Nothing affects every member of a family quite like the sudden death of a loved one. When these deaths are the result of accidents, there is a natural desire among the family members to get answers.
When a person’s death was caused by the negligence of another party, certain members of that person’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. A wrongful death action allows for family members to recover many kinds of damages for the hardships created by the death of their loved one.
If your loved one was recently killed in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, make sure that you do not wait to seek legal representation. Evans Moore, LLC can take care of all the necessary legal legwork for you so you and your family can have all of the time needed to grieve.
Our firm understands the tremendous toll that unexpected deaths take on families, and we work to help our clients gain a measure of justice. Call (843) 995-5000 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Do I Need A Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Wrongful death cases can be very complicated. Multiple family members may have strong feelings about certain actions that should be taken, and there may even disagreements about how to proceed.
You are going to want an attorney simply to restore order and maintain focus. The lawyer will also serve a number of other important purposes, including investigating the death of your loved one and recovering all of the evidence needed to prove their death was caused by another party’s negligence.
The main reason that you will want an attorney is so they can deal with the insurance company representing the negligent party. An insurer is going to look for any way possible to reduce the amount it pays or even deny liability.
Many insurance companies will look to quickly resolve these cases through lump sum settlements, and such offers can often cause disagreement among family members. Some may be in a rush to accept the offer while others claim that they should be entitled to more, and a lawyer will be able to negotiate a settlement that provides as much compensation as possible.
Why Choose [Firm-Name] To Handle My Case?
Evans Moore, LLC has recovered more than $100 million for our clients. Our honors have included being named among the 10 Best Attorneys in 2017 for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, included in the Top 10 Jury Verdicts of 2016 by South Carolina Lawyers’ Weekly, and listed in the American Society of Legal Advocates Top 40 Lawyers under 40.
James B. Moore III served as trial counsel for two civil cases resulting in jury verdicts totaling more than $99 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Georgetown County Bar Association, the Charleston County Bar Association, and the South Carolina Association for Justice.
Scott C. Evans earned a $1.5 million jury verdict in a medical malpractice/defamation action and a mass tort settlement of six federal products liability actions filed on behalf of 16 victims in two states. He was recognized by South Carolina Lawyers Weekly for obtaining one of the ten highest jury verdicts in South Carolina for 2016 and has been named a South Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine “Rising Star” for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Our firm will negotiate a full and fair settlement to your case or file a lawsuit when the insurance company does not make an acceptable offer. Evans Moore, LLC provides these services on a contingency fee basis so you will not pay anything unless you receive a monetary award.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
Wrongful death can stem from any kind of accident, but certain kinds of accidents are more common than others. Some of the most frequent types of incidents that our firm handles wrongful death cases involving includes, but is not limited to:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Premises Liability
- Product Liability
- Hospital Negligence
- Nursing Home Negligence
If someone’s death is the result of an intentional act, the at-fault party will generally face criminal charges. A wrongful death claim is a civil action that is completely separate from the criminal charges.
A criminal case is very different from a civil case because each case has a different burden of proof. A civil case only has to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which has been referred to as being the equivalent of a feather on the scale of justice as opposed to the rock required by the burden of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case.
People can avoid convictions but still be found to be civilly liable for deaths. Perhaps the most famous examples is the case of former pro football star O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of murder in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman but was later found liable for their wrongful deaths and ordered to pay $8.5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages to the families.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina?
South Carolina Code § 15-3-530(6) establishes that an action under South Carolina Code §§ 15-51-10 to 15-51-60 for death by wrongful act must be filed within three years of the death of the person on account of whose death the action is brought. The statute of limitations can be tolled (delayed), however, when a plaintiff is considered to be under disability.
Under South Carolina Code § 15-3-40, a person is considered under disability when they are less than 18 years of age or insane. Such individuals will have three years to file a lawsuit from the date that their disabilities are cured, meaning that a minor will have three years to file a lawsuit from the date that they turn 18 years of age and an insane person has three years to file from the date they become sane.
What kinds of damages can be recovered in a wrongful death case?
Many wrongful death cases are resolved through settlements. Cases that do go to court can result in a family being awarded compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages typically involve both economic damages and noneconomic damages.
The victim’s final medical expenses, lost income, and property damage are common economic damages, while emotional distress, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium are types of noneconomic damages.
In a very limited number of cases, punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages or vindictive damages) can also be awarded, although South Carolina Code § 15-32-520(D) establishes that punitive damages can only be awarded when clear and convincing evidence shows that that the victim’s death was the result of a defendant’s willful or reckless conduct.
All of these terms have different meanings than gross negligence, which is what many defendants will argue that their conduct constitutes. Drunk driving accidents are typically the most common kind of case for which punitive damages may be awarded.
How are wrongful death damages awarded?
Under South Carolina Code § 15-51-20, every wrongful death action is for the benefit of the spouse and child or children of the deceased person. When there is no spouse or children, the action is for the benefit of the parent or parents.
If no parent or parents are alive, the action is for the benefit of the heirs of the deceased. South Carolina Code § 15-51-20 states that all wrongful death actions must be brought by or in the name of the executor or administrator of the deceased person.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Charleston Today
When your loved one has been killed, you do not want to delay in getting a lawyer involved as soon as possible. While state law allows you three years to file a claim, you are going to want an accident to be investigated before the evidence disappears.
Evans Moore, LLC completely understands that many families are not prepared to make court appearances and handle important filing, which is why take it upon ourselves to handle all of the legal legwork for these families. Our firm knows that nothing can ever replace the loved one you have lost, but we will do everything we can to help you feel that you have gained some measure of justice.
Was your loved one killed by another party’s negligence in the greater Charleston area? Evans Moore, LLC will aggressively work to help you get justice on behalf of your loved one. We know that you and your family suffered a tremendous loss, and our compassionate team will stand up for you and be a voice for you and the person you lost. We’ll seek maximum compensation and will demand answers for what happened. Our Charleston injury attorneys can explore all of your legal options when you call (843) 995-5000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.