The Role of the Law in a Wrongful Death Suit

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There are no words of comfort that can bring back the loss of loved ones. You have been robbed of their life, their love and their presence; nothing anyone can say will sooth your pain. There are, however, laws that can protect you, and work to repair some of the damage their absence leaves in its wake.

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On this page, we will review some of the details of how laws play a role in a wrongful death suit and how an experienced wrongful death attorney can help ease your burden.

What the Law Says About…Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The South Carolina Code of Laws delineates that “wrongful death” is when a person loses his or her life due to the “wrongful act, neglect or default” of another. A simpler way to think about this is that a wrongful death case is akin to a personal injury case except, here, the victim is no longer alive to represent himself or herself. Therefore, someone else must file a claim on behalf of the interests of the deceased person.

Wrongful death claims in South Carolina may be initiated and filed by the executor or estate administrator of the person who has deceased. This expression sounds complex, but it is a way to describe the person who has been designated to manage assets of the deceased person until they have been distributed to any and all inheritors. In plain language, if the person who has passed has a will naming someone to be in charge of the assets, this person may file a wrongful death claim. If the person does not have a will, and someone is not formally a designated administrator, then the courts and a judge will name someone to be responsible for this.

Here’s the catch to remember; while an executor or administrator files the claim, the claim itself is pursued on behalf of the family members who have survived the deceased person. According to South Carolina law, the family members who can recover damages include:

  • A surviving spouse;
  • Surviving children;
  • Parents of the survived deceased, if they had no spouse or children or
  • An heir of the deceased individual, if none of the above are present.

Note that the law stipulates clearly that a parent who abandons his or her child before the age of 18 may not participate in any wrongful death claim!

What the Law Says About…Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

In the state of South Carolina, the law is clear; a claim must be filed within the legal time limit of three years. This means that a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within three years, or it will not be heard by the court. To make sure your wrongful death suit is not denied because you have missed a deadline, contact the team at Green Law Firm immediately!

How the Law… Handles Wrongful Death Damages

When it comes to damages about a wrongful death suit, compensation is strictly monetary.
This is one of the main differentiating points between a wrongful death claim and a criminal case. Wrongful death cases are civil actions and are claims between two persons. A criminal case is an action between a person and the state, which brings a case on behalf of a victim. Civil cases can only result in the awarding of monetary damages, while a criminal case can result in fines, penalties or imprisonment.

If the deciding court believes that the death was caused by reckless behavior or was a deliberate action, they may also award exemplary damages; these are more commonly known as “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are not “awarded” on behalf of the estate or family of the victim. They are monies given to the estate or family to punish the responsible party for their wrongdoing.

Examples of damages in wrongful death cases include monies to compensate for:

  • The pain and suffering of family members survived by the deceased
  • Any medical bills or expenses that relate to the deceased individual’s final passing
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits the deceased person can no longer provide to their surviving family or beneficiaries
  • Miscellaneous financial losses or property damages associated with the death
  • The loss of companionship, care, protection, knowledge and judgment as it relates to the personal relationship the deceased had with family or surviving beneficiaries.

The Wrongful Death Lawyers at Green Law Firm Are Here for You!

There is no amount of money that can bring your spouse, family member or loved one back. What it can do, however, is to help ease your financial burden, and make right a wrong. The team at Green Law Firm will handle your case with the utmost respect, care and compassion. As you grieve, we will work our hardest to make your case as clear, simple and stress-free as possible. You focus on honoring the memory of your loved one; Bill Green will worry about the details! Call us today for a free case review. No money is required for us to begin your claim. We are compensated based only on any money awarded to you. We wish you peace and grace during this challenging time!

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