Each lawyer at the top rated Joe Griffith Law Firm has a wealth of experience in the legal fields of personal injury, wrongful deaths and survival claims. Our lawyers are located in Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, and devote 100% of their practices to litigation. Serious and catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death litigation are a major focus of our practice. Lead by former federal prosecutor Joseph P. Griffith, Jr., the Joe Griffith Law Firm is designated as an AV rated firm by the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell® attorney rating company, signifying the highest possible ranking for legal ability and ethics as judged by peers in the legal profession. Every attorney at our firm is dedicated to providing outstanding legal service to each of our clients and will fight to obtain all of the compensation due our clients under the law. Client satisfaction is our number one goal.
A wrongful death due to another’s negligence or wrongful act can occur in a variety of circumstances, including:
A case involving a wrongful death is governed by statute and interpretive case law rulings by South Carolina courts.
The South Carolina Wrongful Death Act provides the statutory authority for a wrongful death claim.
S.C. Code §§ 15-51-10, et seq. A wrongful death action is generally initiated by the personal representative, executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate, which may be a spouse, child, or other family member. In
Ballard v. Ballard, 314 S.C. 40, 443 S.E.2d 802 (1994), the South Carolina Supreme Court held that “[u]nder S.C. Code § 15-51-20, a personal representative may bring a wrongful death action for the benefit of statutory beneficiaries, including the parents of the deceased where there is no surviving spouse or child as in this case.”
The Ballard Court listed the damages recoverable for a wrongful death as those “damages sustained by the statutory beneficiaries resulting from the death of the decedent, including pecuniary loss, mental shock and suffering, wounded feelings, grief, sorrow, and loss of society and companionship.”
Other potential damages in a Wrongful Death Action include:
- Hospital and medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Money compensation for the loss of income the deceased would have provided the family in the future
- Loss of society and companionship can include the beneficiaries’ loss of the decedent’s experience, knowledge and judgment in managing his affairs and those of his beneficiaries
In addition to wrongful death damages, the estate may also recover under the South Carolina Survival Statute, which provides money damages for the conscious pain and suffering the decedent experienced prior to death as well as medical expenses incurred.
South Carolina Code § 15-5-90, entitled “Survival of right of action,” provides as follows:
Causes of action for and in respect to any and all injuries and trespasses to and upon real estate and any and all injuries to the person or to personal property shall survive both to and against the personal or real representative, as the case may be, of a deceased person and the legal representative of an insolvent person or a defunct or insolvent corporation, any law or rule to the contrary notwithstanding.
Some recent recoveries in SC Wrongful Death Actions include:
- $3 Million Dollar jury award for the wrongful death of a 12 year old due to a negligent fire (1998)
- $1.1 Million Dollar jury award for the wrongful death of a cancer patient due to a negligent failure to diagnose cervical cancer (1998)
- $3.5 Million Dollar jury award for the survival claim of a cancer patient due to a negligent failure to diagnose cervical cancer (1998)
- $250,000 court award for the wrongful death claim and $250,000 court award for the survival claim of an 8 year old killed in an auto-pedestrian accident (2000) (statutory cap applied)
- $792,577 jury award for the wrongful death of a patient due to the over-prescription of pain medication (2002)
- Three $6 Million Dollar court awards for the wrongful deaths of two sixteen year olds and one thirteen year old due to the failure to properly conduct a rescue (2001)
The Joe Griffith Law Firm is a Charleston, South Carolina (“SC”) law firm that focuses on personal injury and wrongful death litigation. Each of our lawyers have years of experience handling these types of cases. Our attorneys will investigate the facts, assess your claim, determine which parties and insurance companies are to be held responsible, organize all of the details of your case and pursue it vigorously in settlement negotiations or at trial. If you believe that you or a loved one may have a personal injury or wrongful death case,
please contact the Joe Griffith Law Firm.
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