Helping Victims Obtain CompensationPersonal Injury Attorneys in South Carolina
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
The personal injury lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm regularly take on the big insurance companies and represent injured accident victims during settlement negotiations and at jury trials.
Our experienced lawyers can aggressively advocate for you at the negotiation table or in the courtroom to help you achieve the settlement or jury verdict you deserve.
When someone acts in a reckless or careless manner and causes injury to another person, they can legally be on the line for damages. Insurance companies and their lawyers who regularly represent these individuals are not in the business of compensating you for your injuries. Instead, they will do everything they can to try and “poke holes” in your case and reduce its value.
On Your Side
The Charleston metropolitan statistical area boasts a population of more than 760,000. Both the population and the number of tourists are expected to increase in the coming years. From fine dining to amazing historical sites, Charleston is a favorite destination for more than 6,000,000 visitors annually. Unfortunately, more people and more activities bring more opportunities for accidents to happen.
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the recklessness or negligence of another person, you may be eligible for compensation. The skilled attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm can help.
South Carolina personal injury law encompasses a wide variety of accidents that can occur as a result of someone else’s carelessness or negligence. Personal injury cases may involve car and truck accidents, defective products, slip and falls, and premises liability.
About Personal Injury Claims in South CarolinaEach state in the nation has rules regarding the filing of personal injury claims. Here are some of the highlights of South Carolina’s personal injury statutes:
- The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in South Carolina is generally three years from the date of the accident.
- The state has a modified comparative negligence rule. What this means is that if you are found to be partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, any award you receive for your damages will be reduced by the same percentage as your fault. For example, if you were twenty percent responsible for the accident, your damage award will be reduced by twenty percent.
- If you are found to be more than fifty percent responsible for your accident, then you are not eligible to seek compensation for damages from other at-fault parties.
- The types of damages that may be awarded for a personal injury claim include economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damages; as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Additionally, punitive damages—meant to punish the defendant for reckless or negligent behavior—may be awarded.
- Punitive damages in personal injury cases are capped at three times actual damages or $500,000—whichever is greater.
- The vast majority of personal injury cases will be settled before trial. Mediation is required in South Carolina civil litigation for the purpose of encouraging a settlement.
- In South Carolina, there is strict liability for dog bite cases. What this means is that a dog owner is liable for any injury to another person by their dog, even if the dog had no previous history of aggression.
- It is possible in South Carolina to file a personal injury claim against a governmental agency or its employees if the injury you incurred was the result of recklessness or negligence on the part of an entity or individual’s lawful actions. However, if the injury occurred due to unlawful actions, then damages may be sought only from the individual whose actions were unlawful, not the governmental agency.
Not necessarily – injured individuals may recover damages for whiplash depending on the severity of their injury. Whiplash is a common injury suffered by people who have been involved in auto accidents, particularly a rear-end car accident. While symptoms such as neck pain, stiffness, and headaches typically fade within a few days or weeks, some people develop chronic pain that lasts for months or even years from whiplash. Because under certain circumstances whiplash can cause significant pain and disrupt your daily life, it can result in both economic and general damages for some people. In accidents involving whiplash, it’s important to get a medical evaluation immediately to treat your whiplash, as well as to get documentation of the diagnosis to prove damages.
Injured individuals often find that the at-fault party’s insurance cannot adequately compensate them for all of their injuries and property damage. One option in this scenario is to file a claim with your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy seeking additional compensation. An experienced car accident attorney can help you with this, as well as search to see if your case involves additional potentially liable parties from whom to seek compensation, such as restaurants or bars who overserve patrons, to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available to you. Contact us for more information.
South Carolina follows a comparative negligence rule that allows an injured party to file a personal injury claim even if he or she partially caused the accident, as long as that level of responsibility doesn’t exceed the responsibility of the other party. However, a court will reduce any damages award by the percentage of responsibility that the injured party bears. For example, if a court determines that you were 10 percent responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, the court will reduce your compensation by 10 percent.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a court may determine that multiple parties contributed to the accident that caused your injuries. Potentially liable parties include:
- The driver whose negligent act caused the accident
- The trucking company if the driver acted negligently while on the job
- Shippers who ship hazardous materials without taking proper safety precautions, load the truck improperly, or fail to properly investigate the trucking company that they hired to ship their products
- The manufacturer of the truck or parts if a vehicle or parts defect caused your accident
Yes, if you are the legal representative for your husband, then you can initiate the legal process on his behalf. Current and future medical expenses are two types of damages that you can seek in a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced accident attorney can help you understand your legal options in this situation.
The other driver’s insurance company might offer you a settlement rather quickly. This might be a tactic to avoid liability. If the carrier finds their policyholder is at fault, they want you to settle to avoid a large claim or verdict in your favor later on. Initial settlement offers are meant to lure claimants into settling, but they are often far less than full and fair compensation. It’s best to consider the first offer as a jumping off point for negotiations and don’t accept an offer without speaking to your lawyer. Let your attorney handle communication and negotiate the best outcome for your case.
