Honest Answers From Your South Carolina Lawyer
When you’re faced with a major life event, you’re filled with questions and uncertainty. Get the straight answers you’re looking for from a South Carolina attorney.
- Page 1
How long do you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit for a fatal accident in South Carolina?
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.
What can I take to my first attorney meeting about a South Carolina fatal accident or wrongful death case?
If you’re asking this question, you need simplicity, and I’m going to give it to you. Bring every piece of paper or evidence that might relate to your loved one’s accident, the medical care for it, and untimely death. Below you’ll find a list of some things you can bring to help the attorney start an evaluation of the case, but first, a little information for you about how these cases work.
The Basics of Accidental Death Cases in South Carolina
This is called a wrongful death case. It gives certain family members the legal right to be compensated for the loss of a family member. The law gives rights to specific compensation in a settlement for a fatal case.
There are a host of reasons why you need an attorney for a wrongful death case, and you can read about the most important ones in this article.
Meeting with an attorney about a wrongful death case should be free. Most lawyers call this a consultation. At my firm, the meeting is a free strategy session because that’s what we’re going to do—start building your case from the ground up, painting a picture of what it will look like going forward. I’ve worked awful hard to make sure these meetings are easy, comfortable, and informative for you. Because that’s who it’s about—you.
Remeber, you can always call our office at (864) 582-0416 and request a free consultation to discuss your situation. And if you hire us, no, you won’t need any money to do it.
Now, on to what you can bring to help us get started on your case evaluation.
Things You Can Bring to Help the Attorney Get Started on Your Wrongful Death Case
The first thing to remember is, if you don’t have some or any of these documents, don’t worry. A good lawyer does a thorough investigation to help you gather these things, but below are documents and evidence that can really help jumpstart your case:
- Your appointment by the Probate Court as personal representative of the estate. In a wrongful death case, the actual client is the personal representative of the estate. Before the case can be officially started, you need to get this from the probate court. If you don’t have it, we can help you get it.
- Death certificate. This is an official document for any death in our state. We use it to help prove the actual cause of death is linked to the accident. This is especially important in medical malpractice and nursing home or assisted living facility cases. But even if the death certificate doesn’t list the accident as causing the death, you can still have a case. You owe it to yourself and your family to pursue it if you feel the death was caused by someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing.
- Other documents and evidence needed, depending on the type of case. Wrongful death cases get caused for a variety of reasons, whether it’s car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer trucking accidents, slip or trip and fall cases, medical malpractice, or nursing home/assisted living facility neglect. To help you figure out what we might need depending on those cases, here are articles on what you need depending on the case:
- Car, motorcycle, or semi-trailer wreck
- Slip or trip and fall, medical malpractice, or nursing home neglect
ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE THAT’S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT: Evidence of what your loved one earned at their job. This helps us prove all the potential lost income created by this tragic death.
You’ve Already Got a Lot of Things to Worry About—What It’s Like to Deal With a Lawyer Shouldn’t Be One of Them
Meeting with a lawyer is hard, even when you’re not overwhelmed by grief and the avalanche of responsibilities that comes with picking up the pieces of an unexpected death. If you’re hesitant to come to see us because you worry about how you’ll be treated, watch this brief video on how we helped a family who went through something like you.
And if it’s still too early for you to think about coming to our office but you’ve still got questions you need answers to, no worries. You can just call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form. But you've got to act before it's too late.
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
It depends, but you don’t need to bring your own money to do it. Personal injury lawyers get paid with a “contingency fee.” It’s a cut from the financial settlement the lawyer earns for you. Additionally, you reimburse the lawyer from the settlement for money he spends to help your case.
The beauty of a contingency fee is that it should drive your lawyer to get the best settlement possible. The more money you get, the more he earns. Plus there’s less risk to you—you pay nothing from your pocket, which may be empty from losing work due to your injuries.
Here’s more specifics how this works.
Understanding Personal Injury Lawyer Fees
Fee percentages vary among lawyers. Our fees are usually one-third of your settlement. If the case gets within 10 days of trial, the extra work may justify increasing the fee to 40%. At Holland and Usry, we pledge that our clients get more in their pockets than our fee. You’ve lived through it, so you deserve more than us.
Typical Personal Injury Case Costs
“Costs” are money we spend to help your case. At Holland and Usry, we work to minimize these costs—without hurting your case—to help get you get the most money possible.
Typical costs include:
- Fees for evidence. In traffic crash cases, we get the officer’s accident report. Sometimes we get public documents for other evidence through Freedom of Information Act requests, like more extensive crash reports in serious DUI accident cases or coroner’s files in wrongful death cases. In cases where we file a lawsuit, we may subpoena information. All these requests usually generate a research and copying fee.
- Fees charged by medical providers for records and bills. The extent of your injuries is often molded by an expert in them—your doctor. We can’t present your case without medical records. No insurance company will pay without clinical proof the accident caused your injuries.
- Fees charged by your doctor to meet with him. Sometimes we meet with your doctor to fully understand the professional view of your injuries. A brief questionnaire developed from this meeting can provide powerful evidence of the severity of your injuries, permanent damage, and your need for future care.
