Hilton Head wrongful death attorney on beachFacing the devastation of losing a loved one in an accident can be overwhelming and having a Hilton Head wrongful death attorney to guide you through this difficult time is invaluable. The insurance companies don't care that you're devastated; they don't care about your loss. 

All the insurance company cares about is the bottom line, and these companies will use the same tactics they use in any other personal injury situation to try and deny or minimize your claim for damages. This is where having an aggressive Hilton Head wrongful death attorney with multi-state wrongful death experience becomes essential. Our firm handles catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases across South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina, and we know how to fight back against the bully insurance companies.

Ultimately, when you lose a loved one, you have enough to deal with getting through each day, and your priority should be mourning and healing, not struggling with complex legal proceedings or fighting with insurance adjusters. Our job is to guide you and help you get justice. It's our job to help you make sure that the negligent person or business responsible for killing your loved one has to pay for what they've done.

This article offers a bit of insight into wrongful death lawsuits in South Carolina, including who's eligible to file such cases, what damages are available, and how compensation gets distributed among family members. You'll also discover various types of accidents leading to these lawsuits in Hilton Head and in the rest of the Lowcountry, as well as how seeking help from a wrongful death lawyer might just provide the lifeline needed during these trying moments.

Overview of Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Hilton Head, South Carolina

South Carolina's wrongful death statute, specifically SC Code Ann. Section 15-51-10 et seq., provides the legal basis for bringing a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased individual's spouse, children, parents, or heirs. This South Carolina statute grants the right to pursue a claim for damages when the decedent's death is a result of deliberate, reckless, or negligent actions by another person or business. The lawsuit is generally for the benefit of those family members who suffered damages and losses as a result of the deceased person's death.

The complexity of wrongful death lawsuits can be overwhelming. These claims often arise from accidents where someone's negligence or reckless actions lead to another person's death. In South Carolina, the legal requirements for wrongful death claims are much like Georgia, Florida, and other states -- the case is essentially a personal injury lawsuit where a person is killed. We offer free legal consultations, and a wrongful death lawyer at our law firm can help you through every step of your case.

Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases in Hilton Head

The beautiful surroundings of Hilton Head Island can sometimes be deceiving, as accidents leading to wrongful death cases occur more often than you might think. Let's delve into the common incidents that might lead to wrongful death litigation in Hilton Head.

Boating Accidents

Boating is a big part of life in Hilton Head, Bluffton, and the rest of the Lowcountry. However, there is often a relaxed approach to boat safety, and people can get hurt or killed out on the water. This is especially true when alcohol is involved. As a result, boating accidents are one of the most obvious reasons for wrongful death cases in Hilton Head.

Jet Ski Rental Accidents

Hilton Head Island is a hotspot for tourists from all around the country who want to get out on the water and play. As a result, there are inexperienced folks operating jet skis all around Hilton Head, and many of them have never driven a boat in their life. They simply don't know how a watercraft moves in the water, and they don't have the skills to operate the jet ski safely.

Additionally, folks tend to be wild on jet skis while they're on vacation, and they may try to show off and engage in risky maneuvers. As a result, jet ski rides can quickly turn fatal. Obviously, the jet ski driver may be liable for negligence, but the companies that rent the jet skis could also be liable for improperly training folks prior to sending them out on the water.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Just as in any area, there is the possibility of getting injured or killed in a car accident, truck accident, or commercial vehicle accident in Hilton Head. However, there's a huge number of people out walking around and riding bicycles all over the Island. Thus, pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents are also major causes of wrongful death cases in Hilton Head and Bluffton. 

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in South Carolina?

According to South Carolina law, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate must bring the wrongful death lawsuit. Sometimes, this individual is called the "executor" or the "administrator" of the estate. This person is responsible for executing the terms of the deceased's will or, in the absence of a will, distributing the deceased's assets in accordance with South Carolina's probate laws.

The point here is that a specific person must be designated or appointed. This is to keep order. As you can imagine, if a person dies and leaves behind a surviving spouse, multiple kids, and surviving parents, all of these people suffer as a result of the death. However, they can't all run to the courthouse and file a lawsuit; there has to be order. Therefore, the court appoints one person to be the personal representative, and that person can file the wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina.

