2012 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 15 - Civil Remedies and Procedures
Section 15-78-170 - Action or claim for death of person; division of recovery.

SC Code § 15-78-170 (2012) What's This?

An action or claim for the death of a person may be brought under this chapter by the executor or administrator respectively, of the person's estate when death results from bodily injury if the bodily injury would have entitled the injured party to maintain an action or claim if death had not ensued. The provisions and limitations of this chapter are applicable to any such action or claim. Every action or claim must be for the benefit of the wife or husband and child, or children of the person whose death has been so caused and if there is no wife, husband, child, or children, then for the benefit of the parent or parents, and if there is none, then for the benefit of the heirs-at-law or the distributees of the person whose death has been so caused. Any amount recovered must be divided among the before-mentioned parties in those shares as they would have been entitled to if the deceased had died intestate and the amount recovered had been personal assets of his estate.

HISTORY: 1986 Act No. 463, Section 1.

The complaint in a wrongful death action must allege that the decedent's negligence did not cause or contribute to his injury. Otherwise, the complaint would not state facts sufficient to show that the decedent could have maintained an action had he survived, which is the statutory requirement. Patrick v. South Carolina Highway Dept. (S.C. 1963) 243 S.C. 246, 133 S.E.2d 750.

Where an injury occurs, resulting in the death of the only person who could account for the cause, the court held that circumstantial evidence can be relied upon to establish that the deceased did not in any way bring about the injury, or did not negligently contribute thereto. Mahon v. Spartanburg County (S.C. 1944) 205 S.C. 441, 32 S.E.2d 368.

A complaint which is brought under this section [former Code 1962 Section 33-233] for wrongful death does not state a cause of action when it does not allege the name of the beneficiary or beneficiaries and their relationship to the deceased as set forth in former Code 1962 Section 10-1952 [see now Section 15-51-20]. Kennemore v. South Carolina State Highway Dept. (S.C. 1942) 199 S.C. 85, 18 S.E.2d 611. Death 49(1)

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