• Andrew Littlejohn Johnson

Who Can Recover Compensation in a South Carolina Wrongful Death Claim?

Losing a family member as a result of someone else’s negligence is one of life’s greatest challenges. The fact is, of course, that no amount of legal effort can ever return your loved one to you, but a wrongful death claim can provide you with the resources you need to continue pushing forward toward recovery. If you’re facing a challenge of this nature, reach out for the professional legal guidance of an experienced Columbia, South Carolina, wrongful death attorney today.


Your Wrongful Death Claim


Wrongful death claims are both emotionally and legally challenging, but a better understanding of the legal basics can help you proceed with greater focus. To begin, wrongful death claims in South Carolina are filed by a personal representative of the decedent (the person who lost their life) on behalf of their family members. This personal representative can be named in the decedent’s will, but barring this, the court will appoint a personal representative (typically a relative of the decedent).


The Beneficiaries


In South Carolina, only the following surviving family members of the decedent can recover compensation in a wrongful death claim:


  • The decedent’s surviving spouse and surviving children (whether the surviving spouse is the other parent or not);

  • The decedent’s parents (if they have no surviving spouse or children);

  • The decedent’s heirs (if they do not have a surviving spouse, child, or parent), which generally include siblings, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

The compensation obtained in the wrongful death claim will flow to the recipients in the same manner that it would for intestate succession (how one’s estate is divided if there is no will) in South Carolina.



The Division of Compensation


The compensation that comes from South Carolina wrongful death claims is generally divided between survivors as follows:

  • If there is a surviving spouse but no surviving children, the spouse is the only recipient.

  • If there is a surviving spouse and surviving children, half of the compensation goes to the spouse, and the other half is divided between the children equally.

  • If there are surviving children but no surviving spouse, the compensation is divided evenly between them.

  • If there is no surviving spouse nor any surviving children, the decedent’s parents are next in line.


It’s important to note, however, that – if there is evidence that one or both of the parents did not reasonably provide for the decedent when they were a minor, they can be excluded from recovery.


Reach Out to an Experienced South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney Today


If you’ve lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence, Andrew Littlejohn Johnson at Littlejohn Law – proudly serving Columbia in Richland County along with Allendale, Jasper, Orangeburg, and Hampton, South Carolina – is a compassionate wrongful death attorney who dedicates his practice to helping clients like you prevail with favorable resolutions that allow them to continue on the difficult journey toward recovery. We’re here to help, so please don’t delay contacting or calling us at 803-764-4099 for more information today.