Wrongful Death Lawyer

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wrongful death

If your loved one died as a result of someone else’s actions or carelessness, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. 

At Maxey McFarland Law Firm, a Greenville, SC, wrongful death lawyer is available to offer the compassionate representation you deserve now. Call us today at 864-387-8362 to get started with a free case review. 

Table Of Contents

    What Is Wrongful Death in South Carolina? 

    According to South Carolina law, wrongful death occurs when someone’s death results from another party’s wrongful:

    • Act,
    • Neglect, or
    • Default, 

    and the injury that resulted in death would have entitled the deceased to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. 

    Common Causes of Wrongful Death 

    A wrongful death can be the result of a wide variety of types of accidents and circumstances. Common causes of wrongful death include:

    If the cause of someone’s passing falls could have resulted in a personal injury claim, you may have a valid wrongful death case. If the cause of your loved one’s death is not on this list, don’t assume that you have no case. Contact the Maxey McFarland Law office to talk with an attorney about whether your loved one’s death could be the subject of a wrongful death claim. 

    Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Greenville, SC? 

    The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate may file a wrongful death action in South Carolina. If the deceased’s will named an executor, they can file the wrongful death lawsuit. If it didn’t, the court can appoint an administrator to handle all the duties of the executor, including filing a wrongful death claim. 

    The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit on behalf of the following parties:

    • The surviving spouse and child/children of the deceased
    • The surviving parents of the deceased, if there is no surviving spouse and/or children
    • Any other surviving heirs, if none of the above  

    There are unique circumstances in which a parent may not be eligible to receive compensation after a child’s wrongful death. This may be the case if the deceased left no will and a parent didn’t provide for a child’s needs when they were a minor. The other parent or another “party of potential” interest may file a motion accordingly. They can do so to stop a parent who played a limited role in a child’s life from receiving compensation based on their death. 

    Compensation Available in a South Carolina Wrongful Death Case 

    The losses for which you may seek compensation when filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit can depend on various factors. You may be eligible to receive compensation for: 

    • Funeral bills and burial expenses
    • Medical expenses
    • Loss of the deceased’s income, benefits, and other financial support
    • Loss of companionship, guidance, and emotional support
    • Loss of consortium
    • Pain and suffering of the surviving family 

    The compensation offered or awarded in a wrongful death case is divided among beneficiaries according to the rules of intestate succession.  

    If a wrongful death case goes to trial, a jury may also award punitive damages. According to South Carolina law, they may do so if evidence shows the deceased’s death resulted from the defendant’s willful, wanton, or reckless conduct. 

    Punitive damages aren’t intended as compensation for your losses. They are meant to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing and theoretically deter them from engaging in similar behavior in the future. 

    In South Carolina, a court must approve of any compensation or damages in a wrongful death case. A circuit court, probate court, or United States District Court may issue such approval. Receiving approval from a court is necessary even in cases involving out-of-court settlements. 

    How a Greenville, SC, Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help 

    A Greenville, SC, wrongful death lawyer can provide a variety of services associated with your claim after a loved one’s passing. They include:

    • Reviewing your case to determine whether you have justification to file a claim or lawsuit
    • Investigating to determine who may be liable
    • Gathering evidence to show that the deceased passed as a result of the liable party’s actions or carelessness
    • Determining approximately how much compensation you may deserve
    • Completing paperwork and submitting your claim or lawsuit by the deadline
    • Handling negotiations with the insurance company
    • Determining whether you need to file a lawsuit to pursue damages in court
    • Handling any issues that may arise if a court is unwilling to immediately approve the amount of compensation/damages 

    A lawyer can also advise you on how to avoid errors that may harm your case. For example, you should avoid discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney while it’s still pending. In addition, you shouldn’t post about your case on social media. Depending on what you post, it could harm your chances of receiving compensation, or it could give the insurance company a reason to reduce any amount they offer. 

    What Is a Survival Action in South Carolina? 

    Some people assume wrongful death actions and survival actions are the same in South Carolina. That’s not the case. While wrongful death actions are meant to provide compensation for losses suffered by the deceased’s survivors, a survival action is intended to recoup losses suffered by the deceased prior to their death. 

    Perhaps the deceased lived for a few days or weeks before succumbing. During that time, they likely incurred losses they could have sought compensation for. A survival action could recover money for the deceased’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. 

    Only the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate may file a survival action on their behalf. Any proceeds that result from a survival action in South Carolina are added to the deceased’s estate and are distributed along with the other assets they owned at the time of their decease. 

    Discuss this option with a Greenville, South Carolina, wrongful death lawyer when reviewing your case. A legal professional can help you better understand whether filing a survival action is an option in your circumstances. 

    How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in South Carolina? 

    a clipboard with a stethoscope and a wrongful death paper

    In South Carolina, the wrongful death statute of limitations allows the executor or administrator of an estate three years from the date of death to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Except in rare circumstances, a court won’t hear a case if you miss the deadline. Avoid waiving your right to compensation by taking legal action sooner rather than later. 

    Because these cases can be complex, it’s in your best interest to engage an attorney as soon as possible after your loved one’s death. An attorney can send letters of spoliation to prevent evidence from being destroyed, and acting quickly can help preserve evidence before it is lost or witnesses’ memories are clouded. Although three years seems like quite a long time, a thorough investigation and the gathering of all available evidence can be time-consuming. 

    Contact a Greenville, South Carolina, Wrongful Death Lawyer 

    You may be eligible for compensation if a loved one passed because of someone else’s careless actions or wrongdoing. However, pursuing compensation while you’re still trying to manage your grief and worrying about how you’ll pay all the medical bills and other expenses incurred by your loved one’s passing is hard. Don’t try to handle this situation on your own. Help is available. 

    Maxey McFarland Law’s partners are both Greenville residents, and because of that, we treat our clients like the friends and neighbors they are. Attorneys Will Maxey and Elizabeth H. McFarland have years of experience representing people who were injured or who lost loved ones because of someone else’s actions or behavior. They can represent you, too. 

    Our firm commits to securing the compensation our clients need to try to rebuild their lives after catastrophic events. We have the skill and experience of a large firm and the personal touch and communication style of a small one. You’ll know the status of your case every step of the way, and you can always call us with any questions you have about your case. 

    We know you’re likely feeling a financial crunch right now, too. Because we believe everyone is entitled to high-quality legal representation, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay nothing upfront. We will take our fee as an agreed percentage of your settlement or award. If we don’t get money for you, you will owe us no fees. 

    Don’t suffer through this tumultuous time on your own. At Maxey McFarland Law, a compassionate Greenville, SC, wrongful death lawyer from Maxey McFarland Law is available to handle your case. We strike the right balance between being sensitive to your pain and aggressively pursuing the compensation you deserve. Learn more by contacting us online today or calling us at 864-387-8362 for a free case review.

    Last Updated: 05-20-2024
    Written By: Will Maxey