Wrongful Death is defined as a death that is caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another. The wrongful act, neglect, or fault that causes the death must be the type of action that would have allowed for a personal injury action to be filed. Wrongful Death claims are governed by statutes. Generally, the statutes define who may sue and what may be applied to an award for damages. Obviously, no amount of money can replace a loved one, but monetary awards are often the only remedy we have access to. While monetary damages will never bring the person back, often they can help families at least start to rebuild their lives.
In South Carolina a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative, or executor, of the deceased person’s probate estate. The personal representative, or executor, is often named in the deceased person’s last will and testament. If there is no will the probate court will appoint a personal representative. Only legal heirs of a deceased person can recover damages in a wrongful death action. Typically these people include the surviving spouse, children or parents, however based on the family history, those that can recover may extend well beyond the immediate family.