Charleston Wrongful Death Attorney
Wrongful Death in South Carolina
Few things are as difficult to cope with as the knowledge that your loved one died in an accident that could have been prevented. The death of a loved one is an exceedingly difficult time for the family, and legal action is likely the last thing on your mind. However, it may be in your family’s best interest to take action against the individual or business responsible for the accident and pursue the financial assistance your family needs to work through the lifelong consequences of your loss.
Additionally, a successful lawsuit can help you gain closure, knowing that the responsible party has been brought to justice and held accountable for the devastating effects of their wrongdoing. It can also serve to change the way that people and businesses operate, potentially preventing future similar accidents and saving lives.
It is important to seek an attorney who is experienced with wrongful death and survival claims so that the medical causation and economic loss aspects of the case can be presented in such a way as to maximize the value of your case. At Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC, we have decades of combined litigation experience, including experience in insurance defense. We know the lengths defendants will go to in order to avoid paying out claims—and we know how to fight back and seek the full, fair compensation you and your family are owed.
If your loved one was killed in an accident or died due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct, call our firm at (843) 408-0599 today for a free consultation.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Every state has its own definition of what makes death “wrongful.” In South Carolina, a wrongful death is any death that is caused by another person or party’s wrongful or negligent conduct or by default. Essentially, if the person who died (the “decedent”) would have had grounds to bring a personal injury claim had he or she lived, that person’s death is considered “wrongful” in the eyes of the law.
Wrongful death lawsuits frequently arise from the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including car and motorcycle crashes
- Commercial vehicle collisions, such as truck accidents
- Drunk driving accidents (including cases involving liquor liability)
- Boating and personal watercraft (e.g., Jet Skis) accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Daycare and nursing home abuse and neglect
- Dog bites and attacks
- Slips and falls and other premises liability claims
- Defective products
- Medication mistakes and pharmaceutical errors
- Assault and battery and sexual assault
- Workplace and work-related accidents
If your loved one died due to the careless, reckless, or negligent conduct of another person, a property owner, a product manufacturer, an employer, or any other party, turn to the Charleston wrongful death attorneys at Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC. We provide personalized, compassionate legal support and aggressive advocacy for individuals and families who have suffered unimaginable losses.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in South Carolina?
South Carolina wrongful death law only permits the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate to bring a wrongful death action. The executor or administrator is typically named in the decedent’s will, but if the person died without a will, the court will appoint an executor/administrator. The same is true if the named administrator is unable or does not wish to fulfill his or her duties.
Although the executor or administrator must be the one to bring the wrongful death action, they do so on behalf of the estate and certain surviving individuals. These surviving individuals may be able to recover damages related to the loss of their loved one.
In South Carolina, the following individuals can recover damages in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving children
- The decedent’s surviving parent(s)
- The decedent’s legal heir(s)
The first in line to recover damages are the surviving spouse and any children the decedent had. If there is no surviving spouse or children, the decedent’s parent(s) may seek damages. If there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent, the decedent’s legal heirs are the next in line to recover damages.
Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
While no amount of money can “compensate” family members and loved ones for their loss, a sudden, unexpected death often brings numerous financial challenges. The law recognizes this and, as such, permits eligible individuals to recover compensation for certain damages in wrongful death cases.
In South Carolina, you may be able to recover the following damages in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit:
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s last treatment/final care
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Lost income, wages, and employment benefits
- Pain, suffering, and anguish experienced by surviving loved ones
- Loss of care, companionship, experience, knowledge, judgment, and protection provided by the decedent
- Property damage and other related economic losses
Additionally, in some cases, it may be possible to seek punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate victims for their losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant. Typically, these are only available in cases involving wanton or willful negligence or misconduct resulting in death.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In South Carolina, there is a three-year statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits. This means that the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate must bring the legal action within three years of the date of death. If this is not done, the court will not hear the case.
Although you have three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the sooner you contact our Charleston wrongful death attorneys, the better. Over time, evidence can be lost, and cases can become more difficult to prove. We encourage you to reach out to us right away to learn how we can begin gathering evidence and building your case.
We have handled hundreds of personal injury cases in our careers as civil litigators, including quite a few wrongful death cases in a variety of contexts. We have represented clients in cases where people have been killed in motor vehicle accidents, Jet Ski accidents, and high-speed pursuits by law enforcement. We have also represented clients in cases where people have been killed because of the negligence of medical equipment companies, nursing homes, daycare centers, pharmacies, contractors, and builders. Our vast range of experience in a wide variety of cases has served us well in wrongful death cases.
Established Record of Success
We have secured recoveries for our clients in excess of $10,000,000. A few notable recent wrongful death settlements and verdicts include $1,400,000 in a law enforcement high-speed pursuit wrongful death case; $1,100,000 in a medical equipment negligence wrongful death case; and $1,000,000 in a nursing home negligence wrongful death case. Our diverse experience is one of our greatest assets.
Why You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney
The loss of a family member or loved one is one of the most difficult things to endure. When someone else is responsible for your loved one’s death, Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC can help you work to hold them accountable. We know that nothing can undo your loss, but a successful wrongful death case can allow you the resources you need to manage unexpected, ongoing expenses, providing you the ability to focus on healing.
Wrongful death lawsuits are complex, and insurance companies will often do everything they can to dispute or deny these claims. It is critical that you have an experienced, competent attorney on your side. Our team is here to answer your questions, guide you through the process, and fight for your rights. We have a proven history of success and have earned a reputation among our clients, our peers, and our community for providing compassionate, personal legal counsel and dedicated, relentless representation—both in and out of the courtroom.
Thank you!- Scott S.
I highly recommend Christy and her partner.- Teresa Z.
Extremely professional!- Sue W.
$13,000,000 Product Liability
$8,000,000 Toxic Exposure
$8,000,000 Commercial Dispute
$7,733,000 Medical Malpractice
$6,500,000 Motor Vehicle Accident
$4,950,000 Child Abuse
$4,000,000 Premises Liability
$3,000,000 Medical Malpractice
$2,550,000 Medical Malpractice
$2,500,000 Insurance Bad Faith