Our Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions
The sudden loss of a loved one leaves people with difficult questions. We tackle some of the toughest questions we get in these FAQs to help people just beginning the process understand the steps they need to take, what can be gained by filing a claim, and why Hite & Stone is the right choice to help them with their claims.
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A member of my family was killed in an accident. Can I file a claim on my loved one’s behalf?
Possibly. When someone is killed in an accident caused by another person or organization’s negligence, South Carolina law allows surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Accident-related medical expenses incurred by the deceased prior to death.
- Accident-related property damages and other losses.
- Funeral fees.
- Burial or cremation costs.
- Lost wages and benefits.
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Loss of experience, judgment, and guidance.
- Loss of care and companionship.
However, not everyone who is related to the deceased is eligible to file a wrongful death claim in South Carolina. State law limits the right to bring a wrongful death claim to the executor of the deceased’s estate. This executor—also known as a personal representative or estate administrator—pursues the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased’s surviving family members. If the wrongful death lawsuit is successful, the decedent’s following family members would be eligible to recover damages:
- Surviving spouse and children.
- Parents (in the event that the deceased has no surviving spouse or children).
- Legal heirs (in the event that the deceased has no surviving spouse, children or parents).
Do You Need an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney?
At Hite and Stone, we understand just how traumatic and stressful it can be to lose a loved one because of someone else’s reckless actions. While no amount of restitution could ever make up for the loss of your loved one, the compensation pursued in a wrongful death claim can help ensure that your family has the means to move forward financially after such a tragedy. Contact Hite and Stone, Attorneys at Law, today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation. We’re eager to help you explore your legal options and fight for whatever compensation you deserve.
Who is eligible to file a wrongful death suit?
When someone is killed in a tragic accident caused by another person’s wrongful act or negligence, his death can have a significant emotional and financial impact on their surviving family members. A wrongful death lawsuit allows family members to pursue compensation for financial losses incurred as a result of their loved one’s untimely death, as well as for non-economic damages such as loss of care, companionship, and protection.
However, in South Carolina, the only person eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the executor of the deceased’s estate. The executor—who may also be called a personal representative or estate administrator—must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind, and is often named in the deceased’s will or estate plan. The court may choose to appoint an executor in the event that there is no will or estate plan, the existing will or estate plan doesn’t name an executor, or the named executor is unable or unwilling to carry out his duties.
Statute of Limitation Laws in South Carolina
According to South Carolina’s statute of limitation laws, executors have three years from the date of the deceased’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Also, although the executor is the one who brings the wrongful death action, the lawsuit will pursue compensation on behalf of deceased’s surviving family members. In South Carolina, family members eligible to recover compensation in a wrongful death case include:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse or children.
- The deceased’s surviving parents, if the deceased had no surviving spouse or children.
- The deceased’s heirs, if the deceased had no surviving spouse, children, or parents.
Knowledgeable Wrongful Death Attorneys
If your loved one died in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions or neglect, your family may be eligible for compensation for a wide range of damages, including funeral and burial or cremation expenses, lost wages and benefits, mental and emotional anguish, and more. Hite & Stone, Attorneys at Law, can help you explore your legal options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial analysis of your case.