Unique Aspects of Rock Hill Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases are much different than other personal injury cases. A personal representative of the estate must be appointed by the probate court through the person’s will. If the individual died without a will, known as intestate, the closest relative can petition to be appointed as a personal representative of the estate to bring the claim for wrongful death and survival action against the offending party. Wrongful death requires the appointment of a personal representative to bring the action on behalf of the deceased. In other cases, a personal representative is not required.
If your loved one passed away due to the negligent actions of another party, contact a dedicated lawyer who is knowledgable about the unique aspects of Rock Hill wrongful death cases. A compassionate wrongful death lawyer could help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Leading Causes of Wrongful Death Cases in Rock Hill
The most common cause of a wrongful death in Rock Hill is a motor vehicle accident. Distracted driving and drunk drivers cause a significant number of deaths on the roads. Distracted driving has become a problem in recent years with smartphones being able to do so much more. Everyone seems to be on their phone while they are driving which causes distractions that may end up in a wrongful death claim. Other common causes of a wrongful death include:
Most recently, Roundup was discovered to cause cancer after substantial exposure which led to Roundup lawsuits. Talcum powder cases resulted in wrongful death cases. With the opioid crisis, large numbers of deaths have resulted from doctors over-prescribing opioids and creating an epidemic.
Due to the aging population, increased obligations are placed on nursing homes and they cannot keep up with the demands. This can lead to residents suffering infections, dehydration, and deaths.
Statute of Limitations in Wrongful Death Cases
The statute of limitations in a wrongful death action is three years unless the offending party is a state agency, charitable organization, or an employee of a state agency or charitable organization. A governmental entity is a federal, state, or local municipality, or a school district. Those cases fall under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act that reduces the statute up two years. There are some limitations in medical malpractice where the statute could be shortened if a claim is not initially filed with a Notice of Intent to Bring an Action filed within a certain period of time. Understanding the statute of limitations when it comes to a private or public entity is one of the unique aspects of Rock Hill wrongful death cases.
Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Rock Hill
There are no distinguishing differences in the way wrongful death cases are handled in Rock Hill compared to other jurisdictions. The claim is usually filed in York County Probate, where the deceased lived at the time of their death. When someone has an accident or dies in York County, depending on where the defendant lived, the action could be brought where the defendant is or where the deceased lived at the time.
The family must petition to get someone appointed as the personal representative of the estate in the county in which the deceased person resided at the time of their death.
What if the Person Dies Without a Will?
When a person dies without a will in Rock Hill, that is known as an individual having died intestate. Statutes govern who is eligible to serve as the personal representative. If the individual was married at the time, the spouse is the preferred person to serve as the personal representative of the estate. If the person did not have a spouse, a living adult child of the deceased is the next person who is preferred to serve as the personal representative. When there are no children, siblings may be allowed to serve.
When the decedent has no siblings, children, or spouse, a parent has the priority to serve. If the parent is petitioned to be appointed, they need to agree to serve as the personal representative. They have the right attend the hearing or waive their right to serve and allow the person petitioning to probate court to serve as the personal representative. The individual who agrees to serve as a personal representative has a fiduciary duty to all beneficiaries of the deceased and protect the survival action which belongs to the estate.
Settling a Wrongful Death Case
The location of a wrongful death case depends on different factors. In the circuit court, the case is heard in front of one of the judges in York County. Wrongful deaths must be approved in York County in Rock Hill. In Rock Hill, a wrongful death case is handled by the 16th Circuit Court in the York County Courthouse.
There is a filing fee of $150 for a wrongful death case. The case cannot be settled outside of court; it must be filed. If the case is litigated, the cost is substantially higher than a case settled outside of court. Either way, the case still has to be approved. If it settles without having to file a lawsuit or without having to litigate the case, that is usually better and usually happens when the insurance company admits liability and has a specific policy amount.
Call today for more information about the unique aspects of Rock Hill wrongful death cases and how an attorney could help you.