It is never easy to lose a loved one. This is especially true if a death was caused by the reckless negligence of someone else. At Hite & Stone, we stand alongside families during this difficult time. Though no amount of compensation can make up for what you’ve lost, we want to help you gain financial security in the wake of your great loss. Our wrongful death lawyers are experienced victims’ advocates, and we can help you seek justice.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
The sudden, accidental death of a loved one always feels wrong, but not every death is legally considered to be wrongful. In order for surviving family members to be able to file a claim for compensation for their loss, the death must have been caused by the negligent actions or wrongdoing of another person. Even if the other person did not intend to cause harm to the victim, he or she can still be held liable because lack of malice does not insulate someone against charges.
A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in the following situations:
- A fatal car accident. When a driver is speeding, reckless, distracted, impaired, or negligent in another way and causes a fatal crash, he may be sued for wrongful death.
- An act of homicide. Separate from the criminal charges the accused faces, he may also be sued for damages in civil court. While the criminal charge will lead to prison or worse, the civil charge will lead to compensation being paid to the victim’s family from the accused person’s assets.
- Fatal exposure to hazardous materials. If a worker is exposed to toxic substances in the course of employment and it ultimately costs him his life, his employer may be held responsible for his death.
- The death of a patient due to medical malpractice. When a doctor or other medical provider acts in a way that other medical professionals in similar circumstances would not act and a patient dies, the family may sue for wrongful death damages.
- A child who died in foster care. When foster children are neglected or abused and die as a result, the foster parents and other people responsible for her care can be held liable for wrongful death.
- A death that occurred at work. Unsafe work conditions can lead to employee injuries and death. Employers can be held responsible under workers’ compensation law.
Any death that occurs during a supervised activity would also be a candidate for a wrongful death suit. Generally, any accident that would have led to a personal injury lawsuit if the victim had survived is eligible for a wrongful death claim.
How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Work in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the executor of the deceased person’s will on behalf of surviving family members. If the deceased does not have a will or has not named an executor, the court will appoint one.
The following family members may sue for wrongful death:
- The surviving spouse and children of the deceased person
- The surviving parents of the deceased person, if there is no spouse or child
- Other blood relatives of the deceased person, if there are no parents, spouse, or children
Liability in a wrongful death case is expressed as monetary damages. A family member may recover the following damages in South Carolina:
- Medical bills incurred between the accident and death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages and benefits
- Loss of the deceased person’s companionship and support
- Pain and suffering of the surviving family members
Hite & Stone Is Here for You in Your Time of Loss
If the death of your spouse, child, or parent was caused by the negligence or malice of someone else, talk to our wrongful death lawyer about your legal rights. At Hite & Stone, we’ve been serving victims in South Carolina since 1982 and would be honored to support you as you recover from a tragic loss.