Non-Economic Damages In A South Carolina Wrongful Death Case

December 3, 2013

David discusses the non-economic damages in a wrongful death suit in the state of South Carolina.
David discusses the non-economic damages in a wrongful death suit in the state of South Carolina.

It’s an unfortunate reality that following an unexpected death in South Carolina many families are forced to worry about money. Medical bills, hospitalization, funeral expenses and many other sudden bills can make an already devastating situation far more stressful for those attempting to grieve the sudden loss of a loved one. Thankfully, in some cases financial compensation can be pursued through a wrongful death claim. To find out more about what kinds of damages are available, keep reading.

Two types of damage

In a South Carolina wrongful death case the damages awarded are divided into two broad categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages include things like medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages are very different and include things such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, grief and emotional anguish.

What are non-economic damages?

While economic damages are often easy to determine and can be clearly demonstrated through bills or paystubs, non-economic losses are much more difficult to determine and are thus open to more interpretation. Non-economic loss includes things like pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship. These non-economic losses tend to be for intangible injuries and usually have no clear value. As a result, it can be hard for juries to assign a dollar value to such claims, something that can make these awards more difficult to predict than those based on economic loss.

Is there a limit?

In South Carolina there are laws which limit the amount of money injured plaintiffs can collect in some circumstances. Thankfully, no such damage caps exists with ordinary wrongful death lawsuits.

However, in cases where the negligent party was a government employee or entity, the law does limit the amount of money that a plaintiff can collect. In medical malpractice cases, state laws also limit the amount of money individuals can collect based on non-economic damages. South Carolina law limits noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases to $350,000 when the claim is against a single health care provider. The cap on noneconomic damages is raised to $1.05 million when the award is against multiple health care providers.

Charleston wrongful death lawyer David Aylor understands how the sudden loss of a loved one can lead to emotional as well as financial devastation. If a family member was killed due to the negligent actions of others, it may be helpful to reach out to an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the complexities of a South Carolina wrongful death claim. For more information, contact our office at 843-310-4900.

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