The unexpected loss of a loved one is always tragic, and even more so when the death was caused by the negligence or wrongful acts of another. Surviving family members may experience financial hardship and be left with no income or long-term support. Medical bills and funeral costs can put additional strain on a family at a time when they are struggling with feelings of grief, emotional pain, and anger.
If you have lost a family member due to another party’s negligence or fault, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Under South Carolina law, S.C. Code § 15-51-10, wrongful death exists when a person dies due to the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another, and must be the type of action for which the person could have filed a personal injury lawsuit, had the person lived. While no amount of money can replace your loved one, a settlement award for wrongful death can ease your financial burdens and help your family move on with their lives.
South Carolina wrongful death cases can be complex and require thorough investigation and aggressive litigation to secure the best possible outcome. Insurance companies and their lawyers will try to deny claims or get you to accept the lowest settlement possible, or even blame the death on the deceased person. Making mistakes can be costly, and at this time when you are dealing with the aftermath of your loss, it is difficult to even think of filing a lawsuit on your own. Fortunately, there is help available from the compassionate wrongful death lawyers at Whalen Montalvo. We understand what you are going through and will take the burden off you by handling all legal hurdles, negotiations, and litigation involved with your case, so you can concentrate on your family’s recovery.
We provide a free consultation to evaluate your individual situation and determine the best way to move forward, so give us a call today at (864) 770-7710.
Wrongful death cases are complicated and proving liability is difficult; therefore it is important to hire an attorney you not only trust and feel comfortable with but who has the experience and resources needed to handle your case. Here are some reasons why we believe that you should choose Whalen Montalvo:
We Offer: Advocacy. Service. Results.
Time is of the essence when investigating and building a case for wrongful death. When you have Whalen Montalvo on your side, we will start working on and building your case immediately. We will:
At Whalen Montalvo, we know the importance of finding witnesses quickly and of collecting evidence before it can be tampered with.
The legal term “damages” refers to a payment made for harm done and also to the losses you have received. South Carolina’s wrongful death statute, Section 15-51-10 through 60, allows the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate to file the wrongful death claim (S.C. Code § 15-51-20) for the benefit of the survivors. Damages are awarded to the deceased’s spouse or children, and if there is no spouse or children, compensation goes to the deceased’s parents, and then the deceased’s heirs.
The deceased person’s survivors may recover damages that include:
In some rare cases where the conduct that caused the death was deliberate or reckless, exemplary “punitive damages” may also be awarded (S.C. Code § 15-51-40). These are meant to punish wrongdoers and to be a deterrent for similar behavior in the future.
Proving negligence and finding who was at fault is an essential part of every wrongful death case. To win your case, our wrongful death lawyers must show that another party or parties, (the defendants in the case) were negligent and at fault for causing the accident that led to the death, the same way the deceased would have had to prove liability had they survived the negligent or wrongful act.
Proving negligence legally means showing the following elements exist:
In some cases, wrongful death cases can be especially complicated if there are multiple factors and liable parties involved. Our attorneys would look to identify all potentially liable parties and name them as defendants, as they all may have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement.
When struggling to deal with a loved one’s wrongful death, you are bound to have questions. These can best be addressed at your free consultation, but to get started, here are some answers to questions our attorneys are often asked:
How Much Will My Settlement Amount Be?
There is a wide range of damage amounts victims can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit, from thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Wrongful death cases often have high settlement value, but other factors, such as the age and family situation of the victim, the degree of fault of the defendants, the availability of insurance and assets, and the skill and ability of your attorney also play a role.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
South Carolina has a statute of limitations and a deadline for filing wrongful death cases (S.C. Code § 15-3-530(6) (2021). There are some exceptions, but in general, you have three years from the date of the death to file, and if you fail to do so on time, the courts will most likely dismiss your case.
How Is a Wrongful Death Different from a Criminal Case?
A wrongful death is a civil case, where the defendant’s liability is penalized by financial compensation paid to the decedent’s survivors, and liability is shown by a “preponderance of the evidence.” In a criminal homicide case, a conviction will result in jail or prison time, probation, and other sanctions, and the accused’s guilt must be established “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A defendant can be sued for wrongful death in civil court at the same time as facing criminal charges.
What If My Loved One Did Something to Contribute to the Accident That Caused the Wrongful Death?
Even if the deceased person contributed to the accident, survivors may still be able to get a settlement due to South Carolina’s modified comparative fault rule. If the deceased was not more than 50% at fault, damages will be awarded, but the amount will be reduced by the percentage the deceased is found to be at fault.
What Are Some Situations That May Lead to Wrongful Death Cases?
Common situations that may be considered wrongful death include:
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
The good news is that it does not cost anything upfront to hire our Whalen Montalvo wrongful death lawyers. We work on a contingency basis, which means we take on all costs and expenses of your case. You pay nothing unless and until we win, and then fees and costs come out of the settlement award.
Our Whalen Montalvo attorneys understand how much survivors must deal with after a wrongful death, and we will be there to answer all your questions and concerns throughout the entire legal process.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or fault, the legal team at Whalen Montalvo is ready to work on your behalf to hold the wrongdoer accountable for the death and fight for the compensation that will make life easier for you and your family.
Call us today for your free, no-obligation consultation at (864) 770-7710.
Get the best legal representation possible. Give the Greenville, SC attorneys at Whalen Montalvo a call today at (864) 770-7710 or use our online form.