It depends on who caused the death, which I’ll explain more below. But first things first: if you miss the legal deadline, you lose your rights to be compensated for the fatal accident—whether it’s a South Carolina wrongful death case or a survival action.
The safest, best thing for any grieving family to do in this situation is to get some guidance from an experienced attorney. Our Spartanburg wrongful death attorneys are here to answer your questions and help you protect your rights, and we won’t pressure you to hire us. You’ve already got more than you deserve to handle. We’re here to lighten your load. You can contact us the easiest way for you: start a live chat, fill out a Get Help Now form, or call toll-free at 888-230-1841.
Why the Deadlines Are a Looming Threat Hovering Over Your Head
Determining what deadline applies can be complicated. It often depends on the type of fatal accident involved and who it was that hurt you. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out precisely when the accident occurred—making it extremely hard to pinpoint when the deadline started to run. We see this in medical malpractice cases when victims aren’t sure exactly what medical mistake created the fatal accident and don’t know which doctor, nurse, or facility should be held responsible.
And this brings out another potential complication: if the case involves more than one party, different legal deadlines may apply.
Having said that, here’s some very basic information about the South Carolina legal deadline to file wrongful death lawsuits.
But before we get there, hear this WARNING: NEVER, EVER ASSUME A DEADLINE APPLIES TO YOUR CASE. It’s the most critical thing in your case to get it filed on time. There’s no easy way around doing the right thing here. You need to verify how long you’ve got by finding a South Carolina wrongful death attorney you trust. Because this question is so critical, don’t be surprised if the answer requires some legal research first.
South Carolina Statute of Limitation for Wrongful Death Cases and How to Avoid Losing Your Rights
The official name of South Carolina’s legal deadline to file a wrongful death case is the “statute of limitations.” “Statute” just means “written law passed by the legislature.” It’s in a law book, in black and white, and if you violate it, your case is over before it starts.
How to Beat the Deadline
You’ve got to do two vital things to preserve your family’s rights to a wrongful death settlement:
- Get a personal representative appointed for the estate. This person officially represents the estate in the case. It requires an appointment by a probate court order. If the victim has a will, it likely names a personal representative. That can help the probate court jumpstart the appointment process. Without a personal representative (PR), you can’t bring a case, a lawsuit can’t be filed, and a wrongful death attorney has no client—that’s why we’ll help you set up an estate if needed.
- File a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
How the Statute of Limitations Works for Different At-Fault Parties
Generally, how long you have to file a lawsuit for a wrongful death case in South Carolina depends on how the law defines a wrongdoer:
- Private [non-government-affiliated] parties. Usually three years from the accident. This includes private citizens, like most at-fault drivers in car or motorcycle accident cases. It also includes private companies, like trucking companies or other businesses. But sometimes, a business you think is private is actually government-affiliated, which can drastically reduce the statute of limitations, putting you on a tighter deadline to enforce your rights.
- Government-affiliated parties. Usually two years from the accident. This includes state, county, and local agencies like the police or the Department of Transportation. WARNING: Many entities that seem private are legally deemed government-affiliated. A key example is hospitals. Many county hospitals are actually legally affiliated with the government, giving them a shorter statute of limitations.
There’s Too Much at Stake. Don’t Risk Losing it. Take Action for Your Family.
You never wanted this, and you certainly didn’t ask for it. But you’ve been called to get justice for your family and help them recover a wrongful death settlement that can provide desperately needed financial aid.
You’ve taken the first brave, bold step to find out about your rights. Get these questions answered before it’s too late, starting with knowing when it’s too late.
We are Spartanburg, South Carolina wrongful death attorneys who help grieving families in cases involving fatal accidents. We’ve seen the agony and uncertainty these cases create. Even if you don’t hire us or aren’t ready to yet, we won’t pressure you. We’ll just answer your questions and give you some free pointers to light your way.
To do that, we’ll make it free and easy: just call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form. If you’re wondering what it’s like to work with us, check out the reviews on an attorney website we don’t own and Google.