Siblings can sue for wrongful death in South Carolina if they are named executors or administrators in their brother or sister’s estate plan. If the estate does not have an executor or administrator, the court will appoint someone to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of surviving family members.
Coping with the loss of a loved one is one of life’s biggest challenges. While no compensation can lessen the heartache, a fatal accident claim can provide you with some monetary support. It may not be an ideal solution, but it can help reduce the strain of paying bills, supporting your family financially, and holding liable parties accountable for their actions.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil action filed when someone is killed due to another person or organization’s negligence or illegal misconduct. Lawsuits of this nature are designed to compensate the people the most significantly impacted by the victim’s death.
Generally, the recipients of damages are close family members, ranked in the following order per S.C. Code of Laws 15-51-20:
- The surviving spouse or children of the deceased
- The surviving parents of the deceased, if there is no spouse or children
- Other lawful heirs of the deceased in the absence of those listed above
Lawful heirs can include siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and so on. In some cases, non-relatives may be eligible to receive compensation; however, this largely depends on the deceased person’s family situation.
How Much Compensation Is Awarded for Wrongful Death?
Monetary damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are typically divided into economic and non-economic damages, which can include:
- Medical expenses and treatment of the deceased before their passing
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of companionship, care, and protection
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of financial support and other benefits
- Loss of household services
Settlement amounts vary and depend on the circumstances surrounding the case. However, they should be proportionate to the decedent’s earning power and financial losses. In exceptional cases, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to other compensation where there is evidence of gross misconduct or willful harm.
South Carolina law also enables you to pursue a survival action claim for injuries and damages your loved one suffered prior to their death.
What Type of Events Can Cause a Wrongful Death?
Unfortunately, many different circumstances can lead to wrongful death, probably too numerous to list. As such, the most common types of accidents and events in wrongful death claims we encounter most include:
Workplace Accidents and Illness
Fatalities caused by accidents or illnesses at work can happen for many reasons. For example, when an employee is killed at work, responsible parties may include employers, coworkers, device or equipment manufacturers, or other third parties.
In the event of a workplace fatality, death benefits are available to family members under the Workers’ Compensation system. However, in some situations, a wrongful death claim can be filed if someone other than the worker’s employer caused the fatal accident, such as subcontractors or negligent appliance manufacturers.
Driver negligence such as texting while driving, operating a vehicle under the influence, speeding, failing to adhere to traffic rules, signs, or signals play a large part in many fatal road traffic accidents. If your loved one was killed due to driver negligence, you may have a valid claim for wrongful death.
Medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients. There are a number of reasons why a death may be classed as medical negligence, such as:
- Misdiagnosis and delays in diagnosis, meaning the condition was not treated
- Mistakes during surgery that could otherwise have been prevented
- Mistakes with anesthetic control
- Negligence in a nursing home
- Errors with medication
- Dangerous prescription drugs and medical devices
Whatever the nature of your loved one’s death, if negligence or illegal misconduct was the cause, as a sibling, you can sue for wrongful death in South Carolina under the circumstances we have covered in this guide.
We Can Help You Seek Justice For Your Loved One
If you lost a sibling in a fatal accident that could have been prevented, you deserve justice. The team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is here to help you and your family pursue financial stability at this most difficult time.
We can provide advice about your legal options at no cost and will fight tirelessly on your behalf to ensure the at-fault party is held to full account for their actions. If you would like to learn more about how we help our clients, please review our testimonials and results. Contact us for a free consultation at (888) 612-7001.