Wrongful death is a legal concept that refers to a person whose death is the direct result of another person’s carelessness, irresponsibility, deliberate or accidental actions or inactions. When someone dies in this manner, those left behind are entitled to compensation for their loss. While money can never replace a person, it can help with the practical struggles faced during recovery. Read an overview of who is to blame when you lose a loved one in an accident and how a wrongful death lawyer can help get the compensation you deserve.
Defining Wrongful Death
Every state has a different specific definition of “wrongful death.” In South Carolina, it is defined as a death which is caused by the neglect, default or wrongful actions of another party. The actions or circumstances that lead to the death must be of the same variety that could, if the decedent survived, trigger a personal injury suit.
Filing a Claim
In our state, the executor or administrator of the estate must file the wrongful death claim, on behalf of the survivors who are entitled to collect benefits. The courts may, under certain circumstances, appoint a different administrator or representative if necessary. The people who can benefit from a wrongful death claim include:
- Surviving immediate family: this includes the spouse and children.
- Surviving parents: if the decedent was a child or has no spouse or children.
- Heirs of the deceased: If there are no children, spouse or parents.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
There are a variety of damages to which surviving loved ones can be entitled. These include funerary expenses, including burial, all medical bills and expenses that led up to the final passing of the decedent, any lost wages, benefits and financial support, property damages and direct financial loss, loss of companionship, experience, protection and care and the mental anguish, pain and suffering caused by the loss.
In some circumstances, if it is found that the actions leading to the death were deliberate or grossly reckless, the court may also award punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer.
Wrongful Death Lawyer
When you lose a loved one due to the irresponsibility or recklessness of another, it is important to secure the services of a wrongful death lawyer. While you may already have a probate attorney to help you settle the estate, a wrongful death attorney is a different entity. They can help to fight the stressful battles you need to undergo in order to get the compensation you deserve and recover your emotional and financial losses.
It is important to be able to prove the negligence or recklessness that led to the death. This is where your attorney excels. If you have experienced this sort of loss, you don’t have to go through it alone. Read a bit more about wrongful death cases and call our office to discuss yours today.