There are few things more devastating than losing a loved one to another person’s actions. While no amount of money can replace your loved one, you deserve to be compensated for the losses their wrongful death has caused.
Surviving family members can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit and survival action in Lexington. However, these cases can be extremely complex with many important aspects that must be addressed. While you will eventually benefit, it will be up to your loved one’s personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Call our wrongful death lawyers at Burriss & Ridgeway today at (803) 855-1040 today for a free case consultation.
What is Considered Wrongful Death in Lexington, SC
When a loved one is taken from you on account of another person’s conduct in Lexington, you can recover compensation for your incredible loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. Fortunately, our wrongful death attorneys can help you get the justice you deserve and provide critical legal support during this immensely difficult time. To be considered a wrongful death under S.C. Code Ann. § 15-51-10, the victim must have died as a result of another person’s negligence or “wrongful act,” like murder. This law allows certain family members to recover a wide range of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit for the losses they suffered and will suffer in the future.
While many wrongful acts are charged as crimes when they result in the death of another person, there is no requirement that an individual be charged with a crime before victims can recover civil damages. However, a wrongful death lawsuit might need to wait until a criminal prosecution concludes, if there is one.
Survival Actions in Lexington, SC
When an accident results in the death of a victim, compensation can also be pursued through what is known as a “survival action.” According to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-5-90, this type of action is designed to provide damages that the victim would have been entitled to receive had they survived their injuries and been able to file a personal injury lawsuit. In a personal injury lawsuit, the victim could have potentially recovered economic damages for expenses like medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering. These damages can be sought if your loved one incurred costs before their passing.
After the victim’s passing, their personal representative may file a survival action on their behalf. This action is often combined with a wrongful death lawsuit. If the lawsuit is successful, any damages awarded will go to the deceased’s estate first, then distributed among the deceased’s beneficiaries according to the will, if there was one, and after accounting for expenses such as medical bills and funeral costs.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Lexington, SC
Unfortunately, there are numerous causes of wrongful death in Lexington. However, many wrongful deaths are caused by a few common accidents that occur every day. In some cases, the cause of your loved one’s death might be obvious, and the liable party can be sued. Other cases can be extremely stressful and time-consuming, especially if multiple parties share the blame for your family member’s death. The following are the most common causes of wrongful death for which you can be compensated for in Lexington:
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of wrongful death in Lexington. Car accident cases involving the death of a loved one can be very complex, especially when there are multiple defendants involved. The chances of a car accident death occurring skyrocket if a negligent driver is speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or otherwise driving recklessly before an accident occurs.
Medical malpractice is another common cause of wrongful death in Lexington. If a doctor or nurse fails to provide adequate care to a patient and that patient dies as a result, then this could be considered medical malpractice. If your loved one died as a result of medical malpractice, it’s important to contact an attorney right away so that you can begin filing claims against the negligent parties involved.
Drowning is another major cause of wrongful death. Drowning accidents can occur in many different ways, including falling into a pool or natural body of water without proper supervision or warning signs or being caught in a rip current while swimming in the ocean with no lifeguard on duty to save your loved one when there should have been.
Lastly, defective products are also responsible for many wrongful deaths. A defective product can be anything from a toy that causes harm to a child who plays with it to an automobile part that fails while driving on the highway. Defective products can easily cause wrongful death when they fail unexpectedly and without warning.
There are three types of defects that manufacturers and designers can be held liable for: manufacturing defects, design defects, and marketing defects. A manufacturing defect refers to an error made during the production process that causes an injury when used properly by consumers. A design defect refers to an error made during the initial design phase of creating a product that causes injuries when used properly by consumers. A marketing defect occurs if proper warning labels are not attached, or the wrong instruction for use is given.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Lexington, SC
In Lexington, the law directs that a wrongful death lawsuit may only be filed by the “personal presentative” or “executor” of the deceased. This means that surviving family members do not have a legal right to sue for themselves. It is common for a personal representative to be named in the deceased’s will, if they have one, and is usually a close family member or friend. If your loved one did not have a will and no personal representative was selected, the court will appoint one of its own power. However, it will still typically be someone who was close to the deceased.
The deceased’s personal representative is responsible for locating and notifying potential beneficiaries that should be compensated from the proceeds of the wrongful death lawsuit award. If a lawsuit is successful, compensation will be paid to the deceased’s estate. The personal representative will then distribute the damages to the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased if they had any. If they did not, compensation can be paid to other family members, like siblings, grandchildren, and grandparents.
Our Lexington, SC Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help
For a free case review, contact our wrongful death attorneys at Burriss & Ridgeway at (803) 855-1040.