When a careless driver causes a car crash, South Carolina law requires them to fully compensate any victims. The negligent driver is required to restore the accident victims to the same position they were in before the incident happened. When a driver’s negligence or recklessness results in a death, this is impossible.
The civil suit that your personal injury lawyer at Axelrod & Associates, P.A. files on your behalf cannot bring back your loved one, and the only justice that the courts can bring to you is in the form of money. Money can never replace a life that has been lost, but it can hold the at-fault driver accountable. Our goal is to ease the financial burden that comes with this terrible loss by fighting for you to recover every element of damages that you are entitled to and by leaving nothing on the table.
How is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Different?
The survivors of an auto accident fatality can bring a lawsuit in the name of the executor of the deceased person’s estate against the at-fault driver, and they can recover all damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to if they had survived. They are also entitled to recover damages suffered by the survivors, including loss of financial support from the deceased person, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and burial costs. When the at-fault driver’s conduct was willful, reckless, or involved criminal conduct, punitive damages may also be awarded.
Auto Accident Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for his actions and to deter future bad conduct. Punitive damages are rare in auto accident cases, but they are awarded when the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s conduct was willful, reckless, or wanton. Clear and convincing evidence is a standard of proof that falls somewhere in between preponderance of the evidence, which is the standard in auto accident cases, and beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard in criminal prosecutions.
When the at-fault driver was driving drunk, the possibility of a punitive damages award is much greater than in most auto accident cases. South Carolina has enacted a cap on the amount that can be awarded in punitive damages, but the exceptions to this damages cap include: 1) Cases where the defendant has been convicted of a felony related to the auto accident; and 2) Cases where the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call now and schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.