More than 1,000 people lose their lives in South Carolina traffic collisions each year. (SCDPS, Traffic Collision Fact Book). Grieving families may wonder if they can sue for a wrongful death after a car accident.
When a person dies in a car accident because of the negligence or wrongful act of another party, surviving family can sue for wrongful death. The standard is whether the victim could have sued for personal injury if death had not occurred. (See S.C. Code § 15-51-10).
Wrongful death for a car accident is based on the party who is at fault for causing the car accident. This is often another driver involved in the accident. Fault is usually based on simple negligence, like a traffic violation. Intentional misconduct or reckless driving is not required.
Examples of grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident:
There are many ways that someone can cause a car accident. Even parties who are not directly involved, like an employer or a vehicle manufacturer, may be legally responsible for a car accident. Any party that acts negligently or wrongfully may be a defendant.
Family members that may sue for car accident wrongful death in South Carolina are:
The case is brought by the Personal Representative of the estate, but the beneficiaries are the qualifying family members. Damages are split among the victims according to the law. (S.C. Code § 15-51-20, § 15-51-40).
To sue for wrongful death after a car accident, you must prove the following:
You may rely on witness testimony, videos, photographs and accident reconstruction to prove fault for the accident. Then, you will introduce proof of death, including any necessary medical evidence that the death occurred as the result of the traffic collision.
Finally, you will prove your damages, which may include evidence of your pain and suffering, expenses incurred and testimony about the personal loss that you have suffered because of the loss of your loved one. You may be able to prove various elements through admissions and depositions of the other party.
Each case is different. A lawyer can help you build the evidence needed for your case.
The Law Office of Steven M. Krause, PA represents families suing for wrongful death after a car accident. To find out if you can sue and how to approach your claim, we invite you to contact us. We are sorry for your loss. We want to help you receive justice and the compensation you deserve. Contact us to talk to a lawyer now.
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.