Wrongful Death

Under South Carolina law, a wrongful death lawsuit can be made up of two different claims: a survival action and a wrongful death action.

A survival action is a claim for injuries and damages that the deceased suffered prior to his or her death, and which the deceased could have pursued had he or she lived. These damages generally include medical bills incurred prior to death and conscious pain, suffering, and mental distress of the deceased prior to his or her death. Not every wrongful death lawsuit includes a survival action because in order to bring such a claim, there must be evidence showing that the deceased person survived the event that ultimately caused his or her death and consciously endured pain and suffering during that time. Since the damages for a survival action were incurred by the deceased person, those damages are paid to the estate and distributed according to the deceased person’s will, or the probate code if the deceased died without a will. The Lexington wrongful death lawyers at Morgan Litigation Group can help you make this determination.

South Carolina Code § 15-51-10 provides a cause of action to a deceased person’s personal representative if their death was caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action. A wrongful death can arise from the same type of incidents that lead to personal injury claims including those involving automobile or trucking accidents, defective products, industrial accidents, slip and falls, electrocution incidents, propane and natural gas fires and explosions, and many others.

Under South Carolina law, a wrongful death action must be brought by the estate administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate. However, wrongful death lawsuits are brought for the benefit of the deceased person’s statutory beneficiaries, as designated by South Carolina Code Ann. §15-51-20. According to that statute, a wrongful death action is for the benefit of the deceased person’s wife or husband and child or children. If the deceased had no spouse or child, then the action is for the benefit of the parent or parents of the deceased. In the event that there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent, the action is for the benefit of the heirs of the deceased.

In a wrongful death claim brought under South Carolina law, the damages recoverable are those sustained by the statutory beneficiaries resulting from the death of the decedent and can include:

  • Medical expenses incurred by the deceased
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support and benefits
  • Loss of household services
  • Mental shock and suffering
  • Wounded feelings
  • Grief and sorrow
  • Loss of society and companionship

The Lexington wrongful death attorneys at Morgan Litigation Group have helped families throughout the state of South Carolina and Georgia following the wrongful death of a loved one. If a family member or close relative has been killed due to the negligent conduct of another, our wrongful death attorneys can help guide you through the difficult times that follow a loved one’s death, and assist your family in recovering the compensation that you are legally entitled to.

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