No matter what circumstances are involved, the sudden loss of a loved one is an immensely tragic and stressful experience, not to mention potentially an expensive one as well. If your family member lost their life directly because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to hold the responsible party liable for both financial expenses and personal losses stemming from your loved one’s death.
Recovering civil compensation following a wrongful death can be a confusing and complicated endeavor, and it can be hard for bereaved family members to file suit successfully without professional help from a dedicated injury attorney. Once retained, a compassionate North Charleston wrongful death lawyer could help you and your family understand your legal options and work tirelessly on your behalf to secure a favorable case outcome.
When Can a Wrongful Death Suit Be Filed in North Charleston?
Since a wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury case, the basic grounds on which one can be filed are the same as most other personal injury lawsuits—namely, someone else’s negligent behavior leading directly to an accident and subsequent compensable losses. However, when an accident borne of negligence has fatal consequences, the family members of the decedent are the ones with grounds to file suit rather than the party directly impacted by the accident in question.
Under South Carolina Code of Laws §15-51-20, the surviving spouse and/or adult children of a wrongful death victim may seek civil compensation on their deceased loved one’s behalf. If no surviving spouse or child is available, the right to file passes to the decedent’s surviving parent(s), and then—if there are no surviving parents—the decedent’s heirs. Regardless of whom a wrongful death lawsuit will benefit, the case must be filed and pursued by the executor of the decedent’s estate, ideally with assistance from a wrongful death attorney in North Charleston.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Versus Survival Actions
When someone pursues a wrongful death lawsuit, they are technically not pursuing compensation on behalf of a deceased individual, but rather seeking compensation for losses they sustained as a result of the decedent’s death. This can include both past economic expenditures like medical and funeral expenses paid on behalf of the decedent prior to their death, as well as future economic and non-economic losses like:
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of financial support from the decedent
- Loss of care and companionship
- Lost of household services
- Punitive damages, in cases involving extreme negligence or willful conduct by the defendant
In order to recover for expenses and losses the decedent suffered between the date they suffered fatal injuries and the date they passed away, a surviving family member would need to pursue a survival action as a separate but related claim. Through a survival action, a wrongful death attorney in the local area may be able to help seek restitution for the decedent’s medical bills, physical pain, and emotional suffering prior to their death.
Learn More from a Qualified North Charleston Wrongful Death Attorney
If you recently lost a loved one in an accident someone else caused, it is more than understandable to be unsure of what to do next or what legal options are even available to you. Even if you do decide to move forward with wrongful death litigation, it can be hard for anyone to achieve a positive case outcome without guidance from a legal professional.
No matter the circumstances, a seasoned North Charleston wrongful death lawyer could work relentlessly to pursue a case resolution that serves you and your family’s best interests. Confidential consultations can be scheduled online or by phone, so call whenever you are ready to set up yours.