Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed in Prison Riot Case
Two lawsuits filed Tuesday, July23rd allege that South Carolina corrections officials violated prisoners’ constitutional rights by failing to prevent a riot in which seven inmates were killed last year. In the lawsuits, representatives for the estates of two male inmates killed in the April 2018 insurrection at Lee Correctional Institution say security officers and agency personnel knew about dangerous problems at the prison but did nothing to fix them.
The suits, filed by the estates of Raymond Angelo Scott and Corey Scott, who were not related, blame Corrections Department officials for numerous problems, including broken cell door locks, chronic overcrowding and understaffing they say made it easier for inmates bent on violence to get away with having homemade knives, hatchets and other contraband weapons.
What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?
South Carolina Code of Laws section 15-51-10 defines a “wrongful death” as one that is caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another. In South Carolina, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the executor of the deceased person’s estate to recover damages on behalf of the surviving family members. In this case, the surviving spouse or children of the deceased person, or the surviving parents of the deceased person, if there is no spouse or child, or the heirs at law of the deceased person, if there are no parents, spouse, or children, may recover compensation and damages for the death of the deceased.
What Kind of Damages Are Possible?
Many kinds of compensation are possible in a wrongful death case. Damages that may be awarded in a successful wrongful death claim include compensation for funeral bills and burial expenses, medical bills and expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness, lost wages and benefits, loss of care and companionship, and pain and suffering of the surviving family members. In wrongful death cases, judges will sometimes award punitive damages if the conduct that caused the death was deliberate or reckless. These damages are not intended to compensate the family or estate for the loss, but are instead intended to punish the wrongdoers and deter others from similar conduct.
Are There Other Rules That Must Be Followed for a Successful Wrongful Death Claim?
There are many other rules at play that may affect the success or failure of a wrongful death claim. Just one example is the statute of limitations; a wrongful death claim in South Carolina must be filed before a deadline if the claim is to be viable. The lawsuit must be filed within three years of the decedent’s death. A claim not filed within this timeline will not be heard.
How Do I Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death cases can be complicated, and certainly cannot be handled without an attorney. But you don’t want just any attorney handling your claim. You will want an experienced professional at your side who has handled wrongful death cases before. Don’t hesitate to contact a skilled Columbia wrongful death attorney at The Stanley Law Group for help. Call 803-799-4700 and set up a consultation today.