Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Columbia, SC

Under Section 15-51-10 of the South Carolina Code of Laws Unannotated, whenever someone loses their life due to the neglect, wrongful act, or default of another, a wrongful death action can be filed against the at-fault party.

Each state has different rules and procedures in regards to wrongful death claims. In South Carolina, wrongful death actions can be filed on behalf of the decedent’s husband or wife and children. If the decedent did not have a spouse or children, an action can be filed on behalf of the decedent’s parent or parents. If there are no parents, an action can be filed on behalf of the decedent’s heirs. Under South Carolina law, wrongful death actions are filed by the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate.

What Are the Effects of Illegitimacy?

In today’s day and age, more (and more) children are being born out of wedlock (to unmarried parents). So, there is the issue of “illegitimacy,” or children who are born outside of marriage.

Under Section 15-51-30, it states that if an illegitimate child dies, or if the mother of an illegitimate child dies due to another’s negligence, the illegitimate child, or the “mother or father or the heirs at law or the distributes of such illegitimate child,” shall have the same rights and remedies as a child who was born to married parents.

If a wrongful death action is successful, the damages shall be distributed to the above-mentioned parties according to what they would be entitled to if the deceased had died intestate, or without a will. However, the probate court has the right to limit or deny compensation to the decedent’s parents if it can be proven that they failed to reasonably support the decedent and failed to provide for his or her needs during their childhood.

Damages in a South Carolina wrongful death suit include:

  • Burial expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost benefits
  • The decedent’s medical bills
  • Mental anguish suffered by the surviving family members
  • Financial losses related to the death, such as property damage
  • Loss of the decedent’s care, knowledge, protection, and companionship

In South Carolina, a wrongful death action must be filed within three years of the date of the decedent’s death. If a claim is not filed within this window, it will be rejected by the court and the family loses their right to collect damages permanently.

To file a wrongful death claim in Columbia, South Carolina, contact our firm today.

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