Damages Available in a South Carolina Wrongful Death Case

Wrongful death damages, whether obtained through settlement or verdict, aim to compensate for the present and future financial and emotional damages faced by the family members of the person killed by negligence. These damages encompass various aspects of a person's loss, including:

  • Medical expenses for injuries;
  • Funeral costs;
  • Lost wages and earnings;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress;
  • Loss of support or companionship;
  • Punitive damages (in cases of willful, wanton, reckless, or intentional conduct).

One can easily and quickly calculate economic damages, like medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses or damages that are quantifiable. However, calculating non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, loss of support, and loss of companionship, can be challenging. This is where a Hilton Head wrongful death attorney can help you get the most compensation possible for your losses.

Who Gets the Money in a South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the money recovered goes to the spouse, children, parents, or heirs, in accordance with South Carolina law. To be clear, the benefits of a wrongful death lawsuit are paid out as if the person died intestate, without a will, and no estate plan can alter this. In other words, this is set in stone, and wrongful death benefits are always paid out in accordance with South Carolina law. 

Naturally, the deceased person's spouse and children are first in line to benefit from a wrongful death suit. However, this can get complicated, depending on who survives the decedent. 

If there is a living spouse and no children, the spouse gets 100% of the wrongful death benefits. If there are children, the spouse gets 50%, and the children split the remaining 50% equally. For any deceased children, their share passes through them to their children. If the deceased leaves behind children but no living spouse, the children split the benefits equally.

However, if there is no surviving spouse or if there are no surviving children, the deceased person's parents may be able to benefit from a wrongful death lawsuit. In the absence of a spouse, children, or parents, the deceased person's siblings or other heirs under South Carolina law may be able to benefit from a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Can a Hilton Head Wrongful Death Attorney Do to Help?

When you lose a loved one due to negligence, you are thinking of a lot of different things, and you're dealing with the untimely loss of someone you loved. However, the insurance company is immediately thinking about how to fight your claim and pay you as little money as possible. They don't care about your loss; they just care about the money, and this is where a Hilton Head wrongful death attorney can help. 

Wrongful death lawyers can help you build the strongest case possible and fight to get you the compensation you're entitled to. For example, your attorney can get on your case and immediately begin gathering and preserving valuable evidence. Additionally, your Hilton Head wrongful death attorney can establish contact with the insurance company so that they don't try to get you on the phone and record you saying something they will try to use against you later. Ultimately, your attorney will know what your case is worth and can prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you.

Insurance companies handle wrongful death claims every year, and so do we. Thus, we know their tactics, and we know how to counter their moves to get the best result possible for our clients. 

FAQs in Relation to Hilton Head Wrongful Death Attorney

Q1: Who can sue for wrongful death in South Carolina?

A1: In South Carolina, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate usually files a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, this includes surviving spouses or children, but the deceased may appoint a personal representative in his or her will. Thus, the person working with the Hilton Head wrongful death attorney at our office to bring the claim will be the personal representative of the estate.

Q2: What constitutes wrongful death in South Carolina?

A2: A wrongful death happens when someone dies due to another person's negligence, recklessness, or intentional act. It can involve various accidents, like boating accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, or medical errors. Wrongful death cases may also involve vehicle malfunctions or defective products.

Q3: How are wrongful death settlements paid out in South Carolina?

A3: The payout from a settlement is typically divided among eligible family members based on relationships to the deceased and outlined by South Carolina law. SC wrongful death benefits cannot be altered by a will and are distributed according to South Carolina's laws of intestate succession. 

Q4: How long do you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina?

A4: You generally have three years from the date of your loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina. However, certain circumstances might alter this timeframe. Your SC injury lawyers can help you get your case filed in time so that you can get the compensation you're entitled to under the law.

Q5: How much does it cost to hire a Hilton Head wrongful death attorney?

A5: You pay nothing unless we win money for you, so legal representation is accessible. We take wrongful death and personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, whether we're serving Hilton Head Island or any other location in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, or North Carolina. In other words, you pay nothing up front, and we don't get paid unless you get paid. 

Q6: How much is a consultation with Hilton Head Island wrongful death lawyers?

A6: At our personal injury law firm, we offer free consultations and free case evaluations for your Hilton Head Island wrongful death case. All you have to do is call us and schedule a time to talk with a Hilton Head wrongful death attorney at our office.