An Easley, South Carolina man was killed around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when he was struck by several cars on S.C. 135. The man was about a mile from his car when he was hit, according to Pickens County Coroner.

The first car to strike was a 2010 Mitsubishi driven by a 23-year-old Anderson resident.  Thereafter, two other cars hit the man.  He died shortly afterward.  None of the drivers were injured in the accident.  It is further reported that the man died of blunt force trauma.

Although this accident may not be perfect for a wrongful death suit; depending on the conditions surrounding the accident, a similar accident may be.  Wrongful death in South Carolina is a tort action governed by statute.  The action is brought by the administrator of the decedent’s estate.

A wrongful death may be the result of an intentional tort. The cause of action may also be based on products liability or breach of warranty, although most commonly it will be brought as a negligence action.  In order to recover in a wrongful death action based on negligence, the plaintiff must show the following elements:

(1) A duty of care owed by the defendant to the decedent;

(2) A breach of that duty by a negligent act or omission; and

(3) Damages proximately resulting from the breach.

The elements are defined as follows:

(1)   The duty of care owed to a decedent by a defendant in a wrongful death case will be determined by the nature of the action; for example, medical malpractice, premises liability etc.  The duty might also be based on statute.  The South Carolina Supreme Court has said that in order to show a duty of care, based on a statute, the plaintiff must show: (a) that the essential purpose of the statute is to protect from the kid of harm the plaintiff suffered, and (b) that he is a member of the class of persons the statute is intended to protect.

(2)   The plaintiff must next show the defendant breached the duty of care.  Generally a breach of duty exists when it is foreseeable that conduct may likely injure a person to whom a duty is owed.

(3)   Next, the plaintiff must show the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injury.  The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that proximate cause requires proof of causation in fact, and legal cause.  Causation in fact is proven by establishing the injury would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s negligence.  Legal cause is proven by establishing foreseeability.

If your husband, or other very close family member has died, and you think that it could potentially fall under the wrongful death category, call the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP for a consultation.  You can reach our Baxter Village office located in Fort Mill, South Carolina at 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-374-5999.  We know how hard it is to lose someone close to you, and we are here to help.