- Filing fees. When we file a lawsuit, the clerk of court charges a fee to do it. If your case requires motions to be argued before a judge, we also pay a filing fee for that.
- Depositions. Depositions are out-of-court sworn testimony where each side finds out what the other side’s trial testimony will likely be. Done right, it can require hours of preparation. The most costly and often most important depositions are doctor depositions. They testify at trial through a deposition, which we often record on video for a more powerful effect on the jury.
- Experts. Some cases require a professional with special knowledge or training to prove your case. For example, medical malpractice cases can’t be filed without a doctor’s sworn statement your doctor did something wrong to hurt you. Because experts can make costs skyrocket, we use them cautiously.
- Mediation. Courts require that we try to use the mediation process to resolve a civil claim before it goes to trial. The parties hire an experienced mediator (usually a lawyer or former judge) with no interest in the outcome to try to help them settle it. We pay the mediation fee up front, but we get reimbursed from your final settlement or verdict.
Bonus For You: Your Injury Lawyer Works for Free Until Your Case Is Over
If you’re hurt in an accident, it costs you nothing up front to hire a trained professional to solve your problem. That’s a much better deal than your doctor offers. And handling a serious injury case on your own is like operating on yourself. You wouldn’t do that, would you?
So you literally have nothing to lose—and potentially more than you think to gain—by sitting down with a skilled professional whose job is helping folks like you. Here's more good news for you: when you come to our office, you'll be welcomed into a free, easy strategy session with no pressure or obligation to hire us.
Wondering what it's like to be a client? See these reviews we didn't pay for on a website we don’t own, as well as Google Plus.Give yourself a shot by contacting us toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form so we can start answering your questions and talk about what we can do to help.
My father died from injuries in a South Carolina accident after weeks in the hospital. Can my family sue for his pain and suffering before he died?
Yes, if someone can be proven legally liable for causing the accident leading to his death. South Carolina law allows a victim’s estate to recover for his conscious pain and suffering in a claim called a “survival action.”
A victim need not be fully awake and alert to communicate conscious pain and suffering. But to prove the claim fully, you’ll need a sharp, experienced, and hardworking lawyer who knows how to probe medical records for clinical evidence of suffering, as well as interview witnesses who can attest to it, then present the evidence in a meaningful way to convince the insurance company or a jury to properly compensate the estate.
As a family member, you also have rights to recover in a claim usually brought at the same time as a survival action, called a wrongful death case.
If you’re picking up the pieces from a loved one’s accidental death you think someone else is responsible for, give the burden of this claim to a professional who can ease your strain, keep you from the frustration of fighting an insurance company, and give you peace of mind your loved one’s case will be done right. There's important reasons to seek a lawyer for your situation. Contact us to see how we can carry this burden for you. Remember, it’s your only chance to make this right.
What does wrongful death mean? What legal rights do you have when someone dies in an accident?
When someone dies in an accident, grieving families pursue their legal rights for truly good reasons- to get answers, to hold a wrongdoer accountable, to obtain financial support a settlement can create to make up for a lost breadwinner. These cases are extremely tough emotionally, and you can’t expect the opposing insurance company to help you.
But we’re experienced Spartanburg wrongful death attorneys, and we will. Here’s a brief guide to the basics of a case to get a settlement for a fatal accident.
What Does Wrongful Death Mean?
Wrongful death is a legal term for the claim made when an accident- meaning any acccident- causes the victim’s death. South Carolina law allows certain relatives of the victim, usually the spouse, children, and/or parents, to be compensated for:
- The emotional trauma caused by the death,
- Loss of the victim’s companionship, and
- The victim’s lost earnings that would have contributed to supporting the family.
The victim’s estate may also have a survival claim to recover for the victim’s:
- Medical bills and
- Conscious pain, suffering, and mental distress caused by the accident.
Either case can make a claim for funeral expenses. Both cases can include punitive damages.
A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Can Help Your Family Obtain a Fuller Sense of Justice
Wrongful death lawsuits obtain justice for accidents. Legally, criminal law does little or nothing to hold wrongdoers accountable for accidents. A wrongful death case can help victims fill in the gaps left by criminal law.
For example, a husband gets T-boned by a semi-truck that runs a red light. The husband dies, leaving a widow with small children. All criminal law can do is fine the trucker a few hundred bucks. A small fine paid to the state will never help make up for a departed spouse's lost income or pay medical bills from the crash.
But South Carolina's wrongful death law gives the widow and children a chance at a settlement they could really use. They have a claim against the trucker and his employer, the trucking company.
There's Too Much at Stake for a Loss that's Too Much to Bear. Get Professional Help.
Shock and sorrow flow from losing a loved one in an accident beyond their control, and yours. But you can control choosing a professional you trust to protect your family's rights and handle your case properly. It's critical, because the stakes are high. This is likely the only chance you'll have at real justice and needed financial support.
If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, you owe it to yourself and your family to meet with a lawyer experienced in these cases. At Holland & Usry, our Spartanburg accident lawyers look after folks like you in fatal accident cases.
Wondering what it's like to work with us? Check out unscripted reviews from real clients on a lawyer rating website we don't own, and see what they say on google reviews.