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Wrongful Death Laws in South Carolina

The civil remedies and procedures for wrongful death in South Carolina have been established in South Carolina Law Section 15-51-10.  In our state, wrongful death is defined as death caused by the negligence or misconduct of another person; this can include intentional acts, such as crimes. 

This specific set of laws protects and compensates surviving family members of someone who has died due to the wrongful actions of another. These claims can be based on such events as automobile accidents, medical malpractice, and other types of accidents and events.

These cases are civil actions seeking financial compensation as a legal remedy. However, they can be filed in addition to criminal charges if the death was caused by a criminal act. 

In the wake of a South Carolina wrongful death, the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate has the right and responsibility to file the claim. Any damages proceeding from the claim or lawsuit, however, will go to surviving family members, such as:

  • The surviving spouse 
  • The surviving children
  • If no spouse or children, the surviving parents
  • Absent all the above, any surviving heirs

Damages in South Carolina Wrongful Death Claims

Damages available to survivors in a wrongful death claim can include:

  • Medical costs incurred by the deceased person before death for the illness or injury sustained
  • Funeral and burial expenses 
  • Lost wages, income, or benefits of the deceased person
  • Loss of the companionship, care, guidance, and protection of the deceased person
  • Loss of household services that the deceased may have provided
  • Pain and suffering of the survivors
  • Emotional distress of the survivors

Family members may also be eligible for additional compensation if they can prove that their loved one's death was caused by intentional or malicious acts. In this case, punitive damages may be sought in addition to compensatory damages. 

Punitive damages can be used to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and punish them accordingly.

In South Carolina, you must generally file your wrongful death lawsuit within three years from the date of the death. This time period may be extended under certain conditions. 

Additionally, in cases where government agencies or entities are involved in causing a wrongful death, a claim must generally be filed within one year from when the injury occurred or one year from when it was discovered that an injury had been sustained.

At Jeff Johnson Law, our Horry County wrongful death lawyer can handle all aspects of your wrongful death claim; we work diligently to help you secure the compensation that reflects the full value of what you and your family have suffered.


Call (843) 202-4776 to get started on your case today. Initial consultations are always free.


Commonly Asked Questions

Who can file a wrongful death claim in South Carolina?

The executor or administrator of the decedent's estate has the right and responsibility to file the claim.

Can criminal charges be filed in addition to a wrongful death claim?

Yes, wrongful death claims can be filed in addition to criminal charges if the death was caused by a criminal act.

What types of damages can be sought in a South Carolina wrongful death claim?

Damages available to survivors in a wrongful death claim can include medical costs incurred by the deceased person before death for the illness or injury sustained.

Are wrongful death claims limited to specific types of accidents or events?

Wrongful death claims can be based on various events such as automobile accidents, medical malpractice, and other types of accidents and events.

Who is entitled to receive damages in a South Carolina wrongful death claim?

Any damages proceeding from the claim or lawsuit will go to surviving family members, such as the surviving spouse, children, parents, or any surviving heirs.

Attorney Dedicated to Your Case This isn’t a multiple attorney firm that will assign you an attorney you have never met or whose name you have never heard. You will be working with Jeff and his capable staff to resolve your case in your best interest.

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