South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you lost a spouse, child, sibling, or parent and their death was caused by another’s negligence, we encourage you to call us immediately to schedule a free case evaluation. We want to hear your story, and discuss your legal options with you and explain how we can help. If retained, we will work tirelessly in seeking to obtain for you the full and fair compensation to which you are rightfully entitled.
When you hire Mickelsen Dalton LLC, you will only pay a fee if we are successful in obtaining compensation on your behalf, and we advance all litigation expenses while a case is ongoing. To begin discussing your case with an experienced South Carolina wrongful death lawyer, contact us online.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims are taken against a defendant who has caused the death of another person, either via negligence or through deliberate action. Wrongful death claims allow a deceased person’s estate and/or family members to sue the party that is legally responsible for their death.
Our South Carolina wrongful death attorneys provide tenacious, compassionate, and experienced legal representation for those who have suffered from the death of a family member due to someone else’s fault. When an individual’s life has been cut short prematurely due to someone else’s reckless or intentional actions or negligence, our goal is to help family members make the right legal decisions in seeking the fair and full compensation owed for their loss.
Why Hire Mickelsen Dalton for a Wrongful Death Suit?
We are different from other law firms. We never cut corners and we will never abandon your case. Our lawyers listen to, counsel, and advocate for our clients who have experienced unspeakable tragedies, pain, and loss.
Wrongful death cases can be extremely sensitive, and we are prepared to work with our clients every step of the way and help navigate them through the complexities and challenges of the legal system.
You are already going through one of the most difficult times of your live, which is why we are here to work with you and on your schedule. We keep a constant line of communication and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to develop lasting relationships with our clients.
Our attorneys care about are clients and understand that this is more than just a case, it is your life, and you deserve justice. We want you to do what is best and most convenient for you. The South Carolina attorneys at Mickelsen Dalton will meet you at our offices, at your home, the hospital, or wherever is best for you. Our clients are the top priority.
Why You Need a South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death lawsuit permits the victim’s surviving spouse, children, parents or other loved ones to seek financial compensation for the losses they have incurred as a result of the wrongful death. An attorney will manage the entire legal process, giving you more time to be with your loved ones.
Wrongful death cases typically demand a detailed investigation into the incident, and attorneys must examine and analyze the entire case. A wrongful death claim will almost always include the following:
- A thorough investigation
- Document gathering
- Examining insurance and conducting insurance negotiations
- Negotiations for a settlement
- Preparing for a trial or a lawsuit
Wrongful death lawyers recognize that for any family who has lost a loved one due to wrongful death, achieving justice for the victim is paramount. Because wrongful death cases can be intricate, it is critical to have an experienced attorney who is well-versed with the laws. Experienced wrongful death attorneys can aid their clients at every stage of the process in order to obtain proper justice for them.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
We accept cases involving significant injuries and wrongful death arising out of:
- Car Accidents
- Trucking Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Shootings and Violence
- Medical Malpractice
- Defective or Unsafe Products
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Bicycle Crashes
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Slip, Trip & Falls
- Burns and Explosions
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Other Matters
Because we handle some of the most severe cases imaginable (and, correspondingly, hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars are at stake), litigation is often hard-fought by both our firm and the defendants. For this reason, there is an increased likelihood of trial, and we are relentless in preparing a compelling case for maximum compensation from the outset.
Regardless of the cause of a case involving a death, our South Carolina wrongful death lawyers will thoroughly investigate all matters and retain experts in building a case for liability.
Liability in South Carolina Wrongful Death Cases
Prematurely losing a loved one is always tragic, but it can be even more devastating when the death was unnecessarily caused by the negligence of another individual or business.
In some wrongful death cases it may be clear as to who is to blame – a driver causing a crash or a company that manufactured a defective product. However, in addition to the “main” person or entity at fault, others may also be liable, such as:
- The employer of a driver who cause a fatal crash while making a commercial delivery as part of their work
- A construction company that if they failed to make a construction zone safe
- A local city or municipality that failed to install a crosswalk or adequate night lighting in a busy downtown street where previous pedestrians have been hit by vehicles
- A bar that overserved an already-intoxicated patron who subsequently caused a crash while driving drunk
- A motel that failed to protect its guests from ongoing crime on its premises.
- Our role as wrongful death lawyers is to conduct a complete investigation to determine all those who are at fault so that they can be held financially accountable for their role and liability.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Case?
Losing a loved one, particularly due to the negligence or intentional actions of another person, can be both emotionally overwhelming and financially devastating. South Carolina law offers surviving family members an avenue through which they may claim damages in wrongful death cases. It’s clear that no amount can make up for such an immense loss, but it can help with the financial losses and allow you to focus on healing. It’s essential to understand what types of damages can be recovered and how a wrongful death claim comes about.
Common Accidents That Lead to Wrongful Death Claims in South Carolina
Numerous types of accidents may lead to wrongful death cases; some common scenarios include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents: Deadly automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents could all qualify for wrongful death claims.
Medical Malpractice: Situations where a healthcare provider’s negligence causes a patient’s death can be the basis for wrongful death claims. This could derive from misdiagnosis, surgical errors, improper treatment, or medication mishandlings.
Premises Liability: If an individual dies on someone else’s property due to negligence – such as a failure to warn about dangerous conditions or neglecting necessary repairs – the owner can face a wrongful death lawsuit.
Understanding the types of accidents frequently associated with wrongful death cases is essential in identifying your legal rights if you have lost a loved one. Remember to always consult with an experienced lawyer who can help determine your next steps.
Types of Available Compensation
Various damages can be awarded in South Carolina’s wrongful death cases, all of which aim to relieve the financial and emotional struggles you’ve experienced due to the loss of your loved one. Some of the most common examples include:
Medical Bills and Funeral Costs
Immediate bills caused by the incident leading to your loved one’s death can be reimbursed. These costs include hospital expenses prior to passing, medical treatments, as well as funeral, burial, or cremation charges.
Lost Wages Including Future Earnings
Your loved one’s lost wages and earning capacity will also be evaluated to award damages related to income and financial support you will now lose out on because of the loss of your loved one. In calculating this, several factors would be considered – for instance, the deceased’s job, salary, degree, age, health before passing, and life expectancy,
Pain and Suffering
The untimely loss of a loved one often results in substantial emotional pain and suffering to survivors. Unlike medical expenses or lost wages, there is no objective metric to quantify this type of damage, so it can be difficult to determine what you’re entitled to.
Loss Of Support or Companionship
Also known as loss of consortium, this category of damages pertains to the loss of personal relationship between the deceased person and their surviving relatives.
In instances where the wrongdoer’s conduct was reckless or unusually negligent, South Carolina law allows for punitive damages.
“Punitive damages may be awarded only if the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that his harm was the result of the defendant’s wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct.”
While other forms of compensation seek to offset concrete financial and emotional losses, these are designed to punish the defendant and deter such behavior from being repeated in the future.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence, a wrongful death claim could lead to compensation to help bring relief and financial stability during this challenging time. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
When Should I Call an Attorney for My Case?
As soon as possible. In wrongful death cases, it will be critical to start working on a case as soon as possible, as the chances of losing evidence, memories, and witnesses increases significantly over time. Not only will the memory of witnesses change over time, but they may also move away and may be difficult to locate.
In some wrongful death cases involving vehicle crashes an accident scene will likely change soon following a crash. Skid marks will fade from rain and traffic. Traffic poles and other objects that were hit will be replaced. In some cases, a municipality may change the roadway design or other aspects in order to improve safety.
Moreover, in vehicle crashes, most vehicles now are equipped with what is known as an event recorder, or “black box.” Event recorders store critical information about a crash, such as the speed at the time of impact and whether the brakes were applied.
When vehicles are totaled, often the insurance companies involved will send the vehicles to a scrap yard where they will be demolished, and where the event recorders will be destroyed. We will want to take legal action to prevent such destruction.
As a result of these and other factors, the sooner that we are contacted, the sooner we can start working for you.
