Have You Experienced the Untimely Loss of a Loved One? Let Us a Wrongful Death Law Firm Help.
There is nothing more devastating than the unexpected passing of a loved one. If you have lost someone important to you, you are (rightly) feeling pain and confusion. Let us help.
While we can’t bring your loved one back, we can ease your hardship and take the responsibility of seeking justice for your loss. We’ll carry your burden. A wrongful death attorney knows you need attentive help without adding chaos to your already disrupted life.
What Is Wrongful Death?
To put it simply, wrongful death is when a fatality occurs due to the harmful actions of another person, business entity or company. This can also be due to negligent behavior. Wrongful death claims may result from several different circumstances including:
- A death due to medical malpractice
- An airplane or car/truck/motorcycle accident
- Hazardous conditions and exposure to substances in the workplace
- Criminal behaviors
- A death due to someone failing to supervise an activity or event
You may have heard the term “wrongful death” when it applied to the civil action lawsuit that families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman filed against O.J. Simpson. Or in regards to the wrongful death suit the family of Michael Jackson issued against concert promoting giant AEG Live upon his death. Or the well-known Ford Pinto cases of the 1970s in which several claims asserted the auto giant made faulty vehicles while aware of the danger they posed on the road. Each of these cases is an example of the kind of actions that are grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
I Think I Need a Wrongful Death Attorney… What’s Next?
In 2013, over 130,557 individuals lost their life unintentionally. The causes include falling, traffic-related and work-related accidents and unintentional poisoning. If you have lost a loved one due to the faulty actions of another, an experienced wrongful death lawyer will review your case with no risk to you. The most important element to your case is the concept of “negligent behavior.” A wrongful death attorney will assess if negligence played a role in the passing of your loved one. An attorney must prove negligence in order for a spouse, child or family member to receive damages.
What Is “Negligence” in Wrongful Death Cases, and Why Is It Important?
To receive compensatory damages on behalf of a victim, a wrongful death lawyer must prove that a negligent act has occurred. This is especially essential in South Carolina. Unlike the majority of states, in South Carolina, damages are only awarded if the defendant is deemed to be 100 percent responsible for the wrongful death. This is known as “contributory negligence.”
In six U.S. states, if the injured party is deemed to have slightly contributed to the negligent act, they are denied judgment and, in turn, denied payment. It is crucial that you work with a legal team that understands the importance of being thorough when investigating and proving your case.
A wrongful death attorney must show the following four things to be true to prove that negligence occurred:
- The defendant must be directly responsible for the death of the victim.
- The death was wholly caused by the defendant; in the state of South Carolina, the victim must have made no contribution to his or her death.
- The victim’s death caused monetary damages for his or her spouse, family, children or loved ones.
- A family member, spouse or child was affected by the death and they, in turn, quality for damages.
Four Common Causes of Wrongful Death
This includes all motor vehicles, trucks and motorcycles. When drivers fail to follow rules of the road, exercise caution or drive while distracted or intoxicated, they increase the chances of causing a fatal accident while behind the wheel. In 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 30,000 traffic fatalities alone.
While there are certain jobs that are considered “high risk,” workplace accidents can happen in any employment environment whether indoors or outdoors or in “white” or “blue collar” professions.
Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces strict guidelines to keep employees safe, accidents happen every day. Manual labor occupation groups such as construction, trucking, electrical and mining are often the most visible examples of where a workplace accident might occur.
When we buy a product, we do so under the reasonable assumption that it will be safe for our use. When it is not… negligence has occurred. A car with a manufacturer defect, for example, or a piece of furniture that tumbles when under (normal) pressure. When an entity sells a product with a defective design or production flaw, a case for negligence can be established.
We reach out to medical professionals in our darkest hours to heal us when we are sick, and look out for the well-being of our loved ones. Sometimes these professionals do not provide treatment up to the standards of practice. When a patient dies as a result of this deficiency and a failure to provide satisfactory treatment has occurred, grounds for wrongful death and negligence are established.
Understanding the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Criminal Cases
If both a wrongful death suit and a criminal case come as the result of a death, what is the difference between them? It is easy to get confused here. The answer is simple and has to do with two things; the parties involved in the suit and the “burden of proof” at a trial.
Who Files the Suit?
In a wrongful death suit, the person filing (the one initiating the suit) is an individual entity; a loved one, spouse, family member or child of the victim. In criminal lawsuits, where an act of murder has taken place, the case is instituted by a government entity on behalf of the state and victims.
Wrongful death is a civil lawsuit, person to person/entity, and the end judgment does not result in incarceration. A criminal lawsuit is instituted by criminal prosecutors working for the government. The end of a criminal case can be incarceration.
What Is the Burden of Proof?
The “burden of proof” is the obligation to prove one’s claim. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is traditionally higher. In the civil lawsuits of wrongful death, an attorney must prove that the defendant is “more likely than not,” or 51 percent, responsible for the negligent act. This applies in all but six states, including South Carolina, where the burden of proof must be 100 percent. In a criminal lawsuit, the burden of proof must be “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant is responsible for the action.
There is nothing that an attorney can do to ease the pain of losing a loved one. All that can we can do is to lighten the load a loss has brought to a family by seeking compensation and justice. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent act of another, we can help.
Our team of wrongful death attorneys are here to assist you during this trying time. No risk. No pressures. No heavy-handed sales. We are a legal team that has your best interests at heart. Call us today! We’ll review your case and discuss your options.
Remember, we receive no compensation unless you do. From start to finish, Bill Green and his experienced legal team will handle every detail of your case to make sure you get the compensation you deserve and are treated fairly and with respect. Call us today at 888-800-2455, and connect with a member of our team. Help is on the way!