The South Carolina Court of Appeals has just made a ruling in a wrongful death case that has connections to Rock Hill. The facts are as follows: The deceased was transferred from Piedmont Medical Center to a nearby nursing home; the victim suffered from dementia and her son signed her into the nursing home; within five hours of her arrival, the victim died after falling out of the bed that had a broken side rail.
The victim’s daughter filed a wrongful death action against the nursing home. The question for the Court of Appeals in this case centered around who had the right to bring a wrongful death case, if any right existed at all. The court spent a lot of time discussing the laws of power of attorney under South Carolina law.
In essence, in order for someone to make healthcare decisions for you, you need a durable power of attorney that meets all of the requirements of the South Carolina code. This brings to light an interesting aspect of wrongful death cases. Once the victim has died, it becomes less clear who is able to file a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf. Questions of wills and estate law come into play. What happens if the victim died without a will? Who makes the determination about whether a person can actually be the plaintiff in a suit? This is called standing. In order to bring any action in South Carolina, a plaintiff must have standing. This means that the plaintiff must be the one who is able under the law to properly bring the lawsuit. If you are not the right person to bring the lawsuit, then your lawsuit cannot survive.
A Blend of Laws
In this recent case, the Court of Appeals blended together wrongful death law along with the laws of beneficiaries, agents and wills. If you find yourself in the situation where you are able to bring a wrongful death suit, you must have the proper representation who understands not only the damages side of the case, but also all of the other elements that come into play when dealing with such a devastating injury.
We know how difficult it is to think of legal matters at a time of great loss. That is why it is important to contact the law firm as soon as possible so that way we may relieve the burden from you and give you the correct advice to better preserve your claim. This is the way that together we will seek justice for your loved one. At our law firm, our years of experience along with our compassionate Rock Hill, SC medical malpractice attorneys are exactly what you need during this difficult time.
Contact Elrod Pope Law Firm today and let us help you get the justice you deserve.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.