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Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Wrongful Death > Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Death Claims

Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Death Claims


If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, you may be looking for answers.  Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death, you may be able to make a claim for wrongful death and get the compensation you need and deserve.  What is wrongful death, and what are the requirements for bringing a wrongful death suit?  Read on to discover the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about wrongful death actions. 

What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury lawsuit.  When a family member’s death is caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful act, a surviving family member can bring the claim on behalf of the estate and survivors.  Essentially, you are alleging that someone else was at fault for the decedent’s death and that person should pay damages, or compensation, to make up for it. 

What Kinds of Events Lead to Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

Many different kinds of events can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit because a wrongful death lawsuit can be based on many different kinds of wrongful acts.  Car accidents, slip and fall accidents, drowning deaths, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, or even purposeful killings like murder can form the foundation of a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Is There a Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Action?

Yes, like most states, there is a statute of limitations, or deadline for filing legal action, for wrongful death cases.  You must file a wrongful death suit within three years of the deceased person’s death. 

Who Can Receive Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit?

South Carolina law lays out who exactly can bring wrongful death lawsuits beyond simply “surviving family members.”  The law ranks the potential beneficiaries of wrongful death suits, starting with the surviving spouse or children, then the surviving parents of the deceased, then other lawful heirs of the deceased.  This means that if damages are awarded, they will be distributed in coordination with this scheme, first the surviving spouse and children, and so on. 

What Kinds of Damages Are Awarded in Wrongful Death Cases?

Just as many different types of events can lead to a wrongful death suit, many different types of damage awards, or compensation, are possible in wrongful death cases.  Common claims for which people may be compensated are funeral expenses, property damage or financial loss, medical bills and expenses leading up to death, loss of companionship or consortium, and pain, suffering, and mental anguish, and even in some cases, punitive damages- compensation because the defendant was particularly reckless or purposeful in causing the death. 

How Do I File a Wrongful Death Action?

The first thing you will need is a competent and experienced wrongful death attorney to file your claim.  Even if you are not sure that you want to pursue your claim, it is wise to speak to an experienced Columbia wrongful death attorney to ensure you understand all of your rights and options.  Contact one today at The Stanley Law Group.  Call 803-799-4700 and set up a consultation.




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