The Myrtle Beach wrongful death attorneys of Joye Law Firm have extensive experience helping those who have lost loved ones seek justice. Our record of success includes a $12 million verdict for the family of a father and infant son killed in an 18-wheeler crash, among other successful verdicts and settlements on behalf of South Carolina families like yours. Call (877) 941-1019 or contact us online to receive a free consultation with a caring and compassionate member of our team today.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me in Myrtle Beach?
The first thing that a lawyer will be able to do for you is to conduct an independent investigation into your loved one’s death. This will help to determine the cause, identify all liable parties and preserve important evidence.
You will want an attorney to speak on your behalf when the insurance company for the other party contacts you. Insurance companies frequently try to settle wrongful death claims for a fraction of the fair value of the case. An insurance company adjuster may contact a victim’s spouse or other family member and offer a lump sum settlement to resolve the case quickly. Some people may be taken aback by the offer and quickly accept, possibly out of fear that it is the only offer they will receive.
Those individuals who accept quick settlements often discover that the settlement will not cover many costs. You can avoid this situation by refusing to speak to an insurance company representing the other party until you have an attorney. An experienced lawyer will have an informed perspective of the reasonable value of the case and will seek to negotiate a full settlement.
Examples of Wrongful Death Cases
Some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths in Myrtle Beach include:
It is important to remember that death is not always instantaneous. Some victims die weeks, months, or even years from injuries related to the original accidents.
Some wrongful death claims are based on intentional acts of other parties that are usually acts of violence. In such cases, the offenders will likely face criminal charges for assault, murder, vehicular manslaughter or a related crime.
Keep in mind that a criminal case is much different than a civil case. A civil action is filed by a person and a criminal case is filed by the state on behalf of residents.
When a defendant is convicted in a criminal case, the court will usually order a sentence that involves criminal fines and/or imprisonment. However, you would need to pursue a separate civil lawsuit to seek a monetary judgment against the plaintiff.
Criminal cases and civil cases have different burdens of proof. A prosecutor is required to prove a defendant’s guilt in a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard. A civil case requires a plaintiff to prove a defendant’s negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, which basically translates to more than half of the evidence.
A family should not assume that a person cannot be held liable in a civil action just because he or she was not convicted of a crime. A good example of this is the case of former pro football star O.J. Simpson. Simpson was acquitted of murder in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman but was later found liable for their wrongful deaths. A jury awarded the families $8.5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.