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Common Questions About Wrongful Death Claims

Common Questions About Wrongful Death Claims

If a family member died due to someone else's negligence, can I bring a claim?

In South Carolina, wrongful death claims can be brought after the estate is opened and a representative has been appointed. At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, we are able to provide the Probate Court services that are necessary in order to open the estate.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

Who Is Entitled to Receive Money From a Wrongful Death Claim?

Legal heirs or next of kin to the deceased are eligible to receive the proceeds of a wrongful death claim. This may include the surviving spouse and children, or in the case of someone unmarried it may include their parents, siblings, or other relatives.

In some cases, a portion of the proceeds will be allocated to what is called a survival action. Any portion of the survival action that remains after the estate pays any necessary expenses will be distributed according to the decedent's will (if any), otherwise, it will pass to the legal heirs just like the other wrongful death benefits.

How Much Is a Wrongful Death Case Worth?

The law does not presume that it can put a monetary value on a human life, but several factors should be considered. What follows is a partial listing of what is considered relevant in evaluating any wrongful death claim:

  • Was the death due to ordinary negligence or carelessness, or was it due to gross negligence or reckless conduct?
  • Are there final medical bills?
  • Did the defendant have conscious pain and suffering? Did they know they were injured and the extent of their injuries before death?
  • How much was the funeral expense?
  • How strong was the relationship between the decedent and their next of kin? Did they have a spouse, or children who were dependent on them for financial support?
  • What were the future earnings of the decedent?

Frequently it is only possible to determine the fair value for a wrongful death case after careful examination of all of the available evidence. Just as no two people or families are alike, there is no set value for this type of claim.


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