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.
Do I Need a Charleston Personal Injury Lawyer?
Yes. Insurance companies regularly handle injury claims, and they have tactics to convince claimants to accept much lower settlements than they deserve—or even nothing at all. This helps ensure the insurance company has maximum profits.
When you file your claim with the help of the right Charleston personal injury lawyer, however, you demonstrate to the insurer that you mean business. Our attorneys will not back down to insurance companies, and we know how to negotiate for the most favorable settlement possible. Having a lawyer also demonstrates that you will not hesitate to file a lawsuit if the insurance company insists on lowballing you. If a lawsuit does become necessary, you will have an experienced litigator ready to represent your rights in court.
While you never need a lawyer to file a claim, it is certainly highly beneficial to you, your family, and your financial recovery to do so.
On Your Side
From fine dining to amazing historical sites, Charleston is a favorite destination for more than 6,000,000 visitors annually. 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.
Unfortunately, more people and more activities bring more opportunities for accidents to happen. If you are injured in an accident due to the recklessness or negligence of another person, you may pursue compensation. But when that happens, you want a law firm with the experience, resources, and results to put your mind at ease and fight the insurance companies that refuse to pay you what you need to recover.
You need the skilled, award-winning attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm.
Over the years, we’ve recovered more than $165 million for our clients. We’ve taken cases all the way to the state Supreme Court when we had to. We teach other lawyers how to fight difficult cases where they lack experience.
We’ve earned praise from our clients and other attorneys in surveys and rankings by AVVO (including a Client’s Choice award), Martindale-Hubble (including the rare Client Distinction Award), the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and the National Trial Lawyers Association.
When you hire the Hughey Law Firm, you get local Charleston personal injury lawyers who take seriously their mission to serve our clients, the law—and our community. Over the years, Hughey Law Firm has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours to help at-risk and disadvantaged families and children in Charleston.
Call us now to see how the Hughey Law Firm can serve you.
About Personal Injury Claims in South CarolinaSouth 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. Each 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.
What Should I Do if I Get Injured?
If you get injured in any accident, the first thing you should always do is seek medical attention. Unless the ambulance rushes you to the emergency room, snap a few photos or take some video of the accident scene, as you can use them as evidence in a legal case. If there are any witnesses to the accident, gather their contact information so you can contact them for a statement later if necessary.
It can be overwhelming to be involved in an accident that results in an injury but don’t apologize or admit fault at any point, even if you’re just trying to be polite. The defense will use anything you say after the accident against you if you decide to file a lawsuit.
After seeking medical treatment, if you believe someone was at fault for your accident, contact a lawyer as soon as possible for a consultation. A legal expert will talk to you about what happened, gather information about your injury, and help you decide whether it’s worth it to you to pursue legal action.
What Kind of Injuries are Considered Personal Injuries?
In a legal sense, personal injury is a type of injury that usually occurs because of:
- Car accidents – if an automobile accident injured you, the other driver’s negligence could have caused it. If the other driver was intoxicated, distracted, or otherwise not properly operating their vehicle, you may seek compensation from them.
- Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents – if you slip on ice, trip on a loose piece of carpeting, or get injured from a fall on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. The person responsible for caring for the property did not take all the necessary steps to protect you.
- Intentional acts – if you got hurt because someone attacked you, assaulted you, or purposely tried to cause you harm, you can receive compensation.
- Dog bites – an owner should always keep their dog under control and under a watchful eye. If a dog gets off-leash or out of a fenced enclosure and bites you, you can pursue the owner for compensation. Dog bites can cause puncture wounds, broken bones, infection, and more.
- Nursing home injuries – if you or a loved one experienced mistreatment, abuse, or an injury during a stay at a nursing home, seek legal help. These injuries are often ongoing, and other patients may be suffering as well.
- Defective products – when get injured by an improperly manufactured or assembled product, you can take legal action against the manufacturer.
These are the most common types of personal injuries, but this list isn’t exhaustive. If you were injured in some other accident and believe there is a party at fault for your injury, consult a legal expert to learn more about your rights. They will know if you can file a claim and what steps you should take next.
What Kind of Personal Injuries Are Common in Charleston, South Carolina?
Bike accidents are one of the most common accidents in Charleston. Bicycling is popular here. Many people bike for pleasure, exercise, or transportation. But the problem is that the city doesn’t have a great infrastructure for cyclists. This means it’s more common for cars to hit cyclists because arterial roads lack bike lanes. Bike accidents can result in concussions, broken bones, spinal cord damage, and more.
Like many places in the United States, car accidents and slip and fall accidents are also some of the most common types of accidents. Like bike accidents, these can result in injuries like broken bones, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You should never have to face your injury and its ramifications alone. It can be seriously distressing to deal with doctors, bill collectors, and the other consequences of your injury. A trusted Charleston personal injury lawyer can give you legal counsel that will help you make the right choices. A great lawyer is with you every step of the way and can help to take your mind off some of your worries.
Even if you aren’t sure you have a case, talk to a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. They can help you explore your options and lend you a compassionate ear as you decide on the next steps together.
