The widow of former WWE wrestler Nelson Frazier, Jr. filed a wrongful death action against the WWE according to news reports. This is not the first time the WWE has been accused of negligence resulting in the death of a professional wrestler. If someone you know or love has been the victim of a wrongful death due to the negligent acts of another, contact a knowledgeable and aggressive Charleston wrongful death attorney right away.
Wrongful Death Claims
South Carolina law defines “wrongful death” as a death that is caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another. The act must be the kind for which a personal injury lawsuit could have been filed, if the person survived. Wrongful death suits may be brought by the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate, who often is the individual named in the estate plan (i.e. will or trust). If no one is named, the court may appoint a person.
A wrongful death claim is pursued on behalf of the surviving family members of the deceased. Under state law, these may include: surviving spouse and children of the deceased; surviving parents of the deceased if there are no surviving children or spouse; and the heirs at law of the deceased, if there are no surviving parents, spouse or children.
Statutes of limitations, or time limits for when a suit can be filed or it will be barred forever, govern wrongful death suits. Each state has its own statute of limitations and, as such, it is important to contact a wrongful death attorney immediately to reserve any legal rights. In South Carolina, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of death.
Proving Wrongful Death and Damages Available
In a wrongful death claim, a plaintiff must prove the following:
· Defendant was negligent or strictly liable for the victim’s death;
· Wrongful death was caused (in whole or in part) by the acts of the defendant;
· Victim has a surviving spouse, children, dependents or beneficiaries; and
· Damages (economic and non-economic) resulted from the death of the victim.
Unlike a criminal case, liability in a wrongful death suit results in monetary damages being awarded to the plaintiff. These may include, but are not limited to:
· Medical and funeral expenses;
· Loss of future wages (until retirement or natural death);
· Loss of benefits;
· Pain and suffering, both leading up to victim’s death and for survivors;
· Property damages as well as other financial losses; and
· Loss of inheritance as a result of untimely death.
Punitive damages may be awarded if the conduct that result in the wrongful death is found to be reckless or deliberate. Intended to punish defendant and deter this behavior in the future, this compensation is in addition to the damages listed above.