York County Wrongful Death Lawyer
The unexpected loss of a loved one has the potential to change everything about the lives of surviving family members. However, family members may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Unfortunately, effectively pursuing these cases can be very complicated. Even if it is clear that a defendant is liable for a death, plaintiffs will still need to accurately measure their damages to pursue a claim for appropriate compensation. Simply choosing a proper plaintiff can be complex, and that plaintiff must act solely for the benefit of a decedent’s estate.
A York County wrongful death lawyer could relieve some of your stress by handling the details of your case. An experienced attorney could work to gather evidence that points to a defendant’s liability, choose a proper defendant, and make powerful demands for the compensation needed to bring comfort to your family.
Wrongful Death as a Cause of Action
Any time a plaintiff brings a claim for damages to a York County civil court, they must cite an established cause of action. Wrongful death claims are no different. State law defines a wrongful death as any instance where a decedent could have brought a personal injury claim against a defendant had they survived.
As a result, common incidents that may lead to a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Medical mistakes
- Dangerous products
- Accidents at businesses
The burden of proof in these cases always lies with the plaintiff. That plaintiff needs to prove that the actions of the defendant led to the death. A York County wrongful death attorney could help families establish that the defendant’s negligence directly led to their loss.
Available Forms of Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to bring comfort in the form of monetary payments to a decedent’s estate. This includes payments for direct damages such as medical bills, medication costs, and funeral bills. However, these losses comprise only the direct damages available in a claim.
Other available damages include:
- Lost wages or earning potential
- Loss of companionship or guidance
- Payments meant to comfort the family’s emotional pain
State law places a strict limit of $350,000 on all non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim. However, pursuing these damages may be a more complex matter than it first appears.
Choosing the proper plaintiff to file a case in court is an important first step. According to SC Code Ann. §15-51-20, only the executor of the deceased person’s estate can serve as a plaintiff. An executor may be a person named in a will, or a court may appoint this person during probate.
Finally, there is always a limited time following a death to file a claim for damages. Known as the statute of limitations, SC Code Ann. §15-3-530 allows plaintiffs only three years to file a case in court. A York County wrongful death lawyer could provide guidance as to the special rules of law that govern wrongful death claims.
Let a York County Wrongful Death Attorney Fight for Your Family’s Future
The impact of a wrongful death can be difficult to measure. Families must deal with any outstanding medical bills or funeral costs, but the economic impact is unlikely to end there. Families may also suffer from lost income due to the death of a wage earner.
A York County wrongful death lawyer could help your family pursue the compensation needed to help you move forward. They could gather evidence of the defendant fault, take an accurate measurement of your losses, and work to meet the state’s strict procedural laws concerning wrongful death claims. Call Schiller & Hamilton today to discuss your claim.