In South Carolina, wrongful death is defined as a death resulting from a “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another person. These acts are therefore the same type that could have triggered a personal injury suit if the deceased were alive. Wrongful death may therefore be characterized as a kind of personal injury claim for which the defendant cannot bring suit him- or herself. Another party must therefore try to establish justice in court.
Under South Carolina law, only an executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate can bring a claim for wrongful death. However, damages may be received by the surviving spouse and children or, should there be no spouse or children, his or her parents. If no surviving spouse, children, or parents exist, lawful heirs may also be entitled to damages.
Any wrongful death case must be filed within three years of the date of death in South Carolina.
If wrongful death is found in South Carolina, the estate may receive compensation both for issues related to emotional loss and for issues related to the expenses associated with illness, injury, or death. The first category includes:
- pain, suffering, and mental anguish borne by the survivors.
- loss of the person’s experience and knowledge
- loss of the person’s care, companionship, and protection
The second category includes:
- lost wages and benefits that the deceased may have reasonably been expected to earn
- medical bills and costs related to the final illness or injury
- property damages and other financial losses related to the death
- funeral and burial expenses