Wrongful Death Attorney in Columbia
If you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another party, it is of the utmost importance that you contact a Columbia personal injury attorney with the Goings Law Firm, LLC as soon as possible. Not only will pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit help to give you a sense of justice, but the potential for financial compensation can also help you pay for funeral costs, future expenses, and keep you on your feet during such a traumatic period. If a negligent party contributed to the death of your loved one, they deserve to pay.
The Columbia wrongful death attorneys with the Goings Law Firm, LLC are incredibly qualified to work for you during this time. We have many years of experience and a number of awards that prove our dedication to their helping people through their worst days. Our results are excellent and testimonials are glowing. We have the experience and knowledge of legal proceedings in Columbia needed to help you seek justice after the death of a loved one.
The compassionate team is here to fight for you. Contact us at (803) 350-9230 to begin working on your case. You deserve justice and peace of mind; let the Goings Law Firm, LLC fight for it for you!
Do I Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?
When faced with the decision to go through a wrongful death suit alone or with representation, it’s generally a better idea to hire an attorney. There are many reasons for this. The first and foremost is that your number one priority after the death of a loved one is to take care of yourself, a task that is nearly impossible while dealing with negotiations, insurance companies, and paperwork. Hiring an attorney can ensure that you put your mind toward organizing funerals, taking care of yourself and your family, and thinking about your future. The next reason is that a knowledgeable attorney can help you get to the bottom of who was truly responsible for the death of your loved one. A third reason is that people with representation during a lawsuit tend to get more than three times the return than an unrepresented party. Contacting an attorney after the death of a loved one should be your number one priority.
Why Should I Hire the Goings Law Firm, LLC?
When looking for an attorney, there are a few key qualities to look for: good results, good testimonials, good credentials. The attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC have all three of these things. We have gathered millions of dollars for our clients, some single cases reaching millions of dollars on their own. Of course, we cannot guarantee these results for everyone, but we fight each and every case with the same fervor that we fought in those. Moreover, our clients each say the same thing: professional, knowledgeable, exceptional. Most of our past clients who’ve left testimonials say that they’d be sure to recommend us to anyone that needs the representation. We are a compassionate firm that cares for our clients like family. We will work tirelessly for anyone who calls us and are so sure of our abilities that we never charge a single penny until we’ve won a case.
Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death
There are quite a few circumstances that can lead to the wrongful death of a loved one. The Goings Law Firm, LLC team helps both those injured or the families of those killed in a number of personal injury practice areas. They are as follows:
- Auto Accidents: In the worst of car accidents, death is a common outcome. Many of our clients are the families of those killed in car accidents.
- Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcycles can be one of the most dangerous vehicles to drive since they don’t provide the same protection as a regular car. Accidents involving motorcycles can be particularly traumatic.
- Truck Accidents: Due to their large size, trucks can cause quite a bit of damage against even the sturdiest of vehicles. Victims of truck accidents are often harmed more than the driver of the truck.
- Medical Malpractice: We tend to trust doctors with our lives. They are meant to keep us healthy and prevent death, after all. Death due to medical malpractice is all the more traumatic because of this.
- Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: Even though we vet nursing homes mercilessly to find the perfect place for our elders, nursing home abuse is an unfortunately common event in America.
- Defective Products: Products are supposed to be carefully evaluated before they reach the shelves. When companies fail to do this to save a quick buck, innocent lives are lost.
- Construction Accidents: Construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. When untrained or given faulty equipment, the job becomes all the more hazardous.
This is not a complete list of cases we’ll take on in the event of a wrongful death, so contact us with your story and we’ll be able to set up a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.
Who is able to file a wrongful death claim?
The law in South Carolina allows wrongful death actions only to be brought by the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate. Generally, the executor or administrator usually brings the action on behalf of one of the deceased surviving family members.
There are three classes of family members who may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. A spouse or child of the deceased is the most common surviving family member for which compensation is sought. However, if there is no spouse or child of the deceased, then the parents may be entitled to recovery. Further, if there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents of the deceased, then the other “heirs at law” of the deceased may be entitled to compensation. An heir at law is a person who has a right of inheritance in the real property of the deceased when the deceased dies with no will. In these situations, the law requires the probate court to follow a very specific line of succession.
What forms of compensation may I be entitled to?
