Personal injury is when someone is harmed by another person or entity, due to the negligence or recklessness of the at-fault party. South Carolina law allows for those who have been injured to file a personal injury claim in an attempt to recover compensation for their injuries.
In South Carolina, personal injury can be caused by any number of factors, including:
- Automobile accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Boating accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Dangerous drugs & supplements
- Dangerous medical devices & defective products
- Dog bites
- Workers’ compensation
- Wrongful death
Personal injury claims aim to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions so the victim can receive compensation to help cover the physical, emotional, and financial damages incurred as a result of the accident.
Every South Carolina personal injury claim is different, but victims often receive compensation for economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are damages which are easily assigned a dollar amount, such as:
- Current and future income loss
- Funeral expenses (in wrongful death cases)
- Lost or diminished earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation costs
Non-economic damages are damages which do not come with any receipt or exact dollar value, such as:
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in cases where the at-fault party conducted themselves in an extremely reckless way by making a conscious decision to behave in a manner which could easily harm another person. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party and/or discourage others from engaging in the same type of reckless behavior.
What must you prove in a personal injury claim?
Receiving compensation isn’t as simple as filing a claim and collecting a check. The injured party must prove the defendant’s negligence or recklessness caused their injury. This relies on establishing a “duty of care.”
The term “duty of care” refers to the responsibility we all have to keep each other safe.
Here are a few examples of duty of care in South Carolina:
- The owner of a retail store has a duty of care to make sure their shop is safe for customers.
- Drivers have a duty of care to act safely and responsibly on the road, obeying all traffic laws.
- Product manufacturers have a duty of care to make sure their products are safe for consumers to use.
The second important element of a successful personal injury claim is being able to prove that your injury was due to the defendant breaching their duty of care.
The next step is to prove causation. That is, the plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that the defendant’s breach of duty caused their injury and losses.
Lastly, the plaintiff must prove they suffered actual harm as a result of the defendant’s negligence or recklessness.
Although you may think your case seems straightforward, adequately proving the four elements listed above can be difficult, as the other side’s insurance company will have their own skilled team of lawyers working against you. That’s why you are highly advised to hire a South Carolina personal injury attorney who can put their knowledge and experience to work for you.
Do I have to hire a lawyer for my personal injury case?
If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you don’t have to hire a lawyer to file a personal injury claim. However, that doesn’t mean you should represent yourself.
You must remember that there are two sides to every personal injury case, and the other side will be an insurance company with teams of powerful lawyers who are extremely good at what they do. They’ll do everything they can to poke holes in your case and downplay your injuries in order to avoid paying out a fair sum.
You wouldn’t turn up to a boxing match without your gloves on, and you shouldn’t turn up to the negotiation table without a lawyer by your side.
A skilled South Carolina personal injury lawyer will do the following for you:
- Use their knowledge and experience to build the strongest case possible
- Conduct necessary research and gather all necessary evidence
- Consult with doctors and other medical experts about your injuries
- Gather witness statements
- Hire accident reconstructionists if necessary
- Put a fair value on your case
- Consider current and future costs when calculating the value of your case
- Fiercely negotiate on your behalf
- Refuse to accept low-ball offers from insurance companies
- Do all the legal legwork so you can focus on your recovery
- Communicate with you every step of the way
- Serve as your guide and advocate
- Be prepared to fight for you in court if a fair settlement can’t be reached
A South Carolina accident lawyer will use their vast knowledge to assess the value of your case, and will put a dollar amount on all elements of your case, including non-economic damages. This is something you won’t be able to accurately do on your own. A qualified attorney will know how to assign a cash value to your case, using their years of experience working for accident victims just like you.
Many people worry about the expense of hiring a personal injury attorney, but it’s important to remember that accident victims with lawyers typically receive substantially more compensation than those who choose to represent themselves. In other words, a great accident lawyer can pay for themselves. In addition, most South Carolina personal injury attorneys work on contingency, which means they won’t get a penny unless they help you secure money.
Contact McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates today
McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has spent more than four decades building a stellar reputation in South Carolina. Our lawyers fight hard for their clients, and they play to win. They’ll never accept an unfair settlement offer from the other side’s insurance company.
Our experienced South Carolina personal injury lawyers have seen every type of personal injury case, and they know how to approach each case with a unique strategy to maximize their clients’ chances of receiving fair compensation. Our law firm is also highly skilled in representing the families of those who have lost their lives as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. We understand that no amount of money can bring a loved one back, but we also know the financial burden that comes along with funeral and burial expenses, and other end-of-life costs. No family member should have to bear that burden at all, much less when they’re grieving.
We believe that accident victims should never be left to cover the financial cost of an accident that wasn’t their fault, and that’s why we do everything we can to make sure our clients are treated fairly by the other side. We settle most of our cases outside of court, but we’re ready to stand in front of a jury if the other side refuses to play fair.
McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has seven offices across the Midlands of South Carolina, in Aiken, Camden, Columbia, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Sumter.
We are proud to offer free case evaluations to personal injury accident victims, with absolutely no obligation. If you do choose to hire us, we won’t get paid unless we help secure money for you.
Give McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates a call today at 888-353-5513. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.®