Wrongful Death Cases

What is a wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the decedent died as a result of the negligence (or other liability) of the defendant(s), and that the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendant's conduct. The individual states have passed "wrongful death statutes" over the years, and some form of wrongful death claim action exists in all state jurisdictions today. While they all follow some general principles, each state jurisdiction is unique.

In South Carolina, beneficiaries of the estate may be entitled to the following types of damages:

--- Grief, sorrow, mental anguish, loss of society, companionship, comfort and guidance.
--- Expected loss of income from the decedent; reasonably expected loss of services; protection, care and assistance which the decedent may have provided.
--- Expenses for the care, treatment and hospitalization of the decedent from the injury that resulted in death, and reasonable funeral expenses.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

Generally, immediate family members (i.e. spouses, children, and parents) can pursue a wrongful death claim (although minors until 18 years of age may require a "guardian ad litem" to represent their interests in court). In addition, the potential group of plaintiffs may be extended to grandparents, legal dependents, or members of the extended family. Please check with Attorney Starkes to see if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

When must a claim for wrongful death be filed?

Please check with Attorney Starkes to find out what the statute of limitation for such a claim is in South Carolina. The statute of limitation is the time frame during which a lawsuit must be filed.

Even a valid claim may be denied if it is filed after the statute of limitation has expired. If you believe that you may have a valid claim for wrongful death, it is important that you speak with Attorney Starkes at your earliest opportunity to preserve your rights. In addition to protecting your claim in court, early action may also help to preserve evidence, or locate witnesses, that you may need for your case.

If you have any questions concerning our services, or if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please contact Attorney Starkes by phone or via email. In the Columbia area call (803) 758-2882 or outside Columbia call toll free at (866) 605-7800.

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