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Wrongful death statutes are what allow surviving dependent family members to take civil action against an individual or a business responsible for someone’s death. These laws allow people to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for provable losses related to their loved one’s tragic death.

Every state has a wrongful death statute permitting some legal action when someone’s decision to break the law, failure to act or negligence causes someone else’s death. However, South Carolina’s law is different than similar laws in other states. What makes the law unique is how the state limits which people have a right to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.

Family members aren’t the ones who file lawsuits in South Carolina

In most states, someone who loses their spouse, parent or child will be the one to file a wrongful death claim. Usually, only immediate family members and dependents are the ones with the right to take such action. However, South Carolina has a different approach.

It is the executor of the deceased person’s estate who must bring the wrongful death action against the responsible party. Sometimes, when the person already has an estate plan in place, they name their own executor. Other times, the South Carolina probate courts will have to name an executor to handle the estate.

If there is evidence that someone else is to blame for the death, the executor can make a claim against the responsible party on behalf of the estate and then distribute any compensation received among dependent family members such as spouses, children and parents.

Wrongful death lawsuits protect families and give them justice

Losing a loved one could cause years of financial hardship for your family. You could lose income, health insurance and help around the house, all of which could be crucial to your family’s standard of living or ability to pay their mortgage.

In a successful wrongful death lawsuit, family members receive financial compensation for the loss they have suffered to replace lost wages, cover property damage costs and pay for medical bills incurred before someone died. A ruling against someone who causes a death can also give a family closure and a sense of justice when they experience a tragedy.