Posted on Jul 20, 2023

An accident occurred in Bluffton resulting in the unfortunate deaths of Carlos Melendez-Contreras, 39, and Osman Zuniga-Melendez, 24, both from Honduras, according to the Beaufort County Coroner's Office.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the accident happened around 5:45 a.m. at the intersection of Bluffton Parkway and Buck Island Road. It involved a 2006 GMC pickup truck and a 2008 Toyota van. The preliminary investigation suggests that the Toyota van was making a turn onto Buck Island Road when the crash happened.

Thankfully, both drivers escaped with no injuries. However, the two passengers in the van, one in the front and one in the back seat, lost their lives in the tragic incident.

Pursuing a Wrongful Death Case in South Carolina After a Fatal Car Accident

In the aftermath of a fatal car accident, initiating a wrongful death lawsuit in South Carolina can be a crucial step in seeking both justice and financial restitution. Such a lawsuit aims to provide compensation for funeral expenses, loss of future income, and the emotional suffering caused by the tragic loss of a loved one.

Typically, in South Carolina, a wrongful death claim is filed by the executor or administrator or personal representative of the deceased person's estate. While this responsibility often falls on a family member, it can also be carried out by an attorney or another appointed individual. The claim is directed against the party whose negligence or intentional actions resulted in the untimely death.

To establish a valid wrongful death case in South Carolina, the claimant must demonstrate that the defendant's negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior directly caused the victim's demise. This generally involves a comprehensive evaluation of the accident, including a thorough review of police reports, eyewitness accounts, and potentially the assistance of accident reconstruction experts.

Compensation in these cases can vary, but typically covers funeral expenses, loss of future income (particularly if the deceased was a breadwinner), loss of companionship, and emotional distress. It is important to note that South Carolina allows punitive damages in certain circumstances. These damages not only aim to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior but also act as a deterrent against similar future misconduct.

It is worth noting that South Carolina law imposes a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, typically requiring the claim to be filed within three years from the date of death. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your case is prepared and filed within this timeframe.

Engaging a knowledgeable attorney can be immensely valuable during these challenging times. They can provide guidance and support, navigating the bereaved through the complex legal process.