Charleston Wrongful Death Attorney

The death of a loved one is among the most difficult experiences we must face. It becomes all the more challenging if you are seeking justice for the negligent actions of another party who caused the wrongful death of your family member through their reckless or unlawful behavior.

At Rikard & Protopapas, we know that while money can never replace the life of your loved one, receiving the full amount of financial compensation you deserve can go a long way toward providing closure in the wake of a tragic event. Learn how our Charleston wrongful death attorneys can help you secure a favorable outcome.

Do I Have a Wrongful Death Case?

South Carolina law defines wrongful death as any death that is “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” If you can prove that the negligence of another person or group contributed to the death of your loved one and that your family suffered recoverable damages as a result, then you likely have a strong wrongful death case on your hands. Your wrongful death attorney can assume the burden of collecting and presenting the relevant evidence on your behalf.

Remember, in South Carolina, only the executor of the estate named in the deceased’s will is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. This differs greatly from other states where any surviving beneficiary may file a claim.

Regardless of who the executor is and the nature of their relationship with the family, the only people who can actually recover the damages awarded in a wrongful death case are the surviving spouse and children or the surviving parents when the deceased had no spouse or children. When there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent, the recovered damages go to any remaining heirs.

At Rikard & Protopapas, our wrongful death lawyers handle cases stemming from a wide variety of fatal incidents, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Defective products

While attorneys pride themselves on helping you determine if you have a case at no charge to you, it’s best to contact the firm as soon as possible after a fatal incident occurs. South Carolina enforces a statute of limitations, usually of three years following the wrongful death, after which it is not possible to pursue a claim. Filing early also gives you the best chance at a successful case before crucial evidence disappears over the course of time.

What Can a Wrongful Death Attorney in Charleston Do for Your Case?

The role of a wrongful death lawyer is to protect your rights and ensure you get the full settlement you deserve from the insurance company. Our team can investigate the circumstances regarding the accident that befell your loved one, help you understand whether you have a case, evaluate the damages owed to you, and negotiate with insurers on your behalf using collected evidence.

It is important to keep in mind that the laws surrounding wrongful death are complex and that filing a wrongful death claim can be a complicated process in itself. Having an attorney in your corner provides the guidance and support you need. By involving our team early on in the process, we can even help you file your initial claim to ensure accuracy and correctness.

What Damages Can I Recover for My Loss?

Recoverable damages in a wrongful death case refer to both the economic and non-economic losses you suffer as a result of a loved one’s death caused by a negligent third party. The nature and extent of these damages can differ greatly from case to case, but there are a number of common damages that you might expect to recover.

Economic damages

Any compensation you receive for the financial burden placed on you and your family as a result of a wrongful death are economic damages. It’s common to pursue economic damages in a wrongful death case for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral or cremation costs
  • Loss of income or benefits provided by your deceased loved one
  • Loss of contributions to retirement accounts or other investment accounts
  • Property damage caused by the accident

A wrongful death attorney at our firm in Charleston can help you bear the burden of proof when it comes to economic damages by compiling medical bills, pay stubs, tax returns, and other financial documents establishing the monetary damage to your family as a result of the accident.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are those that are not monetary in nature but still valid by law and subject to compensation by the at-fault party. These are matters of physical, emotional, or mental pain that are difficult to financially measure, such as:

  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship or consortium

The path toward determining a dollar amount for non-economic damages is rarely straightforward, meaning that insurance providers might try to take advantage of the confusion to offer a lowball settlement. Your lawyer can help you understand a fair settlement and advocate for more suitable compensation from insurers.

How Do I Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?

While it may already feel as though you are shouldering enough of a burden following the death of a loved one, you also bear the burden of proof when it comes to filing a wrongful death claim.

This is difficult alone. The components of your case that you and your Charleston wrongful death attorney must prove are:

  • The other party committed a wrongful act based on negligence or recklessness
  • The proven wrongful act was a direct cause of the wrongful death of your loved one
  • There are recoverable damages for you to pursue through a wrongful death claim
  • You are eligible to bring the claim and recover those damages

Your legal team can support you every step of the way when proving your claim and handle the work so that you can focus on recovery in this difficult time.

Contact a Charleston Wrongful Death Attorney Now

Contacting a Charleston wrongful death attorney should be one of the first priorities after a fatal incident takes the life of a loved one. Even if you’re not sure you have a strong case, our team at Rikard & Protopapas can help you explore your options and pursue any compensation your family deserves. Call us today at 803-978-6111 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation.

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