When a loved one dies, questions may arise as to whether someone else is at fault. Wrongdoing by someone other than the deceased may give rise to a wrongful death action. Wrongful deaths happen in many ways – car accidents, bus accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, incidents or abuse at nursing homes and childcare facilities.
After a family member’s death, you may find yourself bearing heavy financial burdens, let alone the emotional hardships of losing your loved one. A Columbia wrongful death lawyer could help people like you who suffer from the loss of a family member because of another’s wrongful actions. Reach out to a lawyer today.
Wrongful Death Actions in Columbia
A deceased person’s surviving immediate family members – husband, wife, or child – are the beneficiaries to a wrongful death action, according to Section 15-51-20 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Generally, the executor brings the wrongful death action and must do so within three years of the date of death, according to S.C. Code §15-51-20 and §15-3-530(6).
Types of Wrongful Death Actions
Wrongful death actions result from the negligent, reckless, or willful acts of another person or entity. A Columbia wrongful death attorney could review the information surrounding the cause of death and determine whether negligence exists. Under the laws of comparative negligence, negligence on both sides is considered and evaluated. As long as the deceased contributed no more than 50 percent to the cause of death, then fault remains with the wrongdoer and damages are distributed accordingly.
Many types of accidents result in wrongful deaths, such as auto accidents, bus accidents, pedestrian accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Wrongful deaths occur at places like hospitals, doctor offices, nursing homes, and childcare facilities because of negligence or abuse.
Whatever the place or cause, a Columbia wrongful death lawyer could gather specific information to establish fault. Medical records, industry standards, surveillance videos – and much more – take time and scrutiny to review but could all be considered. Sometimes, experts advise on whether an individual acted negligently. Large amounts of effort go into the process of determining wrongful conduct and then proving it.
Types of Recoverable Losses
Two main types of damages exist in wrongful death actions – economic and non-economic – and may include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical or hospital bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of support
- Mental suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
Placing a number figure on some of the damages is straightforward, such as medical bills and funeral costs. The more difficult damages to calculate, such as loss of companionship and mental suffering, depending on the information presented to the jury or during the negotiation stages in the settlement.
When addressing the issue of damages, a Columbia wrongful death lawyer gathers the medical bills, funeral bills, income and benefits-related documents, and also factors the projected lifespan and earnings of the deceased. All of this information – and more – is used to argue the amount of damages.
Either a jury reaches a verdict, deciding the amount of damages, or the parties to the wrongful death action reach a settlement. The court must approve any settlement reached, according to S.C. Code §15-51-42.
Get Help for Your Situation
You are undoubtedly hurting from the loss of your loved one. Far before the jury sees and hears evidence and testimony or settlement negotiations begin, a Columbia wrongful death attorney could take the time to review all the relevant documents and information necessary to seek compensation for you. Make time to reach out to a Columbia wrongful death lawyer who could help find out the answers to the questions that bother you.