In September 2018, two female patients being transported to a mental health hospital drowned when their van became stuck in floodwaters. The Horry County, South Carolina, jail van, with two deputy sheriffs on board as well, was traveling near the Little Pee Dee River, which had been rising in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
The deputies reported that they tried to rescue the two women but could not open the van doors. The deputies were rescued from the top of the van by high-water rescue teams.
The deputies have since been fired and charged in connection with the deaths and South Carolina state senators have formed a special committee to investigate the deadly incident.
How Is Wrongful Death Defined in South Carolina?
Tragedies like the one in Horry County underscore the senselessness and suddenness of such losses. While families and friends are grieving, it’s important to consider getting the right legal representation.
Under South Carolina law, wrongful death is defined as one caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another that is of the type that a personal injury case could be filed if the decedent had lived. In other words, a wrongful death case is like a personal injury case where the injured party is unable to file for themselves.
In most cases, the administrator or executor of a person’s estate files the wrongful death claim. If there is no administrator or executor, a judge can name one who would file. The claim is then filed on behalf surviving family members, which can include:
- Surviving spouse and children
- Surviving parents if no spouse or children
- Legal heirs if no parents, spouse or children
What Can Damages Cover in a SC Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case results in monetary damages if successful. Successful plaintiffs may have claims in several areas, including:
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s final illness or injury
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Property damages
- Lost wages and benefits
- Other financial losses
- Loss of the decedent’s knowledge, judgment and experience
- Loss of the decedent’s care, companionship and protection
- Pain, suffering and mental anguish experienced by the survivors
How Do I Submit a Wrongful Death Claim
If you and your loved ones have been affected by a tragic loss, you need legal representation that has your best interests at heart. Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law, LLC, has extensive experience helping families with wrongful death claims. Contact one of our attorneys for an initial consultation to learn more.