The unexpected loss of a family member is a shocking and traumatic experience, and it is more than understandable to find yourself overwhelmed in the aftermath of such a tragedy. Between handling your loved one’s personal affairs and addressing your own grief, taking on civil litigation against the party responsible for your loss may seem like anything but a priority.
However, as a compassionate personal injury attorney could explain during a private consultation, recovering monetary damages in a situation like this could be crucial to protecting your and your family’s best interests. If you do elect to pursue a claim, an Orangeburg wrongful death lawyer at Whetstone Perkins & Fulda could take the lead every step of the way. Our dedicated team of legal professionals could work tirelessly to preserve your rights and minimize the additional stress that these proceedings may place on you.
When Is Wrongful Death Litigation Possible?
In South Carolina, when someone acts in a reckless or careless way and directly causes someone else to get hurt, the injured individual often has grounds to pursue a personal injury claim for all damages sustained due to the incident. In a similar vein, South Carolina Code of Laws §15-51-10 allows surviving family members of someone who passes away because of another person’s “wrongful act, neglect, or default” to pursue financial restitution on their loved one’s behalf.
Importantly, wrongful death litigation is not the same thing as criminal prosecution for a crime leading to someone’s death. In fact, a unjust death claim can proceed before, after, or at the same time as a criminal trial regarding the same incident. In these situations, the outcome of one case has no impact on the other.
Even if someone is acquitted of criminal charges related to someone else’s death, they may still bear civil liability in a wrongful death case. An Orangeburg wrongful death attorney could explain the distinctions between different types of cases in more detail during an initial meeting.
Recovering for Damages Caused by Wrongful Death
Pursuant to S.C. Code §15-51-20, the only party permitted to file a wrongful death claim in Orangeburg is the estate administrator or executor for the deceased. This is usually someone specifically named as such in the decedent’s will, but if no such instructions exist or the named executor declines their nomination, the court may appoint someone to fill this role.
Either way, the executor may file suit for damages suffered by a decedent’s surviving spouse or children, their parent(s), and their heirs, in that order of priority. Recoverable damages that a wrongful death lawyer in Orangeburg could help pursue restitution for typically center around economic losses like medical expenses, funeral costs, lost financial support, and lost inheritance, but may also include non-economic damages like lost emotional guidance and lost consortium.
Speak with an Orangeburg Wrongful Death Attorney About Filing Options
Wrongful death litigation is almost always a procedurally and emotionally complex undertaking for everyone involved. Even if you have prior experience in a civil courtroom or with settlement negotiations, pursuing compensation for a family member’s unexpected passing can be exceptionally difficult to manage without experienced and compassionate legal representation on your side.
A skilled Orangeburg wrongful death lawyer at Whetstone Perkins & Fulda could be a valuable ally from start to finish of whatever legal action you and your family pursue. Call today for a private consultation.