What Should You Do After Suffering an Injury?
Most people do not go about their daily lives expecting an injury. Getting hurt often leaves people feeling confused and uncertain about what to do next. Knowing how to proceed after an injury can reduce stress and make it easier for you to focus on your recovery. Below are some suggestions for what to do after suffering an unexpected injury.
Seek Medical Attention
Any time you have an accident with injuries, no matter how minor, seek medical attention as soon as possible. In many cases it’s obvious when you need care. Sometimes, however, your injuries may appear minor at the time of the accident, then turn out more severe later. Traumatic brain injury, whiplash, and internal bleeding all fall into this latter category.
Seeking medical attention can help prevent you from injuring yourself further and provide evidence that your injuries came from the accident, not from some other event.
Keep copies of the documentation you receive from medical professionals about your injury. If possible, take photos of your injuries throughout the healing process, too. Carefully preserving this information could help you protect your rights down the road.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company can often provide vital help and coverage as you recover from your injuries, but often you have a legal obligation to alert your insurer to your injury as soon as practicable. Calling your insurance company will inform you about what expenses your insurance company will cover and what other benefits your policy may provide. Be prepared, however, for your insurer to ask for detailed documentation about your injury, including how it happened, whether someone else is at fault, and what your prognosis is for recovery.
Contact Your Employer
After an injury, will you be able to work? How long will you need to recover before returning to work? As soon as possible, you contact your employer and ask several vital questions, including:
How much paid time off do you have? You may need to use both sick time and vacation time if your injuries require a long time off work. Conversely, your employer may have a policy that requires you to use only your sick time.
Do you have the option to work from home during your recovery? Even if you cannot go back to the office, you may complete some of your work responsibilities from home during your recovery. This can save your income and your sick time, allowing you to use your days off only for the days you really need them.
Can your workplace make accommodations to bring you back sooner? Some offices may already have accommodations in place, including shorter working hours or special seating, that can allow you to return to work sooner after your accident.
Even if your employer cannot make accommodations for you, they still need to know about your injuries and get a better idea of how long it will take you to return to work after your accident.
Take Stock of Your Finances
You have talked to your employer and your insurance provider. You have a good idea of the scope of your injuries. Now, take a look at your financial situation. If your full income will continue during your convalescence, that is a lucky thing. Most people, however, will find their income reduced by their recovery. Ask yourself the following questions to assess your financial capacity.
Do you have short or long-term disability insurance? Either type of insurance can provide a financial cushion while you recover. Make sure you check your policy to discover how much it will cover, both in terms of how much it will pay out and when the policy will kick in and provide payment.
Do you have a savings cushion that will help cover your bills? Take a look at your savings account versus your monthly bills. Make sure you have arrangements in place to help cover your regular bills.
Do you have debts that you can put on hold while you recover? Student loan services, for example, may allow you to defer payments until income increases again with little penalty other than accumulated interest.
Are there places you can get help if you need it? Take a look at local churches and food pantries. Talk with family members. You may need financial help during your recovery, and setting those arrangements up early can prevent stress in the future.
Contact a Lawyer
The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better your chances a lawyer can help you tackle the challenges of recovering from an injury. An experienced personal injury attorney can help by:
- Investigating whether you have a claim against another party. By working with a lawyer, you can identify who caused your injuries and whether you have the right to financial compensation from them. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to conduct an investigation that evaluates all potential avenues for obtaining compensation from parties with legal liability.
- Negotiating on your behalf. Many people find working with insurance companies both exhausting and frustrating. An experienced personal injury lawyer, however, will negotiate on your behalf, freeing you up to focus on the healing process. A lawyer will also have your best interests at heart, and will fight to recover the compensation you deserve.
- Providing valuable legal advice. There are legal pitfalls to avoid while you recover from an injury. A lawyer can guide you around them. These may include deciding what you should post on social media about your injury, analyzing the terms of a settlement offer, and sketching out a plan for making the most of your legal rights.
Maximizing the compensation you receive. From discovering more information about the insurance policy that covers your accident to working with you to identify all individuals and entities who bear responsibility in your accident, an attorney’s efforts give you the best chance of maximizing the compensation you receive from your accident.
Injuries sustained in personal injury accident cases can be debilitating, and in some cases, permanent. Under South Carolina law, individuals who are injured by the negligence of others are entitled to compensation for the economic and non-economic damages they sustain as a result of the accident. Common damages sought in personal injury cases include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Loss of quality of life
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
In a personal injury case, the at-fault party’s insurance company will try and undermine your available damages. For example, the insurance company may try to claim that you were injured before the accident or that you were not injured to the extent you may be claiming.
A personal injury lawyer can be helpful in gathering and presenting evidence of your losses, ensuring that you obtain the compensation you deserve.