Families often wonder if they have any rights to recover for a loved one's accidental death in situations like a car crash, medical mistake, nursing home neglect, or defective product. A lawyer who's helped families of victims who died in accidents describes what they can do legally.


In South Carolina, when someone passes away as a result of an accident there's actually two cases that can be brought. The first is a wrongful death claim for the benefit of certain relatives of the victim. The other is a survival claim that's brought for the victim’s estate. Let’s talk about those briefly. First the wrongful death claim benefits certain relatives, usually the spouse and children, if none the parents, if none siblings. Qualifying relatives can be compensated for their wounded feelings, shock, sorrow, and emotional trauma as a result of the victim’s death. They can also be compensated for lost income that would have contributed to their support and they can also be compensated for the lost companionship of the victim.

Next, the survival claim. That’s brought for the estate of the victim. The survival claim compensates the victim’s estate for the victim’s medical bills and the victim’s conscious pain, suffering, and mental distress caused by the accident. Both claims allow punitive damages, if justified. You can also recover the funeral bills

If you find yourself in the position of considering one of these cases you probably need a professional you trust, who has got experience in this process who can fight a fight you're probably not up to and can keep you from being short changed or overlooking something in your grief and exhaustion.

I thank you for thinking about this with me and if you're in one of these kinds of cases know that our sympathies are with you.

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.