A wrongful death impacts the entire family. Siblings are left grieving the loss of their loved one.
If you are a brother or sister who has lost a loved one to a wrongful death, you may wonder if you can receive compensation through a legal claim. In South Carolina, the answer may be yes.
The Law Office of Steven M. Krause, PA explains wrongful death lawsuits involving siblings in South Carolina.
A sibling can benefit from a wrongful death claim in South Carolina if there are no closer surviving family members. The suit must be brought by, or in the name of, the victim’s Personal Representative or administrator. A surviving spouse, child or parent, has priority for the appointment to become the Personal Representative. If there are none of these family members then siblings would become eligible for the appointment.
For the surviving spouse and children, the answer is always yes — if they have lost a loved one, they may benefit from a wrongful death claim. For brothers and sisters of the deceased person, the answer isn’t as simple. With siblings, it depends on whether the victim had any closer family.
If the deceased victim leaves a spouse, children or parents, then siblings cannot be included.
However, if there are no closer relatives than siblings, then brothers and sisters can benefit from the claim.
S.C. Code § 15-51-20 explains that a wrongful death claim is brought for the benefit of the surviving spouse or child. If there is no spouse or child, then the beneficiary is the parent.
If there are no parents, then the beneficiary is the heir of the deceased person. S.C. Code § 62-1-201 defines heirs as persons entitled under interstate succession law to the property of a decedent. Without closer relatives, the next heirs are siblings.
Under S.C. Code § 62-2-107, half-siblings are treated the same as full siblings for wrongful death claims in South Carolina.
In a South Carolina wrongful death claim, a sibling may recover damages as proportioned to the injury resulting to the beneficiaries. The recovery is divided as though the victim had died intestate. For siblings, it’s critical to provide evidence of the financial and personal harm suffered because of the loss of the deceased.
Exemplary damages may be awarded if the death results from recklessness, willfulness or malice.
If you have lost a sibling because of a personal injury accident, we are truly sorry. The Law Office of Steven M. Krause, P.A. represents people in wrongful death claims. To determine if you qualify to bring a claim, determine what your case may be worth and to discuss your case with a lawyer, call 864-225-4000 or visit our website at KrauseLaw.org.
Steven Krause is a personal injury, auto accident, and workers’ compensation lawyer who practices in Anderson, SC. He graduated form the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law and has been practicing law for 40 years now. Steven Krause believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience here.