Who can file a wrongful death case in South Carolina?

Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §15-51-20, the personal representative or administrator of the deceased’s estate can bring the wrongful death suit on the deceased’s behalf. The executor or administrator is usually the person named as the personal representative of the estate in the deceased’s will or trust. If no such person is designated by will or other estate plan, the court will appoint someone to serve as executor; usually the closest to kin.

The personal representative of the estate is essentially stepping into the shoes of the deceased and bringing suit on his or her behalf. However, the personal representative is pursing the claim on behalf of the surviving family members who are the estate’s beneficiaries. The surviving family members who can recover in a wrongful death suit in South Carolina include the surviving spouse and children of the deceased; the surviving parents of the deceased, if no spouse of children exist; and the heirs at law of the deceased, if there are no parents, spouse, or children exist.