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Whalen Montalvo

Greenville Wrongful Death Lawyer

Seeking Justice for Wrongful Death Claims

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.

How Our Greenville Wrongful Death Attorney Helps

Why Choose Us

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 are experienced and know the needs of South Carolinians. Attorney James Whalen grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and has worked in civil litigation and as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. Attorney Eric Montalvo spent more than twenty years in the Marine Corps as a leader and Judge Advocate and is experienced as a military prosecutor, general counsel, criminal defense attorney, and civil defense litigator. They know how the justice system operates for both plaintiffs and defendants.
  • We get results for our clients, and you can read reviews from those we have helped.
  • Our achievements have earned firm and individual credentials and awards, including the selection of James M. Whalen by his peers for inclusion in the South Carolina 2021 Legal Elite and in the Irish Legal 100.
  • We deal and negotiate with insurance companies, so you will not have to.
  • We are accessible and available 24/7 for client emergencies.
  • We are experienced litigators and fully prepared to take your case to court if necessary.
  • We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingency basis, so you pay us nothing unless you get your money.

We Offer: Advocacy. Service. ​Results.

Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Work for You

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:

  • Meet with you to discuss how the wrongful death happened and who the at-fault parties may be and determine what your case may be worth.
  • Investigate the scene of the death and gather and preserve evidence, from videos and photographs, to police, ambulance, and medical records and reports.
  • Interview witnesses and first responders.
  • Hire experts to determine fault, and life-care experts to testify as to how your loved one’s death will affect you and your family in the future.
  • Communicate and negotiate with insurance companies and their attorneys for a fair settlement.
  • Build your case and take it to court if necessary.

At Whalen Montalvo, we know the importance of finding witnesses quickly and of collecting evidence before it can be tampered with.

Damage Awards Our Greenville Wrongful Death Lawyers May Recover

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:

  • funeral and burial expenses.
  • medical bills and expenses related to the deceased person’s final illness or injury.
  • lost financial support and benefits.
  • loss of the deceased person’s experience, knowledge, care, companionship, and protection.
  • pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family members.

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.

Wrongful Death Lawyers in Greenville Must Prove Negligence

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:

  • Duty: The defendant had a duty of care not to cause harm
  • Breach: The defendant breached this duty by acting or failing to act
  • Cause: This wrongful act, neglect, or default caused the death that would have entitled the victim to file an action for damages if they had lived
  • Damages: The victim has a surviving spouse, children, parents, or beneficiaries, who suffered damages resulting from the death.

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.

Wrongful Death Attorneys in Greenville Answer Frequently Asked Questions

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:

  • Vehicle accidents when someone acted unlawfully, such as driving drunk through a red light and causing a fatal crash.
  • Medical malpractice when a doctor did not follow a reasonable standard of care, such as a surgeon causing a fatal infection by leaving a sponge in a body cavity.
  • Defective products that caused death, even when used properly or where manufacturers failed to provide warnings.
  • Property liability accidents such as fatal falls that occurred because an owner failed to maintain the property in a safe manner or warn of danger.

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.

Get Help from Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in Greenville

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.

James M. Whalen

I grew up right here in Greenville, South Carolina. Following highschool, I attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where I was an NCAA Scholar-Athlete for the Rhodes Lynx soccer program.

I completed my law degree at University of South Carolina School of Law, where I was on the mock trial team and an editor for the Journal of Law and Education. Following graduation, I served as a judicial law clerk for Senior Judge Robert H. Hodges, Jr. on the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. My experience in D.C. trial courts solidified my desire to become a trial lawyer.
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