If you have lost a loved one, we invite you to talk to wrongful death attorney Bert Louthian. The Louthian Law Firm is a family-owned law firm in Columbia that helps families through their toughest times. When you are grieving a loss in the family, we can advocate for you and take care of everything.
When an injury or other harm results in death, the surviving family may receive financial compensation.
In many ways, a wrongful death case is like a personal injury case. The party responsible for causing the death pays compensation to survivors. The Louthian Law Firm can represent your family in bringing a claim for compensation.
Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Columbia, SC
It may feel like life will never be the same again. Attorney Bert Louthian understands. He does everything in his power to make things right, helping families when a death occurs. We are here for you when things go wrong.
You can have a wrongful death attorney represent you. The Louthian Law Firm in Columbia, SC knows how the loss of a loved one can devastate the entire family. We focus on your financial recovery and do everything we can to make things right.
Call or message us today to talk about your situation and begin.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims We Handle
When a car accident results in death, negligence may be grounds for wrongful death compensation. Traffic violations, drunk driving and reckless driving may all make a party at fault for a car accident.
Other traffic accidents
Traffic accidents resulting in fatality may involve trucking companies, other commercial vehicles, pedestrians and motorcycles. Vehicle malfunctions and poor road conditions may play a role. Any traffic accident resulting in death may be the basis of a wrongful death claim.
Medical malpractice, medical devices
Too often, people who seek medical care are harmed by medical malpractice or defective medical devices. When medical malpractice results in death, family members may bring a wrongful death claim to seek answers, justice and compensation.
Drowning, boating accidents
You may file a claim if your family member is a drowning victim or loses their life in a boating accident. Our law firm can investigate the factors that caused the accident and who may have legal fault.
Slip and falls, falling objects
A slip and fall, falling object or other premises liability accident can cause a preventable death. We gather evidence to prove your right to compensation.
Dog bites, animal attacks
Dog bites and other animal attacks can be deadly for both adults and children. In South Carolina, dog owners are generally responsible for harm caused by their animals.
Fires and electrical accidents
Poor construction, inadequate maintenance and allowing dangerous conditions to persist without repair may cause a fire or electrical accident.
Poisoning and overdoses
Most people encounter many chemicals and substances in the day. A poisoning or overdose may be deadly. When a victim loses their life, the family may have a legal claim.
Pools, amusement parks and other sports and recreation facilities can pose a danger. Even a small lapse in safety can result in a deadly accident. An attorney can represent you and build your case, proving what happened and your right to compensation.
Workplace injuries resulting in death
When a workplace injury results in death, there may be multiple ways to approach a legal claim. We can look at all the options, answer your questions and prepare a legal strategy for your case.
Intentional harm, assault and battery
Intentional harm that results in death may be the basis of a civil claim. Whether or not the offender faces criminal charges, you may bring a wrongful death claim. Bringing a claim can provide justice. As a civil claim, you are in control of the major decisions in the case.
Who Can Claim for Wrongful Death?
If you are the:
- Spouse, husband or wife
- Child or children
- Parent, if no spouse or children
- Heirs, if no other survivors
you may benefit from a wrongful death claim.
The executor or administrator files the claim for the benefit of surviving family members.
Understanding Wrongful Death in South Carolina
A wrongful death is a personal injury that results in the death of the victim. When a personal injury results in death, the victim can’t bring a legal claim themselves. However, it wouldn’t be fair if there was no legal recourse. For that reason, South Carolina law allows surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim.
If you have lost a loved one, you should know:
- You may receive compensation by bringing a wrongful death claim.
- A wrongful death claim is a civil claim. The executor or administrator starts the case – they don’t have to wait for a solicitor or prosecutor to bring charges. The result of the case is financial compensation.
- Bringing a claim can provide justice and honor the life of your loved one. It can give you answers and raise awareness that might help others. It can result in financial compensation that helps your family.
- You can have an attorney represent you.
- The Louthian Law Firm handles cases throughout the Columbia, SC area.
- Our law firm is a family-owned law firm that focuses on helping families. With more than three decades of experience representing people in the Columbia region, Bert Louthian has experience and a track record of success.
- Consultations with attorney Bert Louthian are free of charge. Learn about your case and how we can assist you.
In many ways, a wrongful death claim is like other personal injury claims. The basis of the claim is that the injury is caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another. If death had not occurred, the victim would have had their own claim.
There are some ways that wrongful death claims are different than other personal injury claims. Surviving family members receive the proceeds of the claim as determined by South Carolina law. Damages are the injury resulting from the death to the parties who are the beneficiaries of the action. There are unique legal procedures including court approval of a settlement under S.C. Code § 15-51-41.
Wrongful Death Settlements and Judgments
If you have lost a loved one unexpectedly, you may qualify to receive a wrongful death settlement or judgment. A settlement is an agreement reached by the parties. A judgment is a court order that is the result of a trial. Our law firm focuses on building a strong case. Then, whether you choose to pursue a settlement or trial judgment, you are able to seek the compensation you deserve.
FAQs About Wrongful Death in South Carolina
You may be facing a difficult situation in which a loved one recently died due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or deliberate intent to harm. Our list of frequently asked questions is intended to provide you with answers to a number of basic questions involving wrongful death claims in South Carolina.
In our state, we also have available a related legal action called a survival action. This is to help a person who has been injured, but who does not die immediately, to recover damages for the time period between the accident and death. This list of FAQs does not address survival actions.
What is the legal definition of wrongful death?
A wrongful death is one that is caused by the carelessness—meaning negligence—or misconduct of another person or organization. This includes the failure to act if such action would have prevented a death. A wrongful death could be caused by a car wreck, a workplace accident, a defective consumer product, or medical malpractice, among other causes.
