When a 16-year-old South Carolina teen was killed in a hit-and-run collision October 13, friends and family of the victim set up a fund to help his family cover funeral costs. According to WYFF 4, the family of the victim was not able to afford most of the obligations associated with burying the deceased teen. A burial plot was donated for the young man, but at least $3,000 more was needed to pay for other expenses.
Funeral costs, unfortunately, are often only the beginning of the financial losses that occur when someone suffers an untimely death. Surviving family members may be left with significant financial hardship, unpaid bills and a lot of money worries in addition to the grief they are experiencing. South Carolina law protects those who have lost loved ones and makes it possible for survivors to obtain compensation if someone was to blame for the death. However, the survivors need to be able to take legal action against a responsible defendant, which may be difficult in the case of a hit-and-run collision.
In addition to the financial costs associated with a funeral, there may also be expenses for medical treatment that the deceased received prior dying. Health insurance does not cover everything, and it is not uncommon for family members to get bills for ambulance rides, co-pays and co-insurance costs and other expenses. Whether these bills have to be paid or not will depend on whether the deceased left behind an estate as well as what the specific expenditures were.
If the deceased was an adult who had a job and was supporting a family, the financial losses may be even greater than just the expenses associated with medical treatment and burial. When an adult with dependents passes away, it puts a family’s financial stability at risk. The person who was killed will no longer contribute income to family members, which can make it difficult to make mortgage payments, take care of kids and fulfill other financial obligations.
Laws in South Carolina recognize that an untimely death can cause many money worries. If someone else was responsible for causing the fatality, surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim. It is the plaintiff’s obligation to prove that a defendant was negligent or failed to fulfill a legal duty, and that the defendant’s actions were the direct cause of loss.
In the case of hit-and-run automobile accidents, there may be no defendant to name if the driver who caused the collision has not been identified. When this occurs, family members may sometimes be able to make a claim on an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.
An experienced South Carolina wrongful death lawyer can help family members make a claim for financial losses as well as non-economic losses caused by an untimely death. Call a lawyer at Howell Law for a free consultation.