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Who Can File for Wrongful Death in South Carolina?


Losing a loved one to someone else’s negligence is difficult, but some family members have the option to take legal action. While nothing that happens in settlement negotiations or a courtroom can bring your loved one back, recovering damages can help you move forward in certain ways. For example, you can use damages to pay for your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses and offset the costs associated with their death.

Read our blog to learn more about Damages in a South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit.

The Executor or Administrator of the Estate

Although family members are the ones who recover damages from wrongful death lawsuits, only the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate may bring a wrongful death claim to court.

Typically, the executor is named in the deceased person’s estate plan. If the deceased does not have an estate plan, fails to name an administrator, or the named administrator is unavailable; the court may appoint an executor or administrator.

Unless the executor is a surviving family member, however, they will not be the one to recover damages.

In South Carolina, the following family members may recover damages:

  • The surviving spouse and/or children of the deceased person
  • The surviving parents of the deceased person
  • The legal heirs of the deceased person

Parents may only recover damages if the decedent did not have a surviving spouse or children. Similarly, legal heirs may only recover if the decedent does not have surviving parents.

Parents can recover damages if their child dies, regardless of their age. Even if their child was an adult (over age 18) at the time of death, parents can recover. The only exception to this rule is for parents who abandoned a child before their 18th birthday.

*Beneficiaries of action for wrongful death are defined in Section 15-51-20 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.

More About Wrongful Death

To learn more about wrongful death lawsuits, visit our wrongful death page.

You may also be interested in the following blogs:

If you are ready to file a wrongful death lawsuit or need legal advice, please contact Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC at (843) 968-0886 or online.

We offer free consultations, and if we don’t win your case, you will not owe us any legal fees.