Having a loved one die is extremely painful, but it can be even more hurtful when that person is taken due to an accident that could have been avoided. When something like this happens, it is considered a wrongful death, and relatives may go after the at-fault party for damages.
If you are looking to become compensated for a wrongful death, you need a caring, compassionate, and skillful lawyer on your side. Dan Pruitt has extensive experience representing wrongful death cases in the Greenville, South Carolina area. Read on to find out how he can get you the closure you need.
What is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is a claim against a person that can be held liable for death. As opposed to dying from natural causes, the cause of death will have to have been some sort of personal injury. Here are a few examples of what may constitute a wrongful death.
A Road Accident: Accidents on the road include car accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and more. If an individual dies due to another driver’s negligent or careless actions on the road, they may be liable for damages.
Medical Malpractice: If a doctor provides a substandard level of care, it can be potentially fatal for their patients. If the patient dies, the doctor may be responsible.
Defective Products: When a manufacturer releases a product on the market, it should be tested to ensure it is safe. If it is not safe, it must be labeled as such. If a product that is unsafe and unlabeled ends up on the market and a consumer dies while using it, the manufacturer may be responsible for wrongful death.
Slip and Falls: Slip and falls often occur because a property owner failed to properly maintain the premises leading to hazardous situations. In these cases, the owner would be liable for damages.
Nursing Home Neglect: It’s sad but true. Many seniors are neglected and abused in nursing homes. If a resident dies in a nursing home due to neglect or abuse, the facility or staff may owe the victim’s family compensation.
Acts of Violence: Any fatal act of violence is considered a wrongful death.
Workplace Accidents: If an employee is fatally injured on the job, the family may be compensated through workers’ comp.
Who Can Seek Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a wrongful death occurs, the victim will be unable to represent themself. Therefore, it is up to the administrator or executor of the estate to file a claim.
An administrator or executor may be named in the decedent’s will but, if not, the court will appoint one. The executor acts on behalf of the surviving family members due to get compensation. This may include parents, spouses, and children of the deceased.
Typically, family members that are eligible to be compensated include the following:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse and children
- The deceased’s surviving parents, if there is no spouse or child
- The deceased’s heirs if there are no parents, spouse, or children.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Here are some types of damages loved ones may receive in a wrongful death claim:
- Medical Expenses: These damages cover any money spent on medical procedures performed in an attempt to save the victim’s life.
- Financial Losses: This type of compensation covers income lost due to the deceased no longer contributing to the family financially.
- Emotional Suffering: After a loved one dies, family members may suffer emotionally due to the loss of support and companionship. It is difficult to come up with a monetary value for this type of compensation, but your lawyer will use their years of experience to come up with a fair amount.
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: The at-fault party will need to cover expenses associated with the funeral and burial.
- Punitive Damages: If the defendant’s actions in causing the accident are considered excessively reckless, they may be required to pay punitive damages. These are put in place to discourage the person from exhibiting similar behavior in the future.
What is the Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Claim?
A statute of limitations applies in most lawsuits. It refers to the amount of time the plaintiff has to file a claim to receive compensation.
In the state of South Carolina, the statute of limitations is three years, and the clock starts ticking the day the accident occurs. The amount of time may be extended by the date of discovery.
For instance, if an autopsy comes back providing information that the death was caused by the accident, the date the family receives this news is considered the date of discovery. The three-year window will begin on that day.
Three years may seem like a long time, but the sooner you act, the better. If you wait to file a claim, details will start getting hazy, and it will be difficult to establish the death was caused by the accident. It’s advisable to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Dan Pruitt is the Best Choice for Your South Carolina Wrongful Death Claim
Filing a lawsuit won’t bring back your loved one, but it will give you the closure you need to move forward with your life. Although a lawsuit is stressful, it will be the only way to get any sort of justice.
Dan Pruitt has years of experience representing wrongful death clients in the Greenville, South Carolina area. He has a deep sense of care, sympathy, and respect. He understands clients are going through a difficult time, and he will do all he can to take the stress off their shoulders and provide winning results.
Don’t take the loss of a loved one lying down. See that at-fault parties get the punishment they deserve. Call Dan Pruitt to schedule a free consultation and take the first step in getting your life back.