Wrongful death occurs when a person dies because of the negligence, reckless conduct, or intentional act of another person or group of people. South Carolina wrongful death cases can occur for a variety of reasons, terrible car wrecks, dangerous or defective products, medical mistakes, pharmacy errors, workplace accidents and many other tragic causes.
If such a horrible accident has occurred and someone you love has died, you are likely interested in ensuring that the person responsible for your loved one’s death is held accountable. Though criminal actions fall under the discretion of prosecutors, wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits that can be brought by the family of those who died due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another. A South Carolina wrongful death claim allows family members to hold guilty parties financially responsible for their actions.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
We previously discussed the subject of who can file a South Carolina wrongful death claim. The South Carolina Wrongful Death Act, found in South Carolina Code § 15-51-20, says that the personal representative of the estate of the deceased has the right to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of that person’s estate for his or her beneficiaries.
Who cannot file a wrongful death claim?
Here’s an easy answer: anyone who is not the recently deceased person’s personal representative. But wait, you might be saying, does that mean that a person’s spouse or children could be cut out of a wrongful death lawsuit just because they are not named as the person’s representative? No. The personal representative that files the wrongful death claim has nothing to do with who receives money from a successful case. These beneficiaries are laid out in another section of the South Carolina Wrongful Death Act and their interest in the judgment has nothing to do with whether or not they serve as personal representative.
How is a person appointed as personal representative?
To be named as a personal representative in South Carolina, you must file a petition with your local court. This same rule applies to those who are already named as executor in a will. Even designated executors must complete this process to serve as a personal representative in a wrongful death or survival action.
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, call our office at 843-310-4900.