Beaufort Wrongful Death Lawyer
When a spouse, sibling, parent, or other loved one is killed in an accident, surviving family members are understandably devastated and likely have many questions about how this could possibly have happened. If the accident was caused by the reckless actions of another, loved ones may also feel angry and demand justice for what happened.
The compassionate Beaufort wrongful death lawyers at Stewart Law Offices have witnessed time and again the feelings of hopelessness when people lose someone they loved and relied on. Relentless in our pursuit of justice for victims of negligence, our law firm works tirelessly to demand full and fair compensation after a wrongful death.
To discuss your unique situation with a wrongful death lawyer in Beaufort, South Carolina, call us toll-free at (866)-465-7851 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.
Types and Causes of Wrongful Death Accidents
In South Carolina, many people die each year in tragic accidents that could have been prevented. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys in Beaufort have helped families coping with loss due to:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Accidents on someone else’s property, such as slips and falls
- Burn accidents
- Bus accidents
- Train accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Criminal acts
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that you believe was due to negligence, please contact our law firm as soon as possible. We can evaluate your case and discuss all your legal options for moving forward.
How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina?
When proving that a wrongful death has occurred, our attorneys will need to present certain pieces of evidence to support your claim. The elements used in South Carolina to substantiate claims of wrongful death include:
- Proof that the decedent was owed a duty of care. This element will vary by incident, although the assumption is that the defendant was responsible for keeping your loved one safe. For example, property owners should keep their premises clear of hazards, and doctors should perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
- Evidence that the duty of care was breached. In determining a breach of duty, evidence must be presented that an individual’s actions aren’t what reasonably prudent people would do under similar circumstances.
- Proof that the breach caused the death. This aspect is also known as causation and requires demonstrating that the defendant’s breach led directly to your loved one’s death. This often requires examining medical records and consulting with medical professionals.
- Evidence showing the death resulted in damages. The claimant must also show that the death created some form of financial loss.
Our dedicated wrongful death lawyers will work tirelessly to collect all the evidence necessary to support your claim for compensation. If you would like to learn more about how to prove wrongful death in your case, you can contact us immediately for help.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims in South Carolina?
With the exception of medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations on all other wrongful death actions is three years from the date of death. Although that seems like plenty of time to file your wrongful death lawsuit, it is crucial that family members contact Stewart Law Offices as soon as possible to begin the process.
One important reason to speak with a Beaufort wrongful death lawyer right away is that companies only keep documents for a finite amount of time, after which the documents are disposed of or shredded. Any evidence that is lost or destroyed could hurt your claim. That’s why we urge families to start their case as soon as possible.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case
Our legal team works hard to demand maximum compensation for families in wrongful death claims. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills and other expenses leading up to your loved one’s death
- Property damage and associated financial losses
- Loss of financial support, including future income the deceased would have earned
- Emotional benefits, such as pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium and loss of the decedent’s intelligence, judgment, and experience
- Possible punitive damages in extreme cases
Note that a wrongful death settlement may or may not reflect every element above. Some types of compensation are specific to certain types of death and situations that caused death.
In South Carolina, punitive damages are capped at the greater of three times actual damages, or $500,000. There are no caps on economic or noneconomic damages in wrongful death cases, with the exception being medical malpractice.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Wrongful Death
There are steps you can take immediately following a wrongful death to help protect your family’s rights and prepare to file a claim for compensation:
- Obtain your loved one’s death certificate. This can be found at your local Department of Health.
- Determine who is the administrator or personal representative of the estate. This individual may already be assigned in estate planning documents or may be named by the court.
- Gather as much information as possible. This may include photos from the accident or of your loved one’s injuries, information about the at-fault party, contact information for witnesses to the fatal incident, etc.
- Put together a list of all expenses you incurred since your decedent’s passing. Also, include the incident that caused their death and all the income that was lost during the process.
Any evidence that you have should be preserved. We suggest not discussing your case with the defendant, their insurer, a company, or any media to avoid damaging your case. Similarly, do not post on social media about the accident.
FAQs About Wrongful Death in Beaufort
We would like to answer some of your most pressing questions below. Did we miss anything? Schedule your free case review to discuss the specific details of your case with an experienced Beaufort wrongful death attorney today.
Can I file a wrongful death action if the deceased didn’t immediately die from his or her injuries?
Yes. In the case above, the estate would also file a survival action for the injuries and suffering the individual endured prior to death. The goal of a survival action is to collect money for damages the person suffered while alive and to collect money for the things he or she would have gained (like income) had he or she lived.
What happens if one survivor doesn’t want to file a wrongful death action, but the rest do?
The individual who doesn’t want to pursue a wrongful death action would need to “opt out” and hold the other parties harmless for their decision to move forward. In essence, they would sign away their rights to any and all future claims.
Are wrongful death cases different when a child dies?
Yes and no. The family would still be entitled to emotional distress and any expenses related to their child’s death, but lost wages and similar economic losses would not apply in most cases. If taken to a jury trial, wrongful death cases involving children may result in much stronger penalties to the at-fault party than normal cases by virtue of the decedent being a child.
What if the deceased didn’t work? Can I still file a wrongful death claim for compensation?
A person’s contributions are based off more than just his or her ability to earn wages and pay bills. Being a good parent, spouse, and sibling are taken into account, along with the person’s ability to earn. Stay-at-home spouses contribute to families by cooking, nurturing, guiding, and making sure the home is kept up. So yes, you can still pursue compensation for your loss.
How Our Law Firm Helps Families After a Wrongful Death
Our Beaufort South Carolina wrongful death attorneys are capable of handling complex wrongful death cases, even those with multiple parties involved. With a track record of client satisfaction* and attention to detail, we are prepared to fight for you and your family.
Losing a loved one is unimaginably difficult. Let Stewart Law Offices take some of the stress and burden off you by managing everything related to your wrongful death claim. Put decades of trial experience to work for you by calling us at (866)-465-7851 today. Consultations are always free, and we do not charge clients a fee unless we win your case.*