someone’s death.
4. What losses the claim can include
The lawsuit will usually need to seek a specific amount of compensation based on the provable impact the loss has had on a family. People often need help calculating that amount to obtain fair compensation for their future anticipated losses.
The possible costs and losses that people can seek to recover include medical bills, funeral expenses, the total value of lost income/job benefits, loss of care and companionship and even the pain and suffering of immediate family members. In severe cases involving deliberate harm or reckless actions, exemplary or punitive damages may also be an option.
Those who understand South Carolina state statutes and who have taken the time to put together a reasonable estimate of the financial impact of someone’s passing may be in a position to ask the civil courts for justice when someone dies due to another party’s actions or mistakes.