Suffering catastrophic injuries or the death of a loved one can be profoundly devastating. Full recovery might never be possible.
When the injuries or death may have been caused by another person’s negligence, the losses and grief can be more difficult to bear. Holding the negligent parties accountable could be the key to finding justice and starting the recovery process for injured people and surviving families.
At Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A., our attorneys are aware that no amount of money can ever make up for suffering a catastrophic injury or losing a loved one to wrongful death. However, we also know that pursuing justice and obtaining compensation can help ease people’s financial stresses during these difficult times, allowing them to focus on their emotional and physical recovery.
When families face catastrophic injuries or wrongful death of a loved one, they have many questions. Some of the questions we answer most frequently include:
What is considered a catastrophic injury in South Carolina?
Catastrophic injuries are those that leave a lasting impact on your life. These injuries affect your quality of life, often leaving permanent disabilities. In the most unfortunate cases, a catastrophic injury can lead to wrongful death.
Catastrophic injuries can vary, but typically encompass severe physical injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and spinal cord injuries. Some of the most common causes of catastrophic injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Nursing home neglect
- Railroad accidents
- Medical mistakes
- Slip and fall incidents
- Defective or malfunctioning products
A catastrophic injury often requires extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. This type of injury can significantly impact your life for an extended period of time, or in some cases, forever.
What qualifies as a wrongful death in South Carolina?
A wrongful death is a death caused by another due to negligence or deliberate misconduct. Wrongful deaths often occur due to:
- Vehicle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Intentional acts
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability
Under South Carolina law, the deceased’s surviving relatives—usually spouses, parents, or children—can file a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit provides recovery for the expenses related to the death, including medical bills and funeral expenses. Family members may also receive compensation for intangible losses such as mental anguish and loss of companionship.
How long does a wrongful death or catastrophic injury lawsuit take?
Simply put, there is no set amount of time to conclude a wrongful death or catastrophic injury lawsuit, although a case must be filed by the deadline set by the applicable statute of limitations, which is three years in most cases. Many factors play a role in the length of time it takes to move the case to conclusion, including the processes such as:
- Conducting investigations
- Collecting evidence and information
- Interviewing witnesses and experts
- Communication with the opposing party
- Settlement negotiations
Often, insurance companies will try their best to settle quickly, but these initial settlement offers are usually inadequate. It is best to work with a qualified wrongful death or catastrophic injury attorney to make the process as quick and seamless as possible while working toward a fair recovery.
How hard is it to prove wrongful death in South Carolina?
In order to prove there was a wrongful death, you must first establish the other party was negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful. Negligence is proven by showing that the party owed your loved one a duty of care, they breached this duty of care, the breach caused your loved one injuries resulting in death, and that the death has brought the family emotional and financial hardships.
Proving negligence can be challenging, but a wrongful death attorney will investigate your case to determine how to demonstrate the other party’s negligence.
What type of compensation can I receive for catastrophic injuries or wrongful death in South Carolina?
Damages for catastrophic injuries and wrongful death are available to compensate victims and families for the mental and monetary losses they’ve experienced. These damages can include:
- Medical expenses, both past and future
- Lost wages or earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Funeral costs
- Loss of consortium, support or protection
Depending on the case, you may also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages serve to punish and deter if the defendant’s intentional or malicious actions caused the injury or death. The damages you are entitled to depend on the details of your case.
Contact the South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A.
If you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic injury, or if a loved one has died due to the irresponsibility of another, contact the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A. Our attorneys provide injured victims and families with aggressive legal advocacy and work to hold negligent parties liable. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting our clients’ rights and helping them obtain the full amount of compensation to which they are entitled so they can focus on their recovery and future.
Call our firm at (803) 674-4977 or contact us online to set up a free, no obligation initial consultation with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights and how we can help you.
From our five office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.