Columbia Wrongful Death Lawyer

Experiencing the death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time. It can also be financially devastating. When a death is caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another, the surviving family members may be able to bring a claim for damages against the responsible party. In certain complex cases, a wrongful death lawsuit is the only way to get a proper investigation and clear answers concerning the person’s actual cause of death.

Marc Brown is an experienced attorney who is dedicated to helping the families of victims fight for their rights so they can get the maximum compensation they deserve. Contact us today to request a free consultation.

Losing A Loved One Is Traumatic

Losing a loved one as a result of a motor vehicle accident in Columbia or another person’s wrongful acts is a traumatic experience. Those who survive the decedent will likely suffer emotional harm and grief for years. They may also incur numerous financial expenses, ranging from the value of the decedent’s lost wages to funeral and burial expenses and more.

Per South Carolina Code Section 15-51-10, “whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another,” a civil action for wrongful death is appropriate. A wrongful death claim allows beneficiaries to recover compensation for damages suffered as a result of the death.

The Difference Between a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and a Criminal Homicide Case

Understanding the distinction between a wrongful death lawsuit and a criminal homicide case is crucial for families seeking justice for their loved one’s death.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case initiated by the deceased’s family or estate. The purpose is to hold the party(s) that caused the death financially accountable. The burden of proof in civil cases, is a “preponderance of the evidence”, meaning more likely than not. Finally, the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit is monetary damages awarded to the family to compensate for losses related to their loved one’s death.

Criminal Homicide Case

A criminal homicide case, on the other hand, refers to a criminal prosecution brought by the state. Its purpose is to punish the offender for violating criminal laws regarding murder or homicide. The burden of proof in criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt”, a much higher standard than in civil cases. Ultimately, the outcome of a criminal case is criminal penalties, such as imprisonment or fines imposed upon the defendant for breaking the law.

Both types of cases can arise from the same death, but they serve different purposes and proceed through different legal systems. Furthermore, neither a civil nor criminal case prevents the other from being pursued to seek justice for the death of your loved one.

Types Of Wrongful Death Cases

A wrongful death claim may be brought when a wrongful act, default, or neglect of one party leads to the death of another. Common types of accidents that lead to wrongful death claims include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Drowning accidents
  • Dangerous premises accidents
  • Inadequate security
  • Murder and other criminal acts of violence
  • Negligent or reckless acts involving weapons
  • Harassment or infliction of emotional distress leading to a person committing suicide

If you have lost a loved one due to another’s actions, it is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Call our Columbia wrongful death attorney today to determine whether you have a valid wrongful death claim.

Establishing Liability for Wrongful Death in South Carolina

To establish liability for wrongful death in South Carolina, certain legal elements must be proven:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. This means they were expected to act in a way that would prevent harm to others.
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached this duty through negligent, reckless, or intentional actions.
  3. Causation: A direct link must be established showing that the breach of duty directly caused the death.
  4. Damages: The death resulted in quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and emotional suffering.

These elements form the foundation of a successful wrongful death claim. Collecting medical records, accident reports, and other relevant documents is essential to support the claim.

Statements from witnesses can also provide critical insight into how the breach of duty occurred. Your attorney may also enlist the assistance of medical or forensic experts to establish the cause of death and the link to the defendant’s actions.

Damages Recoverable In A Wrongful Death Claim

In South Carolina, beneficiaries can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic losses associated with the death of a loved one, including:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • The value of pain, suffering, and emotional distress suffered by survivors
  • The value of loss of care, companionship, and guidance
  • Other economic and non-economic losses

Factors Influencing Compensation for a Wrongful Death

When calculating damages in a wrongful death case, several factors must be considered:

  • The Victim’s Earning Capacity: The projected lifetime earnings and benefits lost due to your loved one’s death.
  • Medical and Funeral Expenses: Medical costs incurred to treat your loved one before they eventually died, as well as the funeral costs and burial expenses.
  • The Family Members’ Financial Needs: Particularly if the deceased was the primary provider for your family.

Keeping detailed records of all expenses and impacts related to your loved one’s death can help tremendously in maximizing the compensation you receive. Also, working with an attorney who utilizes financial and medical experts to provide insights and valuations to support your claim is a huge advantage.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?

The personal representative of a decedent’s estate is the only party who maintains the right to file a wrongful death suit. However, the claim is brought for the benefit of beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate. This can include the decedent’s spouse, children, or parents if no spouse or children exist.

Challenges in Dealing with Insurance Companies

Insurance is often a significant aspect of a wrongful death case. Insurance companies often aim to settle claims quickly and for as little as possible, presenting a challenge for families seeking fair compensation.

To minimize their payout, the liable insurance companies may offer settlements that undervalue the true costs and impacts of your loved one’s death. They may also contest liability to minimize or completely deny the claim.

Managing the insurance aspect of a wrongful death case requires strategic planning and a skilled attorney to ensure your family receives the compensation it deserves. Your Columbia wrongful death attorney can strengthen your negotiating position by presenting comprehensive evidence of the wrongful act and its financial impact on your family.

Why Choose Marc Brown Law Firm For Your Wrongful Death Claim

Choosing Marc Brown Law Firm for a wrongful death claim in Columbia brings several distinct advantages:

  • Specialized Knowledge: We are experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys and are well-equipped to handle the complexities of South Carolina wrongful death claims.
  • Proven Track Record: Our history of securing favorable outcomes for our clients demonstrates our capability and dedication.
  • Personal Attention: We treat each case with the utmost care and personal attention, acknowledging the sensitive nature of wrongful death claims.
  • Comprehensive Support: From legal representation to emotional support, our law firm will stand with you every step of the way.
  • Trusted by the Local Community: Marc Brown Law Firm is recognized in the Columbia community for its integrity and commitment to justice.
  • Strong Advocacy: We are known for our strong advocacy and unwavering support for the rights of our clients.

Choosing Marc Brown Law Firm means partnering with a legal team that not only understands the legal landscape but also values your emotional well-being, and will strive to ease your burden during this challenging time.

The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina

The statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina. According to South Carolina Code § 15-3-530, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years from the date of the person’s death. This time limit is crucial as failing to file within this period typically results in losing the right to sue.

Here is how the statute of limitations impacts your Columbia wrongful death case:

  • Deadline: Your family needs to be aware of this three-year window to ensure it does not forfeit its right to claim compensation.
  • Legal Strategy: You need to take action soon to allow time to investigate your claim, gather evidence, and negotiate a satisfactory settlement with the liable party’s insurance company before a lawsuit must be filed.

Understanding these time constraints is vital for anyone considering a wrongful death lawsuit in Columbia, preserving their right to compensation for the death of their loved one.

Get Legal Help Today – Contact Our Columbia Wrongful Death Lawyer, Marc Brown

Losing your family member due to the wrongful actions of another may be one of the hardest things that you ever have to go through in life. While nothing can truly right the wrong that you have suffered, filing a wrongful death claim can provide you with the financial relief you need to start planning for the future.

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury attorney in Columbia who is here to fight for you. Contact us today to request a free consultation.