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The basics of wrongful death in South Carolina

People who lose a close family member due to someone's negligence are entitled to sue for wrongful death under South Carolina law.
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    January 10, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The basics of wrongful death in South Carolina

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If you have lost a loved one unexpectedly, you know how hard the grieving process can be. If someone else's negligence or carelessness caused the death, this process is even more difficult. If this is the case, you may wonder if you have a claim against the responsible party for your financial and emotional loss. Fortunately, under South Carolina law, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover many of your losses.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that is intended to compensate a deceased person's dependents for the harm suffered because of the death. Under South Carolina law, this type of lawsuit may be brought when a person's death is caused by the default, neglect or wrongful act of another and the deceased person would have been able to sue the responsible party for damages caused by the act had he or she lived. Common situations leading to wrongful death lawsuits are deaths caused by car accidents, medical malpractice and dangerous or defective products.

Although the responsible party may also face criminal charges in some cases, this does not affect the right to file or the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who may file and recover?

Under South Carolina law, the executor or person who administers the deceased's estate must file all wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of the deceased's dependents. Any damages awarded in the lawsuit are limited to the deceased's spouse and children. However, if the deceased did not have a spouse or children, the damages may be awarded to his or her parents. Under the law, these family members receive a share of the damages in the same proportion as they would have received had the decedent died without a will.

What damages are available?

Under the law, eligible parties may recover many types of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit for their losses such as:
-The deceased's medical and funeral expenses
-Pain and suffering
-Loss of financial support
-Loss of love and companionship
-Loss of services performed by the decedent

If the conduct of the party responsible for the death was willful, malicious or reckless, the survivors may also recover punitive damages (i.e. damages intended to punish the wrongdoer).

Consult an attorney

Although a wrongful death lawsuit will not bring your loved one back, it can provide the financial security to allow you to move on with your life. If you have lost a loved one because of negligence or carelessness, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you of your situation and work to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for their negligence.

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