Now that you have developed an understanding of who may file and recover in a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be asking yourself what kind of damages you may be entitled to under South Carolina law. It is first important to note that damages awarded in wrongful death lawsuits are for the purpose of compensating not only for the deceased family’s current financial and emotional costs but for future financial and emotional costs as well. The damages available to a wrongful death plaintiff include:
- Expenses related to funerals and burials
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages, including any lost future earnings
- Lost benefits
- Damages for the pain and suffering of the deceased’s family members
- Damages related to mental anguish
- Loss of care or companionship
- Property damages
In addition, punitive damages are another form of damages a plaintiff may be entitled to recover. Punitive damages are those which are meant to punish the defendant. In the case of wrongful death, punitive damages may be available in situations in which the conduct of the defendant resulting in the wrongful death was reckless or intentional. You may also hear these damages referred to as exemplary damages.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
According to the South Carolina Code, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the appropriate executor or administrator within three years of the deceased’s death. There is one caveat, however, in wrongful death lawsuits involving medical malpractice. In medical malpractice cases, the action must be filed within three years of when the injury causing death occurred or within three years of when the injury causing death was, or should have been, discovered.
Nevertheless, regardless of how long the statute of limitations allows you to wait to file your wrongful death claim, it is always good practice to meet with an attorney and get the process started as soon as possible. Sometimes, individuals or businesses only hold on to relevant documents and other information for a certain period of time. You don’t want the crucial evidence in your case to be lost due to a technicality. Get the process started as early as you can to ensure your attorney can retrieve all documents necessary to strengthen your case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death case is emotional and painful. No one expects to suddenly lose a loved one, and it’s especially painful to lose someone through a reckless act that could have been prevented. At Goings Law Firm, LLC, our compassionate attorneys understand how devastating this time is, and we will work with you to get a swift resolution to your case. Here are answers to some of the questions we are frequently asked about wrongful death cases.
How is my wrongful death case different from a criminal case?
Criminal charges can only be levied by a district attorney, whereas your case is filed in civil court. The criminal proceedings are to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty and, if so, how they should be punished. In your case, your wrongful death attorney will be seeking damages from the other party to help you and your family work toward recovering from the trauma you have just suffered. The criminal case should not affect the proceedings in your civil case, and in fact, your attorney might be able to use evidence from that case to help with yours.
Who can be sued in a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death suit can be brought against a variety of entities, including individuals, companies, employees, and government agencies. Examples of potential defendants in a wrongful death case may include:
- A drunk driver in a car accident
- The owner of a construction company responsible for a heavy object falling on a passerby
- The company that designed, manufactured, or distributed an unsafe product, such as a dangerous toy
- The owner of the premises where a hazard caused a trip-and-fall fatality
- A physician who performed an unnecessary or faulty operation
- Government-owned transit authority whose driver killed a pedestrian
Wrongful death suits against government agencies are especially complicated and difficult to pursue. Government agencies and their employees often have immunity in wrongful death suits, and compensation is often limited by stringent caps. No matter the circumstances of your wrongful death claim, we will leverage the full weight of our experience and resources to advocate skillfully and assertively on your behalf.
Is hiring a wrongful death attorney worth it?
Having someone in your corner who knows the law may prove to be invaluable. Wrongful death cases are complex. A skilled attorney will be able to thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and leverage expert witnesses to build a sound case on your behalf. A wrongful death attorney will also handle the communication with the insurance company and the other party. They know the right things to say and the best ways to negotiate in order to get you the maximum compensation possible.
Your attorney will also meticulously and properly file all of the documents needed for your claim. Without an attorney, you could miss legal loopholes that could derail your case, and you could end up with nothing.
If I file for a personal injury claim, but the person dies, can I switch to a wrongful death claim?
Most likely, but your lawyer will advise you on the proceedings in this case. Switching from personal injury to wrongful death requires many intricate steps that an attorney will be able to adeptly navigate for you. A wrongful death claim may mean that more extensive damages can be recovered, such as loss of companionship and loss of financial support. We’ll work carefully to ensure that every type of compensation is accounted for, so you can focus on being with your family and working through your grief.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Columbia
Experiencing the loss of a loved one is a terrible feeling. While the attorneys here at the Goings Law Firm, LLC, will never be able to fully understand the pain you feel as the result of a lost loved one, we have made it our life’s work to assist those in pain by every means necessary. Whether you need help opening an estate, appointing a personal representative, or filing a wrongful death claim, our experienced legal team is prepared and willing to help you through this difficult time. Call (803) 350-9230 to speak with a wrongful death attorney in Columbia today.