The loss of a loved one is a burden that a whole family must bear. What could make this tragic event even more complicated, however, is when you believe your loved one’s death may have been due to the careless or reckless actions of another.
If this situation sounds familiar to you, you should contact a Georgetown wrongful death lawyer. A personal injury attorney with professional experience in this field could discuss the logistics of your case, explain your legal rights, and options available. Depending on your situation, you may be able to bring a claim for compensation.
Wrongful Death Defined
In a typical personal injury lawsuit, a claim for losses is brought by the injured party against whom they believe to be responsible for their harm. In a wrongful death action, however, that victim is no longer available to file a suit. Despite their death, however, their cause of action survives as per the South Carolina Code of Laws §15-51-10.
Parties Who Can File a Claim
Under S.C. Code §15-51-20, a wrongful death suit may be brought by the named executor or administrator of an estate. If the deceased has a last will and testament, this person is generally named in the document.
If the individual died intestate, meaning without a will, however, usually a close family member is able to file to be the administrator. Alternatively, the court is able to appoint an executor. A Georgetown wrongful death attorney could further explain the specifics of who may bring this suit during consultation regarding the specific case.
Collecting Compensation Pending a Successful Claim
If a plaintiff proves their case before the jury, typically meaning that the defendant was found to have been negligent, the court would generally award damages, commonly known as compensable losses. Damages are effectively a form of financial compensation for both physical losses and psychological trauma that arose due to the harm. In some cases, a wrongful death lawyer from Georgetown may also be able to pursue exemplary damages as well if the defendant’s actions rose above mere negligence. However, because the deceased cannot collect this payout, the question becomes who will receive these funds instead. Under S.C. Code §15-51-40, damages are divided among the beneficiaries of the estate in equal shares as if the deceased had died intestate.
Frequently in a wrongful death case, the defendant may request a settlement rather than going through a full trial and publicly fighting the claim in court. Under S.C. Code §15-51-42, only the duly appointed personal representative of the estate, and not a Georgetown wrongful death lawyer, may approve the settlement. The plaintiff, however, may undoubtedly consult with their attorney for their professional opinion.
Call a Georgetown Wrongful Death Attorney Today
A Georgetown wrongful death lawyer understands that no amount of money is going to replace your loved one. Still, if your family wishes to bring this suit on behalf of your loved one, a local attorney may be able to help. So, to find out what could be done with your loved one’s claim, contact a personal injury lawyer today.