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Who Files for Wrongful Death in Columbia, SC?

March 22, 2022

: Criminal Defense

Losing a loved one is always a heartbreaking situation. But losing a loved one due to another person’s (or another entity’s) actions can lead to even more devastating effects. 

If your loved one died as a result of someone else’s misconduct or negligence, and you are one of their family members or survivors, you may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Below, we’ll walk through what wrongful death lawsuits are, who can file for them, and how a Columbia, SC wrongful death attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. 

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a claim against a defendant who has caused someone’s death, either through negligence or as the result of intentional action. This claim is filed in an effort to seek compensation for the losses suffered by the survivors of the deceased. These losses could include lost companionship, lost wages, funeral expenses, and more. 

Wrongful Death Case Examples

Wrongful death lawsuits are applicable in scenarios where a victim could have filed a valid personal injury claim but was instead killed at the fault of the defendant’s wrongful action. Some of the most common examples of this include:

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Columbia, SC?

Depending on which state you live in, different people are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit — whether that be the victim’s spouse, parents, or someone else. In South Carolina, the only person allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the executor or administrator of the victim’s estate. 

If the victim has a will, the executor’s name will likely be listed in it. If the victim doesn’t have a will, then the court can appoint someone to file. It’s also important to remember that even though only one person is allowed to file the claim, the damages recovered are still split between each of the victim’s survivors.

How Are Wrongful Death Claims Proven?

In order to prove the defendant liable in a wrongful death claim, you must be able to prove that their negligent or intentional actions were the cause for your loved one’s death. You must also be able to provide the following things:

  • An estate representative to file the claim
  • Monetary damages for the surviving family members, related to the victim’s death
  • A claim filed within the statute of limitations, which is three years in South Carolina
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Determined, and How Are They Paid Out?

The amount of your wrongful death settlement depends on the number and severity of damages caused. Possible wrongful death damages could include: 

  • The victim’s pain and suffering before they died
  • The victim’s treatment costs before they died
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of income and benefits due to the victim’s death
  • Loss of inheritance due to the victim’s death
  • Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the victim would have provided
  • Loss of love and companionship that the victim would have provided
  • Loss of consortium

Based on the calculation of each of those damages, the court will come to a settlement agreement. Once the settlement is determined, the defendant’s insurer will send a check with the full value to your lawyer. Your lawyer will then deduct the fees for their services and other legal costs, then send a check with the remaining money to the estate’s executor, who will then divide the money between themself and the rest of the victim’s survivors. 

Talk to a Columbia, SC Wrongful Death Attorney to Start Your Case

If you need assistance navigating the process of filing for wrongful death, Bernstein & Bernstein is here to help. Our Columbia, SC attorneys take care of all the details, so you can receive the benefits you’re looking for without having to extend your pain and loss. To get started on your claim, contact our firm today. 

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