Dedicated South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyers
We fight for families on their darkest days
Losing a loved one hurts no matter what. Losing a loved one unexpectedly, in an incident caused by negligence, is earthshattering. You’re left to grapple with the fact that they’re gone over and over again, trying to rebuild your life while reeling emotionally. There’s no way to erase that grief. All you can do is learn to carry it with you.
That’s why we fight so hard for accountability and closure for families. Our attorneys – brothers Kevin and Steven Johnson – have been down that road ourselves when we lost our sister to a negligent boat driver on Lake Murray. We’re dedicated to advocating for families in our community, and if you’ve lost a loved one, we would be honored to meet with you and explain how we might be able to help in a free consultation.
How wrongful death claims work in South Carolina
South Carolina’s wrongful death statute provides for a wrongful death claim to proceed when a death is caused by another party’s wrongful act, neglect, or default, and the deceased person would have been able to recover damages in a personal injury claim had they survived. For instance, just as someone injured in a non-fatal slip and fall can file a personal injury claim, the estate of a person killed in a slip and fall can file a wrongful death claim.
In South Carolina, only the executor (administrator) of the estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the damages (financial compensation) awarded in a successful claim are awarded to the following parties:
- The surviving spouse and children, or
- If there is no spouse or child, the surviving parents, or
- If there are no surviving parents, spouse, or children, the remaining heirs.
The statute of limitations (legal time limit) for wrongful death claims in South Carolina is three years from the date of death in most cases.
It’s important to note that a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit, separate and distinct from any criminal charges that might be brought by the State of South Carolina in connection with the same death. The standard of proof is lower in civil court – the goal is merely to prove that someone is responsible for the death, not guilty of a crime beyond reasonable doubt – so you may be able to win your wrongful death lawsuit even if there is no conviction in the criminal case.
Damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death claim
South Carolina law allows for several types of financial compensation in a wrongful death claim. Depending on the situation, we may be able to pursue:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills and expenses incurred by the deceased person during their final injury or illness (if, for instance, they were hurt in an accident and died some days later)
- Lost financial support and benefits
- Loss of the experience, knowledge, and judgment of the deceased person
- Loss of care, companionship, and protection provided by the deceased person
- Pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family members
- Exemplary (punitive) damages, if the conduct that caused the death was especially reckless or deliberate
No amount of money can bring your loved one back. However, getting full and fair financial compensation can help to provide for the people left behind and maintain your family’s quality of life. For instance, if the deceased person was the primary “breadwinner” for the family, a wrongful death claim can allow the surviving parent to continue to stay home with the children. Likewise, if the deceased person was the primary caregiver, a wrongful death claim may give the surviving spouse the financial flexibility to devote more time to childcare.
In addition, a wrongful death lawsuit provides a degree of closure by holding someone definitively responsible for your loved one’s death and achieves a degree of accountability. Our sincerest hope is to prevent other families from suffering and send a strong message that dangerous behavior is not acceptable here in South Carolina.
Contact an experienced attorney today
Wrongful death claims are difficult under any circumstances. We understand that you’re dealing with a lot right now, but it is important that you talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The insurance company for the at-fault party isn’t waiting; they’re making sure their bottom line is protected. To them, your family’s tragedy is just another number on a ledger, and their goal is to make that number as small as possible.
That’s why we fight so fiercely to make sure your loved one’s story is heard and the people responsible are held accountable. We thoroughly investigate, hire expert witnesses, and put our resources and knowledge of South Carolina law to work for you. Whether in a negotiated settlement or, if necessary, at trial, we will be your voice and your advocate while you focus on healing.
Again, it’s important that you consult an attorney as soon as you can to make sure your family’s rights are protected. Talking to us doesn’t mean you have to file a lawsuit; it’s a free, confidential conversation about your options. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with a compassionate wrongful death attorney at Johnson + Johnson Attorneys at Law.