A wrongful death case is not a murder case. A wrongful death case is tried in civil court, as opposed to a murder case, which is tried in criminal court. The burdens of proof are very different. However, a defendant who has been tried for murder can also be sued in a wrongful death case. The most famous example of this situation is when a wrongful death case was brought against OJ Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
How does the state of South Carolina define wrongful death?
A wrongful death is one that is caused by “the wrongful act, neglect or default of another.” The person who committed the wrongful act, neglect, or default, if their actions had not caused death but only injury, could have been liable for damages in a personal injury claim filed against them.
Essentially, a wrongful death claim is a personal injury case in which the injured party cannot bring a case because the injury brought about their death. That means someone else must bring the case for them. The person or persons bringing the case can seek damages of various kinds.
Can a family member bring a wrongful death suit?
In South Carolina, a wrongful death claim must be brought by whoever administers the deceased’s estate. If the deceased has no estate plan or will, then the court can appoint an administrator or executor. However, any claim that is filed is brought on behalf of family members. Damages can be recovered by the following family members in a South Carolina wrongful death case:
- The spouse and/or children of the deceased
- The parents of the deceased, if there is no spouse or child/children, even if the deceased was an adult, unless the parents abandoned their now-deceased child before the child turned 18
- Other legal heirs of the deceased, if there are no parents, spouse, or child/children.
What kinds of wrongful death claims can be brought?
Many kinds of situations can bring about a wrongful death. In our state, any fatal accident can be the reason for a wrongful death suit if negligence or other factors are involved, including all kinds of vehicular accidents, nursing home abuse or neglect, and medical malpractice.
In general, who can be sued for wrongful death?
Who can be sued depends on the kind of case you are bringing. For example, in a car accident case involving a drunk driver, the defendants in the wrongful death claim could be:
- The DUI driver
- The person who served the impaired driver
- The owner of the business where the alcohol was served.
Additionally, if there were defective road conditions, a vehicular defect, or if the DUI driver was on the job at the time of the accident, the claim might also include some of the following parties:
- The driver’s employer
- The maker of the automobile
- The maker or installer of a defective automotive part
- The designer of the faulty road
- The person who failed to post warnings of negative road conditions.
These lists are meant as examples only. Each case is different.
In some cases, the government or certain persons are considered immune from wrongful death suits, meaning the law prevents them from being sued. It is best to consult with an attorney if you have any concerns about whether you are allowed to bring a wrongful death case against a specific party.
What are the likely damages in a wrongful death suit?
The kinds of compensation you can sue for in a South Carolina wrongful death suit include:
- Expenses for the deceased’s funeral and burial/cremation
- Bills resulting from the deceased’s final medical care that are related to the illness or injury
- Lost wages and benefits as a result of the death
- Any property damages or other financial losses due to the death
- The loss of the deceased’s love and companionship
- The loss of the deceased’s judgment, experience, guidance, and services
- Any pain, suffering, and mental distress experienced by the surviving family.
In certain cases, the court may also award punitive damages if the actions that caused the death are considered deliberate or reckless. Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are intended to punish the person at fault and serve as a warning to others.
What are the time limits in bringing a wrongful death case?
The statute of limitations for bringing a wrongful death case in South Carolina is within three years of the deceased’s date of death. It is crucial that you bring your case before the time limit is up, because the court will not hear a case that is brought after three years.
Does a wrongful death claim supersede a will?
If there is a wrongful death claim, the deceased person’s will still applies to their estate. The beneficiaries of the wrongful death claim are determined by South Carolina law. Wrongful death proceeds are separate from the deceased person’s estate and are not subject to claims against the estate.
What’s my next step?
A wrongful death claim allows the survivors to ease their financial troubles as well as seek justice from wrongdoers. Unfortunately, bills continue to roll in regardless of one’s grief and loss; you may have lost the main breadwinner in your family, making your situation even more difficult. And monetary considerations, important as they may be, pale next to the love and support that children, spouses, and others may now be without—forever. A wrongful death’s effects are felt for a lifetime.
How We Help
Columbia wrongful death attorney Bert Louthian uses a 1-2-3 step process to help people following the death of a loved one:
One – Call us for your consultation
Consultations with the Louthian Law Firm are always free. We know that you are grieving, and you may be wondering where to even begin. We understand. Reach out to our legal team to talk about your situation. We want to answer your questions and talk about your options.
Two – Build your legal strategy
Every family is different. We want to know you and your circumstances. There are often multiple ways to approach a wrongful death case. Together, we build a strategy. We’re flexible to adapt as your case unfolds, and we’re always here to answer questions and talk things over.
Three – You focus on family, we focus on the rest
By addressing the technical aspects of your case, we build the evidence needed to seek the appropriate resolution. We conduct depositions, gather records, work with accident reconstruction professionals and line up experts for complex issues. While we’re busy working on your case, you focus on your family.
Why Choose Our Experienced Law Firm?
Highlights of our law firm include:
- Focus on the legal needs of the family including wrongful death claims
- Understanding the ways families are impacted by the unexpected loss of a loved one. We consider current losses and future needs
- Claims handled in Columbia, SC and the entire region. We are conveniently located across from the Richland County Circuit Court
- AV® Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell reflecting the highest standards for professional excellence
- Membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum reflecting the success we have achieved for our clients
- Free consultation and answers to your questions throughout the case
- Complete representation so that we work on your case while you take care of your family
The Louthian Law Firm is dedicated to serving the needs of survivors when they need outstanding legal representation.
Talk to a Lawyer – Free Consultation
Talk to Columbia wrongful death attorney Bert Louthian today. He can talk with you about your situation, your legal options and how he can help. Contact the Louthian Law Firm to begin.