Rock Hill Wrongful Death Lawyer
We rely on our loved ones for emotional support, advice, financial support, and much more. When a loved one is taken from us, we feel devastated, lost, and scared. No amount of money can bring them back, but seeking wrongful death compensation can help provide some solace for our pain. It can also help shield you and your family from financial burdens related to unpaid medical bills, lost income, and more.
If you lost a loved one due to another person’s actions or negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation for your loss. A Rock Hill wrongful death lawyer could help you pursue a case for appropriate compensation as well as meet the strict requirements for a wrongful death suit under state law. Get in touch with one of our compassionate accident attorneys to learn more about the legal process of seeking justice.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
Losing a loved one to someone else’s negligence can be painful, confusing, and stressful. If you want to hold the at-fault parties accountable and recover compensation for your loved one’s death, you can file a wrongful death claim against all liable parties. But this process can put unnecessary stress on you and your family.
Here’s how a wrongful death lawyer can serve you:
- Collect evidence related to your loved one’s passing
- Investigate the negligent actions that caused their death
- Determine the amount of recoverable damages
- Advise you on your options for seeking compensation
- File insurance claims and negotiate a settlement
- File a wrongful death lawsuit against all liable parties
- Represent you in probate court hearings and advocate for your loved one
A wrongful death lawyer from our firm can handle all legal tasks on your family’s behalf so you can focus on healing. We can also ensure that every step is done correctly and on time to give you the best chance of recovering just compensation that reflects the impact of your loved one’s sudden passing.
Our Compassionate Approach to Wrongful Death Cases
At Schiller & Hamilton, we consider each client part of our family, and our hearts ache for your lost loved one. We’re proud to offer our full-service approach to you and your family during this emotionally challenging time. Some of the benefits you get when working with our team include:
- 20 years of experience and in-depth knowledge of wrongful death law in South Carolina
- 24/7 availability to answer your questions and provide case updates
- Free, no-obligation case review to explore your legal options
- Peace of mind knowing we are advocating for your family
- Legal counsel tailored to your family’s unique needs
- Attention to detail when calculating a just settlement
- No upfront costs for our legal advice and representation
Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
We know how painful it is to lose your loved one unexpectedly, and we will investigate their cause of death to identify negligence. Not every person’s passing is the result of negligent action, but we can help you seek justice for your loved one for these and other causes of death:
- Car accident
- Truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Bicycle or pedestrian accident
- Dog bite or attack
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous drugs and product liability injuries
- Slip and fall accident
- Work-related injury
- Intentional acts of violence, neglect, or recklessness
Requirements for a Wrongful Death Claim
While the death of a loved one is always a tragedy, not every loss can be the subject of a lawsuit. For example, if the decedent’s own actions caused their death, it cannot be the subject of a suit. A wrongful death action is only appropriate if the conduct of the defendant in the instance would have led to a personal injury claim had the decedent survived. Under South Carolina Code §15-51-10, it is necessary to examine the actions of defendants to determine if they were negligent in their conduct towards the decedent.
For example, the at-fault driver in a car accident case is responsible for any damage they caused, including a death. A dedicated attorney could help family members of the deceased examine the circumstances behind the fatal accident to determine if another party carries responsibility.
Some evidence we can gather to build a strong case against responsible parties include:
- Your loved one’s death certificate
- Medical records depicting injury or illness that led to their death
- Witness testimony of the incident
- Photographs or video footage of the incident
- Expert testimony
Who Can I Sue for My Loved One’s Wrongful Death?
We must prove that another party acted or failed to act, causing the incident that cost your loved one’s life. To do this, we must demonstrate that:
- The party owed your loved one a duty of care to preserve their safety.
- The party violated that duty of care, either intentionally or unintentionally.
- Your loved one died due to this violation of duty of care.
- You or your family suffered financial and emotional damage from your loved one’s death.
Depending on the cause of your loved one’s death, we may be able to hold the following parties accountable and seek compensation through claims, negotiations, or a lawsuit:
- A driver or other motorist, including if they were impaired while on the road
- A driver’s employer if they were on duty during the accident
- A bicyclist or pedestrian
- The company that designed, manufactured, and/or packaged a defective product
- A medical professional and the facility at which they worked at the time of the malpractice incident
- The person or place that sold or served alcohol to a drunk driver
- An attacker or other person who intended to harm your loved one
Pursuing Damages in Rock Hill Courts
Wrongful death cases are among the most complex in personal injury law. First, it is necessary to select a proper plaintiff since the decedent cannot press the claim on their own. It falls to a surviving person to serve as a plaintiff. According to South Carolina Code §15-51-20, only the executor of the decedent’s estate can be a plaintiff in a suit. A decedent may name an executor of their estate in a will, or a court may appoint an administrator for the express purpose of pursuing a claim.
Generally, a surviving family member or other named heir is named executor in a will. In addition, only surviving family members and other heirs can recover compensation for their loved one’s death. These people include:
- Spouse or child/children of the deceased
- Parents of the deceased
- Legal heirs, who may include distant relatives, if there are no spouses, children, or parents
The compensation may be split among surviving family members. For instance, a wrongful death lawsuit that seeks compensation on behalf of a deceased’s spouse and children may award half the compensation to the surviving spouse and the other half to the surviving children, which is split equally among them. A spouse who wins a wrongful death lawsuit may be awarded the full amount.
Recoverable Economic Damages
Your loved one’s passing may have had a profound effect on many aspects of your life, including financially. We can calculate the economic damages related to your loved one’s death and pursue claims or a lawsuit to try to recover this amount. You may be entitled to:
- Medical bills for your loved one’s injury or illness prior to their passing
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support, including household income
- Loss of benefits, including health insurance, retirement income, and more
- Loss of inheritance
While there are many types of economic damages you could recover, we cannot give you an estimate of how much you may be entitled to until we review your case. We’re happy to review your wrongful death claim and estimate how much compensation you may be entitled to. We’ll aim for that figure during negotiations or in probate court.
Are There Caps on Non-Economic Damages?
State law also strictly limits the amount of non-economic damages that a plaintiff may claim in certain cases. If the death was the result of medical malpractice, the court limits non-economic damages to $350,000. This includes mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of physical support (like taking care of the home), and other suffering endured by surviving family members.
Courts can also order the payment of punitive damages in cases of extreme recklessness or intentional harm. The law limits these damages to $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Case?
There is also a strict time limit to pursue a claim and seek wrongful death compensation. South Carolina Code §15-3-530 says that plaintiffs have three years from the date of death to pursue a case. A lawyer with experience handling wrongful death claims could help ensure a case is filed on time, with the correct plaintiff, and for appropriate compensation.
Reach Out to a Rock Hill Wrongful Death Attorney
A sudden death can be devastating for the surviving family. The costs associated with hospital care, a funeral, and even lost income may result in an economic crisis at a time when family members deserve time to leave. If another party is responsible for the death, they may have an obligation to provide compensation.
However, not every fatality is another party’s fault. A Rock Hill wrongful death lawyer could help you to examine the circumstances behind the death to determine the responsible party. They could then move to demand full payments in settlement talks and in court. Contact Schiller & Hamilton today to learn about recovering compensation.