The passing of a loved one is never easy, but when it occurs as the result of negligence or carelessness of another, the trauma to the family left behind is immeasurable. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against a healthcare worker, a car manufacturer, a pharmaceutical company, someone who harassed or inflicted emotional trauma on a person that commits suicide, or even an employer that contracted services from an unqualified vendor that led to the passing of an employee.
At Chappell, Smith & Arden, we are committed to helping those that have lost a loved one due to the reckless or careless actions of another. We will seek justice for family members by filing a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. For over 30 years, our personal injury lawyers have helped countless clients claim the compensation they deserve through successful representation and litigation.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in South Carolina
Only the executor or administrator representing the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In the event that an executor is not named, a court-appointed administrator can be selected. The executor files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving family members, which can include the deceased’s spouse, children, or the parents of the victim, if there is no living spouse or children. In the event that the deceased has no living parent, spouse, or child, the settlement would be distributed according to South Carolina heir laws.
Compensation can be awarded in a wrongful death suit to cover the funeral expenses and medical bills that incurred as a result of the illness or injury that led to the passing. Compensation can also be awarded for lost wages, employment benefits, and property damages. In some cases, the plaintiff can claim damages to cover the loss of companionship, spousal, parental, or child care, and even for the experience or knowledge the person contributed to their family.
Punitive damages can also be imposed on the liable party for the recklessness or negligence that led to the wrongful death of a loved one. Punitive damages serve as a disciplinary measure and deterrent for the person responsible for the death. While the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit benefit financially from the punitive damages, the message is sent to the liable party and the general population that they can be held responsible for this type of negligence. Punitive damages can also hold the responsible party liable when criminal charges cannot be filed.
Proving Wrongful Death
There are four main areas of proof needed for a successful outcome in a wrongful death lawsuit. Those filing the lawsuit must first prove that the passing of their loved one was the direct or indirect result of the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of the defendant named in the lawsuit. This is not always easy to prove, even when the evidence appears to be clear. Large pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers, and healthcare agencies have large legal teams ready to defend them against such claims.
The plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit must also prove that the defendant had a duty to the victim and that a breach of that duty caused the passing of that person. An example of a breach of duty is the relationship between a doctor and a patient. The doctor has a duty to provide the patient with quality standard healthcare. A breach of duty occurs when that medical professional fails to provide quality medical care that results in the patient’s passing.
In addition to the breach of duty, the plaintiffs must also prove that the responsible party’s negligence caused the passing of the victim, and that the passing resulted in damages to the surviving family members. Again, this is not always easy to prove, especially in claims against large corporations or healthcare agencies such as hospitals and nursing homes.
Columbia Wrongful Death Lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden Advocate for Victims’ Families
If you or someone you know suspects that the passing of a loved one resulted from the negligence or recklessness of another, our wrongful death lawyers in Columbia at Chappell, Smith & Arden can help you seek justice. Our legal team has extensive experience with pursuing wrongful death lawsuits against those responsible for the passing of a family member, and holds responsible parties liable for the damages suffered as a result of their death. Call us at 803-929-3600, or at 800-531-9780, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.
Our offices are conveniently located in South Carolina serving clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.