Losing a loved one is a painful experience, especially when they’re preventable accidents.
When an individual dies from another party’s negligence, eligible family members can take legal action to recover damages.
Our wrongful death attorney Angela Frazier holds accountable the irresponsible or dangerous conduct of other parties. If we’re hired to take on your wrongful death case, it’s our fight as much as it is yours. Call our firm today to speak to our wrongful death lawyer in Greenville.
Types of Cases That Could Support a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death can be thought of as an extension of personal injury law. If a victim survives another person’s negligence, he or she can file a personal injury claim. However, if the negligent act causes the victim to die, certain survivors can maintain a wrongful death claim.
These wrongful death lawsuits lawsuits commonly arise in the following types of cases:
- Car accidents: Drivers engage in all manner of negligent conduct that can cause a victim’s death, including drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding. Not all fatal accidents are the fault of drivers, and sometimes other parties can bear responsibility.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcyclists lack the protective steel frame of automobiles and are therefore susceptible to serious, even deadly injuries. Negligent and reckless drivers are usually to blame for failing to share the road with a biker.
- Truck accidents: Overloaded trucks, fatigued drivers, and impaired driving are common causes of truck accidents. Because of the size, weight, and speed of trucks, victims in passenger vehicles may be fatally harmed.
- Pedestrian accidents: A pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle can be seriously injured to the extent the accident proves lethal. Failure to yield and other traffic law violations (like speeding) are usually contributors to pedestrian deaths.
- Nursing home abuse: By one estimate, as many as 260,000 individuals in nursing homes are abused or neglected every year. When such poor treatment causes death, the victim’s family can seek justice from the negligent facility.
- Slip and fall accidents: These accidents are the leading type involved in what are known as premises liability lawsuits. A slip and fall caused by a wet floor, uneven walking surface, or some other hazardous property condition can cause a victim to strike his or her head and die of complications.
- Dangerous products: Manufacturers and retailers are required to ensure that the products they sell and distribute are reasonably safe and include adequate instructions and warnings. A dangerous or defective consumer good, however, can claim the life of many victims.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under South Carolina law, only certain individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party that caused the victim’s demise. These include:
- The decedent’s spouse
- An unmarried partner who parented a child with the decedent
- Children of the decedent, including those who were born out of wedlock
- A parent, if the decedent has no surviving spouse or children
- Legal heirs, if there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent
How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death lawsuits generally fall into two broad categories: those caused by negligence and those caused by intentional torts.
Negligence essentially means that a party did not act in a way that a reasonable person would have under the circumstances, and thereby caused the victim to die. There are four distinct elements that must be proven:
- Duty of care: This means the at-fault party had the obligation to act in a way that was mindful of the health and safety of others. For instance, every driver owes everyone else on the road the duty to operate their vehicles safely and in accordance with traffic laws.
- Breach: A breach means that, by some negligent act or omission, the at-fault party failed to abide by the duty of care. Drunk driving resulting in fatal injuries is a common example.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s breach must have caused the wrongful death. Establishing this element is more challenging when multiple defendants are involved, but a Greenville wrongful death attorney will help.
- Damages: Lastly, the survivors must prove the nature and amount of the damages they claim. These include, but are not limited to, the decedent’s final medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and lost financial support and benefits.
As opposed to negligence, intentional torts are more deliberate and sometimes more violent actions. Intentional torts are therefore based on the idea that someone purposefully engaged in some kind of conduct that resulted in death. An example might be a battery case in which the victim dies from his or her injuries.
Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits, and the required burden of proof is known as preponderance of the evidence. This means the plaintiff must prove only that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is valid.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There is not an unlimited amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit. South Carolina law sets a deadline, known as a statute of limitations, on these claims. Our state’s wrongful death statute of limitations establishes that survivors must file their lawsuits within three years of the date of the victim’s death. However, it is much easier to build a stronger case if you take action long before this deadline.
Why Choose Angela Frazier As Your Wrongful Death Attorney?
When you retain attorney Angela Frazier to represent you and your family, our office immediately gets to work investigating the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death.
We begin acquiring evidence, speaking with witnesses, and identifying all potentially liable parties.
We know that in the wake of your loved one’s death, the last thing you need is the stress of phone calls and letters from insurance companies trying to settle the case for their policyholders. Our firm therefore handles all communications and negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
If a full and fair settlement can be reached with the insurer out of court, we will pursue that route. However, we are not afraid to take your case in front of a jury if necessary and demand the maximum damages allowed by law.
Contact Our Greenville Wrongful Death Lawyer Angela Frazier Now
Selecting the right attorney will make a difference in the outcome of your wrongful death case.
Attorney Angela Frazier is ready to help you and your family seek the justice you deserve, and fight for every dollar. Call Elliott Frazier — Family, Personal Injury, & Car Accident Attorneys, LLC at 864.256.3553 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation today.