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Fatal Car Accidents

Fatal Car Accidents

Motor Vehicle Collision Attorneys Serving Spartanburg and Greenville

The last thing any of us wants to imagine happening to one of our loved ones is a devastating car crash. Losing a family member due to another driver’s carelessness is a serious, life-altering event. Although no amount of money can truly compensate you for the magnitude of your loss, taking legal action can help you get back on your feet. At the Knie & Shealy Law Offices, our car accident lawyers are dedicated to asserting the rights of Spartanburg residents and others, including people in the Greenville area. We understand how traumatic this event can be for you and your family. Our attorneys provide accident victims with compassion, personal attention, and vigorous representation along each step of the way.

Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim in South Carolina

According to South Carolina law, a wrongful death claim arises when a death occurs as the result of a “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another person or entity, and the wrongful act, neglect, or default is something that would have given the deceased person a basis for a personal injury claim had he or she lived. In other words, one can think of a wrongful death action as a personal injury case that the victim is no longer able to assert due to his or her death.

The representative or executor of the decedent’s estate may bring the claim. If the decedent does not have an estate, the court can appoint a representative for the purpose of asserting the wrongful death claim. The personal representative brings the action on behalf of the decedent’s surviving family members, including a spouse and any children. If the decedent did not leave a spouse or child, the decedent’s parents are the beneficiaries of the action. Additionally, parents can pursue compensation for the death of a child, even if he or she was 18 or older, provided that the parents did not abandon the decedent before he or she turned 18.

A personal injury action usually involves establishing that the defendant acted negligently. The first portion of a negligence case requires a plaintiff to show that the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care and failed to act according to that standard. In the case of a car accident, failing to obey traffic signals, distracted driving, and driving while intoxicated are examples of breaching the standard of care.

Next, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of the standard of care directly caused the victim’s death. An accident reconstructionist is often needed to assist with this step by explaining to the jury how the sequence of events unfolded. Finally, the plaintiff must submit evidence supporting the damages that he or she is seeking in the lawsuit. These may include burial and funeral expenses, lost wages and benefits, medical bills related to the decedent’s final illness and injury, property damage, and pain and suffering that occurred before death. The victim’s family also may seek damages like loss of companionship and consortium, which are based on their relationship to their loved one.

Seek Legal Guidance in Spartanburg or Greenville After a Fatal Car Accident

At the Knie & Shealy Law Offices, our skilled motor vehicle collision attorneys can help people in Spartanburg as well as Greenville and the surrounding communities bring a wrongful death claim after a fatal crash. We can investigate the details of your situation, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies, who do not always keep your best interests in mind. We proudly serve victims and their families throughout Cherokee, Greenville, Union, and Laurens Counties. Call us at (864) 582-5118 or contact us online to set up a free appointment.