Bluffton Wrongful Death Lawyer
The death of a family member can be made all the more tragic when it happens unexpectedly, and especially if it occurs because another person acted recklessly or negligently. In this kind of situation, you may want to speak with a Bluffton wrongful death lawyer to discuss your options to assert a legal claim for damages against the at-fault party or parties. Contact a compassionate personal injury attorney to schedule an introductory consultation.
Bluffton Wrongful Death Laws
South Carolina Code §15-51-10 defines wrongful death as one caused by another’s wrongful act, default, or neglect. The wrongful act must have been a type of action for which a personal injury claim could have been filed had the victim survived.
Under S.C. Code §15-3-530, a wrongful death claim in Bluffton must be filed by the statutory deadline expires. To comply with this legal time limit, a Bluffton attorney filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s family must do so within three years of the date of the victim’s death. If the case is not filed before the end of this three-year window, the court may refuse to hear the plaintiff’s claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Bluffton, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate. The administrator or executor is typically named in the decedent’s estate plan. If the victim did not have an estate plan or the named administrator is unable to or does not wish to serve, the court may name one on the decedent’s behalf.
Who Recovers Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim?
While the administrator or executor is the one who asserts a wrongful death claim in court, they would actually pursue the claim on behalf of the decedent’s surviving family members. Surviving members of the decedent’s family who could recover damages in a Bluffton wrongful death case include the surviving spouse and children of the decedent, the surviving parents of the decedent (if there is no spouse or children), and the heirs at law of the decedent (if there are no parents, spouse, or children). Parents may also recover damages in a wrongful death case even if their child was an adult at the time of their death.
Compensable Damages Available
Damages that could be awarded in a successful wrongful death claim may include compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses and bills related to the decedent’s final illness or injury
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Property damage and other financial losses stemming from the death
- Loss of the decedent’s companionship, care, and protection
- Loss of the decedent’s knowledge, experience, and judgment
- Mental anguish, pain, and suffering incurred by the decedent’s surviving family members
If the conduct that resulted in the victim’s death was reckless or deliberate, a wrongful death lawyer in Bluffton may be able to help a plaintiff seek punitive damages as well. Unlike the other types of damages mentioned, punitive damages are not awarded to compensate the estate or surviving family for losses stemming from the victim’s untimely death but are instead intended to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future. Contact a knowledgeable injury lawyer for help with recovering damages.
Get in Touch with a Dedicated Bluffton Wrongful Death Attorney
If a family member lost their life as a result of another individual’s negligent or reckless conduct, a compassionate Bluffton wrongful death lawyer could pursue justice on behalf of your loved one, your family, and yourself. Once retained, the legal team at Schiller & Hamilton could help ease your emotional distress during this difficult time and work to ensure you receive fair compensation. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation.