Wrongful Death Attorneys in Rock Hill, South Carolina
Losing a loved one is never easy. When you lose someone as the result of an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you may be left with even greater sorrow. If you lost a close family member due to a preventable accident, you could have legal grounds to seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. Having an experienced law firm on your side is the first step to holding the responsible party accountable.
At Duncan and Nobles LLC, we keep our caseloads small to provide our clients with the care and attention they deserve. We believe everyone has the right to pursue justice, and we are ready to stand by you every step of the way. If you have lost a loved one and would like to learn more about filing a wrongful death claim, contact us today. We proudly serve individuals and families in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and throughout Chester and Lancaster counties.
Defining Wrongful Death
In order to better understand whether a wrongful death claim would be an option in your unique situation, it’s important to first understand what “wrongful death” is in legal terms. The laws of the state of South Carolina define “wrongful death” as a loss of life that results from a “wrongful act, neglect, or fault” by another party. In simple terms, a wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim, but the victim was injured so severely that they lost their life.
Proving Wrongful Death
To successfully prove a wrongful death claim, it must be legally established that the responsible party owed the victim a “duty of due care.” If an individual, organization, or place of business can be reasonably expected to owe such a duty of due care, a judge or jury may see it fit to hold the party accountable for breaching that duty.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in South Carolina is three years from the date of the decedent’s death. Failure to file your claim within a three-year window will, in all likelihood, result in the court refusing to hear your case.
Wrongful Death vs. Criminal Homicide
It is also important to note the distinction between wrongful death and criminal homicide. Whereas homicide is a criminal case punishable by time in prison, wrongful death is a civil case in which a party found guilty would be liable for financial compensation to the plaintiff(s).
Another difference between wrongful death and criminal homicide involves what is required in order to prove guilt. Though in a criminal homicide case, guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a wrongful death claim may be proven through a “preponderance of evidence.”
Note: The state of South Carolina does allow you to file a civil wrongful death claim in an incident that is also being investigated concurrently as a criminal homicide.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Though successfully proving a wrongful death claim cannot bring back your lost loved one, it is important to hold the responsible party accountable to not only seek the financial support you will need in their absence (along with covering the costs associated with their death, such as funeral and burial costs) but also to help ensure the same incident does not happen to another victim in the future.
Who Can File a Claim?
It is important to understand your state’s laws pertaining to who is legally allowed to file a wrongful death claim. In the state of South Carolina, though damages can be payable to the deceased person’s surviving spouse or children, parents, or designated heirs, a wrongful death claim may only be filed by the executor of the decedent’s estate.
The state of South Carolina allows compensation to be sought for a variety of financial losses, including, but not limited to:
lost companionship and support
funeral and burial expenses
pain and suffering caused to the deceased person’s loved ones
South Carolina law also allows the court to impose “exemplary damages,” which are intended to punish the responsible party and discourage others from engaging in similar acts.
Why You Need an Attorney
Wrongful death claims, much like other types of legal cases, are often complicated and challenging to understand without professional guidance. Whether you are trying to determine if you have grounds to file such a claim or need help with initiating the legal process, hiring a knowledgeable attorney is crucial. Experienced wrongful death attorneys can lead you through each step of the process and help you understand your available options along the way.
Wrongful Death Attorneys Serving Rock Hill, South Carolina
You don’t have to feel like you’re facing this tragedy alone. At Duncan and Nobles LLC, our team is ready to lead the way. If you have suffered the devastating loss of a loved one due to the actions or negligence of another party, we are here to help you pursue the compensation you need. We are proud to serve clients in Lancaster County, Chester County, and throughout the greater Rock Hill, South Carolina, area.