Rock Hill Wrongful Death Lawyer
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 to meet the strict requirements for a wrongful death suit under state law.
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 seen as a result of the accident, including a death. A Rock Hill wrongful death attorney could help family members of the deceased examine the circumstances behind the death to determine if another party carries responsibility.
Pursuing Damages in Court
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 wrongful death 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.
State law also strictly limits the amount of non-economic damages that a plaintiff may claim in certain wrongful death 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, 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.
There is also a strict time limit to pursue a claim. South Carolina Code §15-3-530 says that plaintiffs have three years from the date of death to pursue a case. A Rock Hill 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, wrongful 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 death 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 set up a case review with a compassionate attorney.