Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Losing a loved one is an incomprehensible tragedy, and when that loss is due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, the emotional toll is often compounded by a host of financial and legal complexities. If you’re navigating this difficult terrain in South Carolina, you might be considering a wrongful death lawsuit. One of the key aspects of these lawsuits is understanding the types of damages that can be claimed. This post aims to offer an insightful overview of the categories of compensation available in wrongful death cases in South Carolina.

Economic Damages

Medical Bills

Medical expenses incurred while treating the deceased before they succumbed to their injuries can be claimed. This includes hospital stays, surgeries, and medication.

Funeral and Burial Costs

The costs associated with laying your loved one to rest, including funeral and burial expenses, are recoverable.

Lost Earnings

This category includes the income the deceased would have earned had they lived. This can be a substantial amount, particularly if the deceased was the primary breadwinner.

Non-Economic Damages

Loss of Consortium

This compensates the surviving spouse for the loss of companionship, sexual relations, and emotional support.

Pain and Suffering

While the deceased cannot experience pain and suffering post-mortem, these damages can be claimed for the emotional and psychological anguish experienced by close family members.

Loss of Parental Guidance

For families with children, the loss of parental guidance and nurturing can be devastating. Courts may award compensation for this intangible yet significant loss.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, particularly egregious or malicious acts may warrant punitive damages. These are not meant to compensate the family but to serve as a deterrent, punishing the wrongdoer for their actions.

Factors That Affect Damages

  • Age of the Deceased: The younger the deceased was, the higher the potential earning capacity.
  • Life Expectancy: General health before the event that led to the death may influence how much is awarded in lost earnings.
  • Financial Dependents: The more people who were financially dependent on the deceased, the higher the economic damages.
  • Non-financial Contributions: Sometimes, the deceased might have contributed to the family in non-financial ways, like childcare, which can also be valued and compensated.

Legal Limitations in South Carolina

South Carolina has a statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, typically within three years from the date of death. Make sure to consult an attorney well within this timeframe to preserve your rights to file a lawsuit.


While no amount of money can ever replace your loved one, understanding the types of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit can help you make informed decisions during an emotionally challenging time. Navigating the legal landscape is complex, and an experienced wrongful death attorney can help guide you through the intricacies of South Carolina law.

Though financial compensation is a poor substitute for loss, it can provide a measure of relief from the financial burdens that often accompany such a tragedy. Knowing what you are entitled to can offer a starting point as you navigate through this challenging period.