Losing a loved one often results in one of the most painful and difficult times anyone can ever expect to experience. Often times when a loved one looses their life as the result of recklessness, negligence, or wrongdoing of another party, this can leave family members or other dependents in a state of confusion about what they can do moving forward. One of the options is to file what is called a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The South Carolina Code of Laws allows for a lawsuit to be brought by those who were dependent on or a beneficiary of the person that lost their life. The dependents or beneficiaries may be entitled to monetary damages resulting from a death related to medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accident, personal injury accident, dangerous animals, on the job accidents, dangerous or defective products, or another type of incident where a person loses their life as the result of someone else's recklessness or negligence. A wrongful death lawsuit is brought by the Personal Representative (PR) of the deceased person's estate and any claim must be approved by the court. This means two things for a wrongful death lawsuit. First, a probate estate must be opened to appoint a PR to administer the estate as well as bring the lawsuit, and second, a hearing in court will be necessary before any of the beneficiaries will be able to collect any funds from a wrongful death lawsuit or claim.
What Kind of Compensation Can Be Available in a Wrongful Death Case?
The types of damages normally sought when someone pursues a lawsuit based on a death are normally separated into two actions. These two actions are maintained at the same time against an at-fault party or parties. The first action is generally referred to as a "survival action." A survival action is also brought by the PR of an estate and, the compensation sought is for damages suffered by the deceased person prior to death. Things like pain and suffering, mental distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and economic losses (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) are types of damages that may be collected in a survival action. These damages are damages that a deceased person experienced themselves before death and are considered to become part of the deceased person's estate.
The second action that is brought when a lawsuit is filed based on a death is the wrongful death action itself. This action is also brought by the PR of the deceased person's estate, but unlike the survival action, the wrongful death action is generally brought on behalf of a the deceased person's family member(s) for the damages that they suffer as a result of the loss of their loved one. In these actions, the damages that are sought include, but are not limited to medical bills that the family is responsible for, funeral and burial expenses, grief and mental suffering, loss of support, loss of inheritance, loss of services, and loss of companionship. The damages generally awarded in these actions are designed to support the deceased person's family now that the deceased person is no longer with them.
What Can Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC Do for you?
If you have lost a loved one we know it can be difficult to simply manage your day to day affairs, let alone being faced with the complicated task of securing justice and compensation for the loss you have experienced. Our attorneys are prepared to assist you in this difficult time in opening and guiding your family through the probate process, protecting your rights against at-fault parties or their insurance companies, negotiating with these parties to reach a settlement on your behalf, and if a settlement cannot be reached to file a lawsuit to seek the compensation that you and your loves ones deserve.
We are happy to discuss any of this information with you free of charge in a consultation in our office or over the phone. If you would like more information or would like to speak with one of our attorneys contact our office at (843) 388-3661 or click the link below for our contact information.