When you and your family lose a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, your family may decide to pursue compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Although no amount of money can bring your loved one back, pursuing financial recovery can help your family manage the expenses of your loved one’s passing and also provide you with a measure of justice.
Jebaily Law Firm is here to help you understand how wrongful death lawsuits work. Below, you can find answers to common questions regarding wrongful death suits.
How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work?
A wrongful death lawsuit works much like a personal injury lawsuit and can be thought of as a continuation of the claim that the decedent could have filed had they survived their injury. In other words, wrongful death lawsuits can arise from accidents or events, such as car crashes, medical malpractice, product liability injuries, workplace accidents, and nursing home abuse, for example.
Who Can Benefit from a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are filed by the decedent’s personal representative, usually the executor or administrator of the estate. The compensation recovered in a claim is obtained for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse and children, or their surviving parents, or any other remaining surviving heirs.
How Much Financial Compensation Can Be Expected?
In a wrongful death case, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your deceased loved one’s and your family’s losses, such as:
- Medical expenses from the decedent’s final injury or illness
- Conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to their passing
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of the decedent’s expected financial contributions to the family, including insurance or pension benefits
- Emotional distress and anguish suffered by surviving family members
- Loss of the decedent’s care, companionship, guidance, and society
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
Many factors can affect the length of a wrongful death claim, including the amount of compensation being sought and whether liability for the decedent’s death is contested. If the at-fault party accepts responsibility for the decedent’s death, a wrongful death claim may be settled relatively quickly.
However, in a complex case where the opposing party denies fault for the decedent’s death, it can take longer to resolve the issue, especially if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit in court, where litigation can take upwards of several years to eventually reach trial.
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Cost?
At Jebaily Law Firm, our wrongful death attorneys handle wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that your family does not have to pay any upfront fees or out-of-pocket costs to get legal help for your case. Instead, we only get paid when we secure compensation for you and your family.
How Are Damages Divided in the Case of Multiple Heirs?
Under South Carolina’s wrongful death statute, compensation obtained in a wrongful death case is divided among multiple surviving family members eligible to receive such payment under the state’s intestacy laws. In other words, wrongful death compensation is distributed as if the decedent had no will and the money obtained in the claim was part of the decedent’s estate.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Claim?
Although you don’t technically need an attorney to file a wrongful death claim, having experienced legal representation on your side can improve your chances of maximizing your family’s financial recovery.
How Quickly Should I Contact an Attorney?
While South Carolina’s statute of limitations requires that a wrongful death claim be filed within three years of the deceased person’s death, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Crucial evidence that can help your family’s claim may be lost over time. A wrongful death attorney can handle all the aspects of your family’s claim to help give you the time and space you need to grieve for your loved one.
If your family has had a loved one pass away due to another party’s negligence or other wrongful acts, contact Jebaily Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your family’s rights and options. Call us or get in touch with us online.