Wrongful Death Lawyers in Columbia Guiding You Through a Difficult Time
When you lose a loved one, it is a horrible situation, and the grief can feel overwhelming. But unfortunately, these sudden losses can also impact your finances, whether or not you can stay in your home, and what your family situation will look like moving forward. It can be difficult to keep your head above water as you navigate all of these matters. Having to work through the legal system and everything involved in a wrongful death case just adds another layer of complexity.
Losing a loved one is an impossible situation, and the last thing you want to do is deal with legal matters. At Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC, we represent you through negotiations, hearings, and the trial, if necessary, to ensure that your interests are protected. Our wrongful death attorneys can talk to you about what is involved in a wrongful death lawsuit and how we can help make the process as stress-free as possible so you can focus on what matters during this time.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a legal option for the surviving family members to pursue a case against someone whose negligent actions caused or greatly contributed to the death of their loved one. In general, the actions of the defendant have to be deemed negligent, deliberate, or reckless to be able to prove a wrongful death case.
A wrongful death case is filed by the executor of the deceased’s person’s estate, but it is for the benefit of the person’s spouse and/or children who have been left behind. In cases where the person was unmarried or did not have children, the parents of the deceased can receive any compensation awarded by the courts. If the parents are already deceased, the benefits pass on to any legally named heirs that the deceased had laid out in their estate plan.
Wrongful death claims can generate from a variety of situations, but some of the most common include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bike accidents
- Defective products
- Drug injuries
- Nursing home abuse and negligence
What Do I Need to Know About a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you hold the negligent party accountable and find some closure as you try to move forward with your life. Before you go forward with a wrongful death claim, here are some key things to be aware of. If you have questions about any of these points, discuss them with an attorney before continuing with the process.
It’s an Emotional Time
Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, and this isn’t something that gets resolved quickly. It’s important to be aware that wrongful death lawsuits can bring all of those initial feelings and emotions back up, and if the case goes to trial, you may have to hear details about your loved one’s death that you would rather not relive. It can also be difficult to hear the defendant’s side arguing that they shouldn’t be held liable and aren’t at fault.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death case in South Carolina is three years. And while it’s best not to wait until that deadline is approaching to start your case, it can be helpful to know that you have some time to properly grieve and get back on your feet emotionally before dealing with legal matters. At Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC, we recognize how difficult this time is, and we work to ensure that all matters are dealt with in a sensitive manner and that you are aware of what’s going on with the process at all times.
The Process Can Be Lengthy
Wrongful death lawsuits are often complex and involve a lot of research and investigation, which means bringing one of these cases through the courts all the way to either settlement or a trial verdict can take time. It’s common for these types of cases to take years to resolve completely, and it’s important to have the right expectations when it comes to the timeline when you start the process.
Columbia wrongful death attorneys are familiar with how these cases usually proceed and the estimated timeline you could be facing. In general, settling out of court can speed the process up because it avoids a trial, which is usually one of the longest parts of the process. If you’re not sure what to expect when it comes to how long the case will take or what that could mean for expenses you have in the meantime, your attorney should be able to give you more information.
It Is Possible to Settle Out of Court
Anytime you decide to file a civil lawsuit, it is possible to settle out of court. And while this option can be tempting for wrongful death claims, it’s not always the right path forward. Settling out of court lets you avoid the lengthy and often emotional trial process, but it also means that you may end up receiving less compensation than you could have if you had gone forward with a trial.
When considering whether to take a settlement offer, it’s also important to weigh whether it is important to you for closure to bring the case to trial, to have the defendant held accountable publicly, and to bring the issues at the heart of the case to light. While trials are never guaranteed, and the family members must be prepared also to accept the possibility of the defendant winning the case, it’s something to consider as you are weighing all of the factors.
If you’re not sure which option is right for your case, this is something your attorney can discuss with you. Our wrongful death attorneys have experience with settling cases as well as taking them to trial and can give you perspective and counsel on the pros and cons of both options so you can make an informed decision.
Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
One of the most important things to keep in mind about a wrongful death case is that you are not in this alone. A wrongful death lawyer is an invaluable resource as you navigate the complex legal system and fight for your rights as a surviving family member. Our team strives to ensure that our clients feel supported and like we understand what they are going through and are dedicated to helping them recover the compensation they are entitled to.
Who Is Able to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Who can file a wrongful death claim is a question that many surviving family members have, and it’s important to understand what South Carolina law has to say about this. In this state, the only people who can file wrongful death cases are the administrators and/or executors of the deceased person’s estate. In many cases, this very well could be one of the surviving family members, but that’s not always the case.
If an executor or administrator is named in the person’s estate plan, that’s who will be able to file a wrongful death claim. This is often the person’s spouse, adult child, or other family members. However, in some cases, a death may be very sudden, and the person has not made plans or named an executor. In this situation, the courts will appoint an executor. If a surviving family member wishes to be named executor, they can petition the courts and show the reason for that appointment. In general, close family members are given preference when appointing an executor of an estate.
Why Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer From Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC?
When you have lost a loved one and are considering a wrongful death suit, it’s important to have a wrongful death attorney who is sensitive to your situation and can help you understand the process. And that’s exactly what we strive to do at Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC. We have a proven track record of helping clients navigate the civil courts and understand what filing a wrongful death lawsuit means for them and what the first steps are.
If you’re ready to move forward with a wrongful death claim in Columbia, SC, our firm is standing by to help. Contact our local office by calling us at (803) 888-2200 to schedule your free consultation. During that time, you can find out more about our services and how we can help, and we will discuss the details of your case so we can make sure that you understand what’s involved in a wrongful death lawsuit and what you can expect from the process.