Losing a loved one is always hard, no matter the circumstances, but the situation could be made worse when others are responsible for the unexpected death. You and other family members of the deceased may be eligible to seek compensation for your unanticipated loss. The assistance of a Florence wrongful death lawyer can make a significant difference in your ability to obtain compensation for the death of your family member.
As these claims can be complicated and time-sensitive, enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible following an accidental death is crucial for a favorable outcome.
Wrongful Death Claims in Florence
When individuals illegally or negligently cause accidents that led to the death of others, they may have a basis for a wrongful death claim under S.C. Code § 15-51-10. Surviving family members might be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim in any situation in which the deceased would have qualified to file a personal injury claim if they had survived their injuries. A wrongful death lawyer in Florence may be able to determine whether a viable wrongful death claim exists in a specific case.
S.C. Code § 15-51-20 authorizes the administrators or executors of the estate of the deceased to file wrongful death claims on behalf of immediate family members of the deceased. Either the deceased selects an administrator in a will, or the court will appoint an administrator of the estate. Typically, surviving immediate family members include spouses and children of the deceased, but if the deceased had no surviving spouse or children, then the potential right to compensation would fall to other heirs of the deceased.
Recoverable Losses in Wrongful Death Cases
While individuals filing wrongful death claims and personal injury claims both seek compensation from negligent parties, the damages that they could request in wrongful death cases are different than those in personal injury cases. In a wrongful death claim, surviving heirs may be able to seek compensation for damages such as:
- Final medical expenses of the deceased
- Burial and funeral costs
- Loss of future household income and emotional support
- Emotional distress, pain, and suffering
Some wrongful death claims also carry the potential for a punitive damages award. For instance, if the evidence that indicates that the individuals responsible for the fatal accident acted with recklessness or maliciousness in causing the accident, punitive damages may be appropriate. A wrongful death attorney in Florence could analyze the types of damages that may be available in a wrongful death claim and help surviving family members pursue those claims.
Statute of Limitations and Wrongful Death Claims
Like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims are subject to a strict statute of limitations or timeframe under South Carolina law. S.C. Code of Laws § 15-3-20 states that estate administrators for the deceased have only three years in which to file their wrongful death claims.
Due to this legal deadline, individuals should not hesitate to contact legal counsel if they believe that they have a viable wrongful death claim. Failure to file a wrongful death claim during those three years could result in losing the ability to file a claim for compensation, regardless of the level of negligence involved in the fatal accident.
Talk to a Florence Wrongful Death Attorney for Help
When a preventable accident takes the life of your loved one, you are likely to feel shocked, devastated, and angry. The death is likely to pose a considerable disruption to your life and may place your family in financial jeopardy. A Florence wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you navigate this uncertain situation and get the compensation that you deserve for such a significant loss.