The untimely death of a loved one in a car crash or other preventable accident is one of life’s most agonizing events. The loss can devastate a family emotionally and financially. Your family may face unexpected medical bills and funeral expenses as well as the loss of a loved one’s household support. During such trying times, families need compassion, understanding and trusted legal guidance. Our compassionate Columbia attorneys at Joye Law Firm can review the circumstances of your relative’s untimely death and discuss your legal options.
The South Carolinians we assist are good people facing difficult situations including the loss of loved ones in accidents caused by others’ negligence. South Carolina law allows the immediate family of a wrongful death victim to hold the at-fault parties accountable and seek compensation for their losses. While no amount of money can replace a lost loved one, a wrongful death settlement can help a Columbia family have financial security and avoid a burden of debt.
Holding accountable those whose carelessness or disregard for safety caused a preventable death can help families reach a sense of closure, based on our experience.
Joye Law Firm has been representing accident victims and their families in Columbia and throughout South Carolina for 50 years. Our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of our clients and to help them move forward after devastating losses. We are gratified that many former clients have shared testimonials about their experience working with Joye Law Firm.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case?
South Carolina civil law states that a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate.
The estate executor pursues the wrongful death lawsuit for the benefit of the immediate family members of the deceased, typically the surviving spouse or children of the deceased person.
If there is no surviving spouse or children, then a wrongful death case may be brought to benefit the parents of the deceased. Parents have a right to recover damages in a wrongful death case even if their child was an adult at the time of death.
If there are no surviving parents, spouse or children, the wrongful death suit is brought for the benefit of the deceased person’s heirs at law.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Columbia, SC
Any type of accident caused by the wrongful act of another may be the basis of a wrongful death action.
- Auto Accidents—Car crashes and other motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of preventable deaths in Richland County. If you have lost a loved one in a car accident in Columbia or elsewhere in the Midlands, turn to our experienced wrongful death lawyers at Joye Law Firm for guidance. Our attorneys can determine whether another motorist is liable for the death of your loved one and explain your legal options for pursuing monetary compensation including medical expenses for the deceased’s treatment, funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of household services, and loss of companionship and guidance.
- Defective Products—Unsafe products cause thousands of injuries and deaths each year in the United States. Companies that design, manufacture and sell unsafe products that cause preventable deaths can be held accountable for the harm their products cause through product liability lawsuits. Our defective product attorneys have a record of getting results for our clients, including a $262.5 million verdict for the family of a child killed as a result of a defective door latch and a $5 million settlement for the family of a woman who also died as a result of a defective door latch. Defective product cases are complex and past results are not predictive of future results. But they do show our experience in handling these complex cases.
- Motorcycle Accidents—Many fatal motorcycle crashes are caused by other drivers’ carelessness or failure to see a motorcyclist approaching. Drivers who cause the death of a motorcycle rider may be financially liable for the fatal accident. The motorcyclist’s family may seek compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of their loved one’s household support and other losses.
- Medical Malpractice— Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider such as a doctor, nurse, hospital or birthing center in Columbia provides substandard care, causing harm to a patient. In the most serious instances, the health care provider’s deviation from the recognized standard of care may cause a patient’s death. You are unlikely to know whether it was substandard medical care that caused your loved one’s death without an independent investigation by a qualified Columbia medical malpractice attorney. Doctors and hospitals will typically not be candid with you if they have made a serious, preventable error. Our Columbia medical malpractice attorneys at Joye Law Firm are ready to help you find out what really happened to your loved one and to hold those accountable who caused a wrongful death.
- Truck Accidents—Tractor-trailers and other large trucks are involved in a disproportionate share of fatal crashes, and the victims of truck accidents typically are occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. After a fatal truck accident in Columbia, multiple parties may have liability including the commercial truck driver, the trucking company, trailer owner, cargo shipper or parts manufacturer. The trucking company and its insurer will have lawyers advising them and defending their interests. You should have a determined Columbia truck accident lawyer guiding your family if a truck accident wrongful death claim is contemplated.
- Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse—Nursing homes in Columbia and throughout South Carolina have a legal duty to provide safe and attentive treatment to those entrusted in their care. If your loved one received substandard care at a nursing home and died as a result, then you may have a right to hold the nursing home accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit. Our experienced Columbia attorneys are available to review the specific facts involving your loved one’s death and evaluate whether you have a valid wrongful death claim related to nursing home neglect or abuse. In our experience helping families facing these heartbreaking situations, a wrongful death lawsuit can focus needed attention on a systemic problem at a nursing home and prevent other families from experiencing similar losses.
Every fatal accident has different facts and circumstances. But legal experience matters when pursuing a wrongful death claim. Our wrongful death attorneys have nearly 250 years of combined litigation experience. We are committed to helping our clients.
Do I Have a Valid Wrongful Death Case?
In South Carolina, wrongful death lawsuits may be brought against individuals or other defendants that were legally responsible for causing someone else’s death due to negligence.
A common example is a driver who runs a stoplight at a Columbia intersection and causes a fatal crash in which another motorist dies. The immediate family of the deceased person would have to prove that the other driver had a legal responsibility to drive safely and that the driver’s reckless driving led to the crash and caused their loved one’s fatal injuries. Every wrongful death case has its own set of facts that must be analyzed.
The best way to find out whether you have a valid wrongful death case is to have a Columbia lawyer experienced at handling personal injury cases at Joye Law Firm review the facts and discuss your options.
A wrongful death claim must be brought in South Carolina within three years of the date of the deceased person’s death. A wrongful death suit that is not filed within the statute of limitation will likely be dismissed by the court.
Because of the time it takes to gather evidence, find witnesses and file a lawsuit, it is crucial to contact an attorney to start working on the case as soon as possible.
What Damages Can I Recover?
According to South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-51- 20, the kind of monetary compensation —referred to as damages—that may be recovered in a successful wrongful death lawsuit include:
- funeral and burial costs
- medical expenses related to the deceased person’s medical care before death
- lost income and benefits
- loss of the deceased person’s care and companionship
- pain and suffering by the surviving immediate family
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, may be awarded in special cases in which deliberate acts or misconduct caused a wrongful death. Punitive damages are meant to punish a wrongdoer and serve as a deterrent to such conduct.
Any money recovered through a wrongful death lawsuit will be divided among the spouse, children, parents, and heirs, according to the shares they would have been legally entitled to if their loved one had died without a will.
Contact Our Columbia, SC Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
If you have lost a family member in an accident that was caused by someone else’s careless behavior or intentional misconduct in Columbia or anywhere in the Midlands, call Joye Law Firm or fill out our online case evaluation form for a free case review.
Our Columbia wrongful death attorneys are here to help you.