South Carolina Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations & Laws 2024

Apr 03 2024
Law Office Of Charles T Brooks III

Losing a loved one due to a wrongful death is an emotionally draining time. Not only is it a shock to your family, but it can also bring other surprises, such as costly medical bills and funeral costs. For those living in South Carolina, you need to file a lawsuit to receive financial compensation. But you must do so before the deadline expires.

South Carolina Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the time frame in which you need to file a lawsuit due to a wrongful death case. For wrongful death lawsuits that are against non-governmental defendants, the statute of limitations is three years from the time when the accident occurred. If you fail to file the lawsuit within this time frame, your case will not be accepted, and you will not be able to receive compensation.

There may be some exceptions to the three-year deadline. For example, if your loved one has died due to medical malpractice, but it was not discovered until months or years after it happened, you may not be required to meet the same statute of limitations for your lawsuit. However, it is still wise to file your lawsuit as soon as possible.

Why There Is a Need for A Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases

There are several reasons why a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is necessary. One reason it is important is so that legal actions are made quickly, ensuring a faster resolution. By not waiting too long to handle these legal cases, it also promotes an impartial and systematic justice system.

A statute of limitations also gives a clear timeline for both plaintiffs and defendants to follow. They also are given a clear outline of what is expected of them as well as their rights. It is also important to keep to the timeline so that the evidence is not tainted or lost, which can occur if too much time has passed after the incident happened.

Furthermore, having a statute of limitations allows peace of mind for individuals and businesses so that they do not have to have previous lawsuits brought up again and again.

Investigating a Wrongful Death Case Takes Time

Most wrongful death claims take a fair amount of time to be investigated thoroughly before the case is filed as a lawsuit. It is wise to consult with a wrongful death attorney soon after the incident has occurred so that you can be sure to avoid missing the statute of limitations deadline or going through the litigation process too quickly.

How Early to Start Pursuing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

It is suggested that you begin pursuing a lawsuit as soon as possible after the incident occurred, as the deadline technically begins the day of the event. Sometimes, it is not possible to immediately know that the death was the result of someone else’s negligence. This can be true in the case of certain car accidents, but it is especially true in the case of medical malpractice. For these particular instances, it is wise to hire a wrongful death lawyer to further investigate.

Survival Actions and Wrongful Death Claims

Survival actions are much like wrongful death claims as they must both be approved by the court. Although they are similar, they are different kinds of claims. Survival action involves the recovery for damages experienced by the victim in the instance that the victim didn’t die immediately. The compensation covers expenses from the time of the event until the victim passes away.

Also unique to the survival action claim, only the victim’s personal representative for their estate may file the lawsuit. With a wrongful death claim, a family member may file a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf.

Settlements for wrongful death claims are made to benefit surviving family members of the deceased. Settlements for survival action claims are designed to benefit the victim’s estate. Once the settlement has been made, the beneficiaries of the estate receive their inheritance.


Q: Can the Statute of Limitations Be Extended in South Carolina?

A: It is very rare for the statute of limitations to be extended in South Carolina. Oftentimes, if you do have an extended deadline, it is because you are filing a lawsuit against the government, where the deadline is typically stricter and shorter. An extension can also be granted to those who are pursuing medical malpractice, in the event that the discovery has been made after the three-year statute of limitations.

Q: What Are Wrongful Death and Survival Actions in South Carolina?

A: Wrongful death and survival actions in South Carolina are two legal claims that can be pursued after someone has died due to someone else’s actions. Wrongful death claims provide financial compensation for the loved ones of the deceased. Survival action claims serve as a financial way to recover the cost of the deceased’s injuries and other damages.

Q: What Constitutes Wrongful Death in South Carolina?

A: In South Carolina, wrongful death is constituted as an individual’s untimely death caused by someone else’s negligent actions. A wrongful death claim is much like a personal injury case, with the exception that the person injured is unable to pursue a lawsuit on their own behalf. This means that a family member must file a lawsuit for the deceased.

Q: Is it Hard to Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A: It is hard to win a wrongful death lawsuit only if there is no strong evidence that the accident was a result of someone else’s negligence. If there is strong evidence to support the fault of the defendant’s actions that resulted in the death of the victim, it is more likely that the case will be won in favor of the plaintiff.

Consult with A Sumter Wrongful Death Lawyer

Handling the stress, pain, and financial strain after losing someone you love can cause emotional stress. Your family deserves compensation for your loss, but it isn’t wise to do it without legal assistance. If you live in South Carolina and are seeking a wrongful death attorney to help you meet the statute of limitations, contact the Law Office of Charles T. Brooks III.

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