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Protect Your Legal Rights With a Skilled Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a beloved family member is difficult. But when they die as the result of a car crash with a drunk driver, the circumstances are particularly heartbreaking. As you navigate the aftermath of such a tragedy, you may wonder whether you need to hire a wrongful death lawyer. While no amount of money can bring back a loved one, a fair settlement for their accidental death may help to bring closure and deliver justice. 

You do not and should not have to go through such a challenging time alone. Call Christopher Pracht and the skilled South Carolina attorneys at Pracht Injury Lawyers to book a free consultation today. We’ll assess your case, explain your options, and guide you through the complex process of wrongful death and survival action following a fatal DUI accident.

Criminal DUI Charges Don’t Guarantee Civil Claims

South Carolina Code of Laws Title 15, Chapter 51 outlines civil remedies for death by wrongful act. More specifically, Section 15-51-20 discusses the beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit, and Section 15-51-40 details what exemplary damages may be eligible regarding a civil claim brought forth by the decedent’s surviving family members. 

It’s crucial to understand the difference between criminal DUI charges and personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful death lawsuits. Even if the drunk driver is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), they may not be legally obligated to compensate the victim’s family. While they may face criminal penalties, like fines and jail time, survivors must file a separate civil suit to recover damages. 

The threshold for guilt is quite different as well. Prosecutors must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” for criminal DUI charges. By contrast, plaintiffs only need a “preponderance of the evidence” to win a civil case. It must be at least 50 percent likely that the civil claim is true. 

How a South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help

Following a fatal DUI accident, the legal process for filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated and nuanced. An in-depth knowledge of South Carolina laws is invaluable in seeking the fair compensation you deserve. The knowledgeable team of Pracht Injury Lawyers is ready to be by your side every step of the way. 

Offering an Unbiased Assessment of the Situation

It can be an emotional and traumatic time when a loved one dies as a result of someone’s negligence. Our skilled South Carolina lawyers will assess your case from a calm, cool, and collected point of view. We’re practical, logical, and unbiased. 

Avoiding Common Legal Mistakes

Understandably, the average South Carolinian has limited knowledge of legal proceedings. With the skilled counsel of a wrongful death attorney, you can avoid common mistakes after a car accident, including fatal DUI crashes. Let our experience guide you through this difficult process and avoid common missteps that may jeopardize your path to financial restitution.  

Collecting Vital Evidence to Support Your Case

To win a civil suit, you must not only prove who was at fault in the car accident, but also that your loved one’s wrongful death was the direct result of their negligence. This involves gathering specific evidence to support both aspects of your claim. Your lawyer will investigate your case and seek out such vital evidence as:

  • Witness reports, including from events before the collision itself
  • Expert witness testimony, like medical experts and accountants
  • Photo and video evidence from the accident scene
  • Dashcam, body cam, and security camera footage
  • Police reports
  • Medical reports
  • Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results and drug screenings
  • Records from before the accident, like bar and restaurant receipts, GPS records, and social media activity

Identifying All Sources of Compensation

When filing a lawsuit after a fatal drunk driving accident, many people assume they can only sue the driver. This isn’t always the case. During the investigation, your lawyer evaluates all possible sources of compensation. For example, if the case involves a collision with a commercial truck driver, additional liable parties may include the fleet company or truck owner. In other cases, the negligent motorist may be held responsible, but also restaurants that served alcohol to them, home party hosts, and passengers.

Negotiating With Insurance Companies for Settlement

Insurance companies are motivated to minimize the amount of your claim, often trying to deny it altogether. Don’t accept the first settlement offer. Instead, consult with your lawyer who can properly value your claim and fight for maximum compensation. Damages may include lost wages, medical expenses, funeral costs, and punitive damages. 

Taking the Claim to Court If Needed

If an agreement isn’t reached with insurers, the case may be taken to trial. This is true for both wrongful death and survival action cases, which are typically filed together. Your lawyer will represent your interests in court and advocate for a positive ruling. 

Trust the Experience of Christopher Pracht and Our Team

Wrongful death lawsuits for victims killed by drunk drivers are never easy. It’s vital to have skill and expertise on your side if you hope to get the fair compensation you and your family deserve during this difficult time. Pracht Injury Lawyers has a proven track record of successfully representing our clients through wrongful death cases. We were able to successfully secure over $2 million for a family after a loved one died in a fatal collision with a commercial vehicle. The family of a drowning victim received over $20 million in settlement of their case. We’ve achieved these results before and we endeavor to deliver equal justice for your family.