No family should have to bury a child, and this is one of the most difficult experiences for someone to live through. It can be even more difficult to grieve through this process when you know that your child’s death could have been prevented.
If your family is living through the wrongful death of a child, this can be a devastating and overwhelming time for all. We are truly sorry.
Child fatalities leave consequences for the family members that influence them for years to come, and these situations may also raise concerns about the legal rights parents maintain when someone else is responsible for the death.
As a result, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced and qualified South Carolina lawyer who has experience with wrongful death cases involving a child. Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney has ample background in wrongful death cases.
We can help you and your family members learn your options and file a claim after your child passed away because of another party’s negligence. Contact us to begin.
Causes of Unintentional Deaths in Children
Unintentional injuries are the fifth leading cause of death in children under a year old. Some of the most common causes of death for young children include unintentional suffocation, drowning, traffic accidents, fire and burns, poisoning, and homicide.
These deaths can be caused by a variety of problems, such as:
- Inappropriate gun safety
- Motor vehicle accidents caused by someone driving recklessly
- Inappropriate supervision of the children, such as at a daycare
- Unsafe properties
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
In all of these circumstances and more, the primary argument and reason for filing an injury claim is a belief that someone else owed a duty of care to your child and breached that, ultimately leading to an illness or injury that caused the minor’s death.
When it can be shown that another party owed your child a duty of care and failed to uphold this duty of care, you may be eligible to recover compensation for the wrongful death of a child.
Who Can Claim for Wrongful Death of a Child?
South Carolina law states that wrongful death actions must be brought in the name of the executor of the administrator of the deceased party. In most wrongful death cases, surviving family members or the executor will make an argument about the deceased person’s financial contributions to the family. Those damages are separate from and in addition to actual damages, such as medical costs incurred by the deceased prior to death.
In a case involving a child, these damages are more complicated to fight for since the defendants will argue that the child’s financial contribution to the home was minimal.
Given the chances that the other side will argue there is no loss of future earning capacity, it requires a lawyer familiar with the nuances of a wrongful death lawsuit involving a child to assist you with making an argument about how your family has been impacted by these circumstances. When children die due to other’s negligence or misconduct, you may be eligible for damages, but you need an attorney who can help explain what damages apply.
Damages Available For Plaintiffs
In South Carolina, some of the most common damages named in child wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Medical expenses prior to the child’s death
- The pain your child experienced prior to passing
- Your family’s emotional, mental anguish and distress
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship and love
Various pieces of evidence, such as expert testimony, accident or incident reports, medical records, computer and cell phone records and video and photo records, may all be used to determine your next steps.
The value of a wrongful death claim for a minor in South Carolina varies significantly. Typically, recovery for parents is limited to only their economic damages. In most cases, a jury will use a life expectancy chart as a starting point for determining the overall value of a claim.
A lawyer can tell you more about the amount that you may recover in a wrongful death lawsuit, which can include factors such as
- The loss earning potential during adulthood if the child had survived,
- The health, sex, age, and life expectancy of the child
- The relationship of the child to those claiming an economic loss.
A qualified attorney must assist you with this situation.
Is a criminal case different from a wrongful death suit?
Depending on the specifics of the death, the at-fault party may be involved in both a criminal case and a wrongful death civil claim.
Although both may reference the same circumstances, these are held in different courts and have different legal issues involved. The police may pursue a criminal case against a driver who was under the influence at the time of a crash, but a wrongful death claim filed by the estate on behalf of surviving parents is a different matter altogether.
While the outcome of a criminal conviction may make it easier for you to argue negligence, you need a personal injury lawyer who understands the civil issues at play in your wrongful death case.
Hire a Charleston Wrongful Death Lawyer After the Death of a Minor
It can be very overwhelming to go through the process of attempting to recover compensation for the wrongful death of a child on your own. Working with a knowledgeable attorney helps you understand all of your legal rights and the necessary steps you should take to recover compensation.
An attorney steps in as your advocate during the trial preparation, any settlement conversations, and the trial itself. Most family members are coping with significant grief following the death of a child and worrying about a legal case simply feels like too much. An attorney can manage these aspects of the claim to allow your focus on spending time with your family.
As soon as possible after your child passes away, you may need assistance in gathering evidence and discussing your next steps. Protecting your right to a legal claim is extremely important. The right lawyer can answer your questions and provide you with further details about what to anticipate.
Contact us today at Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney in Charleston today to discuss your case.