If a family member died due to someone else's negligence, can I bring a claim?
In South Carolina,
wrongful death claims can be brought after the estate is opened and a representative
has been appointed. At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, we
are able to provide the Probate Court services that are necessary in order
to open the estate.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
Who is entitled to receive money from a wrongful death claim?
Legal heirs or next of kin to the deceased are eligible to receive the
proceeds of a wrongful death claim. This may include the surviving spouse
and children, or in the case of someone who is unmarried it may include
their parents, siblings or other relatives.
In some cases a portion of the proceeds will be allocated to what is called
a survival action. Any portion of the survival action that remains after
the estate pays any necessary expenses will be distributed according to
the decedent's will (if any), otherwise it will pass to the legal
heirs just like the other wrongful death benefits.
How much is a wrongful death case worth?
The law does not presume that it can put a monetary value on a human life,
but there are several factors that should be considered. What follows
is a partial listing of what is considered relevant in evaluating any
wrongful death claim:
- Was the death due to ordinary negligence or carelessness, or was it due
to gross negligence or reckless conduct?
- Are there final medical bills?
- Did the defendant have conscious pain and suffering? Did they know they
were injured and the extent of their injuries prior to death?
- How much was the funeral expense?
- How strong was the relationship between the decedent and their next of
kin? Did they have a spouse, or children who were dependent on them for
- What were the future earnings of the decedent?
Frequently it is only possible to determine the fair value for a wrongful
death case after careful examination of all of the available evidence.
Just as no two people or families are alike, there is no set value for
this type of claim.