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What Is a Wrongful Death Claim and Who Can File One?

The loss of a loved one is one of the most traumatic and psychologically stressful events that a human being can endure. The stress and pain are only magnified when a loved one’s death is sudden, unexpected and caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person. This can leave the surviving family members devastated. Not only must they say goodbye to their loved one and process their feelings of grief and anger, they are also left worrying about the costs associated with the funeral and carrying on without their loved one’s contributions.

While a North Carolina or South Carolina wrongful death lawsuit cannot undo a tragic and untimely death, these lawsuits can provide surviving family members with much-needed financial compensation to address the expenses and losses they must endure because of someone else’s wrongdoing.

A wrongful death claim can be filed in North Carolina or South Carolina whenever a person has been killed as a result of careless, reckless or intentional actions of another person. Such a claim seeks to hold that other person accountable for the losses and expenses his or her behavior caused. In order to be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the mechanism by which the deceased suffered the fatal injury must be such that, had the deceased survived, he or she could have brought a personal injury case against the responsible party.

Plaintiffs who file wrongful death lawsuits may be able to obtain compensation for:

• The deceased’s medical care prior to death.
• Any pain and suffering the deceased experienced prior to death.
• Burial and funeral costs.
• Loss of the deceased’s future earnings and income potential.
• Loss of companionship and society of the deceased.

If a person caused the death of another as the result of intentional conduct or extremely reckless conduct, the plaintiffs may also be able to recover punitive damages.

Wrongful Death Laws in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the deceased’s executor or administrator of his or her estate is able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The executor or administrator will then pursue compensation on behalf of the deceased’s estate, as well as the surviving family members. If the executor or administrator named in the deceased’s will is unwilling to serve in this function, or if the deceased did not have a will at the time of his or her death, the court is able to appoint an executor or administrator who can then file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased and any surviving family members.

Wrongful Death Laws in North Carolina

Similar to South Carolina, a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit is initiated by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate. If this person is unwilling to serve in this capacity or if the deceased did not name an executor or administrator, the court is able to appoint an administrator who will pursue compensation on behalf of the deceased’s estate and the deceased’s surviving family members through a wrongful death claim.

We Are Here to Help After a Fatal Accident

The laws of North Carolina and South Carolina provide you with only a limited amount of time in which to file a wrongful death claim. If you are in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina, we can assist you after the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional act.

Our dedicated and caring attorneys will act swiftly to protect you and your family’s legal interests and will work aggressively to help you obtain the compensation you need. Contact our wrongful death claim attorneys at (800) 533-6845 and learn how we can assist you during this difficult time.


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