Cost of an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
At Mickelsen Dalton, our South Carolina personal injury attorneys understand the devastating financial ramifications that an untimely death can cause, especially when the decedent was the primary wage earner. Our law firm represents families on a contingency fee basis in wrongful death cases, meaning we do not require a retainer or collect a fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation. Our fee is then equal to a percentage of the amount recovered. Further, we advance all litigation expenses while a case is ongoing, which are typically fully covered by a settlement or trial award.
What Types of Compensation Can I Recover?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the types of potentially-recoverable damages include:
- Funeral Costs
- Burial Expenses
- Loss of Companionship
- Loss of Income
- Medical Expenses
- Pain and Suffering Prior to Death (in some states)
- Punitive Damages (if the death was caused by intentional or egregious acts)
- These are only some of the frequently-recoverable types of compensation; the compensation that may be recoverable in your case may be different.
Successfully arguing for wrongful death damages can be complicated, generally requiring the legal skills of an experienced wrongful death attorney. For years we have successfully represented the families of those killed in tragic circumstances and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured victims. We can help you pursue the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled for your losses, and we will not hesitate to take a case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
What is a Wrongful Death Action?
Certain family members can file a lawsuit against the person, company, or entity responsible for the accident or catastrophic injury in South Carolina with the help of a wrongful death attorney.
A civil action for a wrongful death allows the family to seek justice and obtain proper compensation for the loss of their loved one. No form of money can bring a loved one back, but it can help with current and future costs that the family may have incurred from the unexpected loss.
To hold the defendant accountable in a wrongful death action, the plaintiffs (typically the estate of the deceased victim) must bear the same burden of proof that the victim would have faced if the victim had lived. So, in the case of negligence, this entails:
- Proving that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care,
- That the defendant breached that duty,
- That the violation was a direct and proximate cause of the death,
- And that the death caused the damages sought by the plaintiff.
A wrongful death lawsuit is brought in civil court, separate from any criminal charges the defendant may be facing. Families who have been saddened by the untimely death of a loved one as a result of another person’s negligence have legal redress in the form of civil lawsuit.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The death of a loved one may impact many people’s lives, but not everyone is entitled to pursue damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, the personal representative of a victim’s estate must file a lawsuit on behalf of surviving family members. However, in certain states, a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a decedent may also be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Additionally, different states have different requirements concerning who is entitled to recover benefits in a wrongful death lawsuit, and often other criteria that must be met. As an example, the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit (or to be beneficiary entitled to the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit) may be dependent upon matters such as whether the decedent was over the age of 18, whether the decedent was married, whether the decedent had children, and (in some cases), whether a family member was financially dependent upon the decedent.
The laws governing wrongful death lawsuits will vary from state to state. In South Carolina, the deceased’s surviving family can file a wrongful death lawsuit, but the executor or administrator of the estate must be the one to file the claim on their behalf. Once we know about the circumstances of the death of your loved one, we can explain who may be entitled to wrongful death benefits from litigation.
Damages Available in a South Carolina Wrongful Death Suit
In a wrongful death claim, damages, usually broken down into categories of economic and non-economic losses, can include:
- Compensation to cover the loss of care, guidance, and parenting that the deceased would have provided to loved ones
- Costs for the funeral and burial
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of the expected income of the deceased (especially when the victim was the sole provider for the family)
- The monetary value of services the deceased would have provided
- Pre-death “pain and suffering” of the departed—this is often called a “survival” claim
- The costs of medical treatment that the victim incurred before their death as a result of the injury
These types of losses and their monetary value are usually left to the judge or jury’s discretion. Due to the difficulty of quantifying these types of damages, you may need to hire an expert to establish a more specific monetary value, especially for a loss of consortium claim.
Contact a South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney
Call our law firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with our experienced South Carolina wrongful death attorneys.
At Mickelsen Dalton LLC, we want you to know that you and your family do not have to continue suffering financially after losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. You deserve full justice and financial compensation to pay for funeral and burial expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
As experienced wrongful death attorneys, we understand the pain and grief that you are going through, and we will do everything in our power to hold all responsible parties accountable. Contact us online or call us today at (843) 804-0428 (South Carolina) or (678) 641-9054 (Georgia) to learn about your legal options for honoring your loved one. We accept wrongful death cases in the jurisdictions to which we are admitted throughout the U.S.