What Are the Key Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

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Poisonings, drug overdoses, and motor vehicle collisions are the leading causes of accidental death in the United States. Falls, drownings, and personal violence, like assaults, round out the top six.

Sometimes, these accidents involve negligence. Human error causes over 90 percent of the vehicle collisions in South Carolina. Other leading causes of accidental deaths include injuries that occur on properties. Property owners often have a duty to provide an adequate amount of security, but this isn’t always the case.

If negligence caused the fatal accident, at least in part, and the following elements of a wrongful death lawsuit are present, a Rock Hill wrongful death attorney may obtain compensation for the survivors. This compensation gives the survivors closure, eases the grief and suffering they feel, and allows them to pay the staggering medical bills and other costs associated with a wrongful death.


As mentioned above, most people have a legal duty in most situations. The extent of that duty varies in different cases.

Noncommercial drivers usually have a duty of reasonable care. They must avoid accidents when possible and drive defensively. The same tenets tend to apply to commercial drivers as well.


People breach their duty of care if their behavior falls below the standard of care. Not every behavioral letdown constitutes a breach of care. In a wrongful death lawsuit, a survivor must prove breach by a preponderance of the evidence.


This element is really two sub-elements in a South Carolina wrongful death lawsuit. There’s a factual element and a legal element.

Most lawyers refer to factual cause as “but-for” causation, as in the wrongful death wouldn’t have happened but for the defendant’s negligence. In other words, negligence must be a primary contributing factor. There might be other factors as well.

Legal cause usually means foreseeability. The wrongful death must be a possible consequence of the defendant’s negligence. 

Wrongful death survivors deserve compensation and justice. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rock Hill, contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.


What are the leading causes of accidental death in South Carolina?

Poisonings, drug overdoses, motor vehicle collisions, falls, drownings, and assaults are the leading causes of accidental death in SC.

How much money can wrongful death survivors get?

These victims are entitled to compensation for their pecuniary losses, such as future lost wages.

Do I need to go to trial to get money for a wrongful death?

Probably not. Most of these claims settle out of court.

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