How Do I Know If I Can Make a Good Legal Case?
If you aren’t a legal expert, it can be tough to know if you have a case on your hands. But luckily you don’t have to make a tough decision like this on your own. Contact an attorney to set up a free consultation where you can go over your situation in detail. From there, the attorney can tell you who you can seek compensation from and how much you can expect.
Getting injured due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness is a basis for a legal case, but many cases aren’t so cut-and-dry. This is why it’s so important to talk to a legal expert. A good personal injury lawyer will have years of experience working with people just like you. They understand what you’re going through and only want to see you get compensated for all the trouble you’ve been through.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Charleston?
The statute of limitations varies by state, but in South Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years. You have three years from the date of your injury in which to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. This helps you because sometimes you won’t feel injuries until days or weeks after the accident happens, or your medical treatment may take a while to complete. This is why you need a doctor’s checkup even if you feel you didn’t think the accident hurt you.
What Damages Can I Receive?
If an accident injured you, you can receive damages. Damages are the compensation you can receive as a result of the lawsuit.
These funds can help you pay for:
- Medical bills – if you require an emergency room visit, hospital stay, or a doctor’s appointment after your accident, you can collect money to help you pay for these.
- Lost income – if you had to take time off of work due to your accident or injury, you can be compensated for the wages you lost during this time.
- Reduced earning capacity – if your injury is ongoing or chronic, you may not be able to work as much as you were once able to for the foreseeable future, which can result in lower wages. This reduces your earning capacity.
- Ongoing medical care – in the cases of many serious injuries, victims may need ongoing treatment like physical therapy, surgeries, or other medical care. You can receive damages to help you pay for this.
- Noneconomic damages – these are harder to prove, as they are more subjective. An experienced lawyer, however, can prove pain and suffering due to the accident, mental anguish (i.e. ongoing mental health conditions like PTSD), and loss of enjoyment in court, and you can receive compensation for these, too.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of the damages you can collect, but it gives you a general idea of what to expect.
What if I had a Pre-Existing Condition Before the Injury?
Many people with pre-existing conditions hesitate to seek compensation for an injury. They feel like it will be harder to prove that an accident, not the pre-existing condition, caused the injury. However, this should never stop you from seeking damages. Many times, injuries from accidents can exacerbate or aggravate pre-existing conditions.
These cases can be complicated, so consulting an attorney is usually best. They can help you find all the right medical documents and evidence needed to prove your case in court.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive?
It’s hard to estimate exactly how much you can receive from a personal injury case without knowing the exact details of your case. Even after a careful review, a personal injury lawyer will be able to give you only a rough estimate based on similar cases they worked on in the past. It’s important to remember that an attorney can’t promise to recover a certain amount of damages for you. If a lawyer makes a promise like this to you, it could be a red flag.
It’s also important to remember that nearly all personal injury attorneys will take on cases like yours at no charge, only collecting a fee once your case settles. Every attorney charges a different amount, but it’s usually somewhere around 30 percent of your settlement.
How Long Will the Process Take?
Lawsuits can take months or even years, which is why it’s so important to seek legal action as soon as you are able. A lawyer can’t tell you how long your entire case will take to conclude, but they can give you an estimate based on their experience. Very few personal injury cases go to trial, and most settle out of court. This means that the defendant or an insurance company will offer you an amount of money to prevent the trial from going to court. An expert attorney can help you decide on a fair amount of compensation, so you don’t get taken advantage of.
Once the case settles, you should receive a check within a few weeks of signing a settlement agreement.
How do I Find a Good Charleston Personal Injury Attorney?
When looking for a personal injury attorney in Charleston, South Carolina, you may be overwhelmed by your options. But before you choose the first lawyer you come across, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, look for an attorney with plenty of experience dealing with personal injury cases. It’s a great idea to read reviews and testimonials if they are available and browse the firm’s website to learn more.
Hughey Law Firm has years of experience taking on cases similar to yours. Our goal is to get you compensation for your injury so you can get back to your life. We understand that you’re going through a difficult time, which is why we are happy to talk with you during a free consultation. During this consultation, you’ll talk with one of our expert team members so we can learn how we can help you.
We have built a reputation on trust and experience, and are proud of the respect we’ve gained in the Charleston community. Contact us today for your free consultation.
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.
Common Types of Personal Injuries in Charleston
Personal injuries from accidents can range from minor cuts and bruises to fatal injuries and everywhere in between. Whether your injury required a couple of weeks of medical care or you suffered catastrophic and debilitating injuries, you will still incur losses for which you deserve to recover from liable parties.
The Hughey Law Firm works with clients with a wide range of injuries, including:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Whether you get a concussion or a moderate to severe brain injury diagnosis, you may experience lasting effects. Even injuries diagnosed as “mild” TBIs can impact your life in many ways for months or even years to come.
Spinal trauma can result in herniated discs and similar conditions that cause chronic back pain and require ongoing therapy or even surgery. More severe spinal injuries can damage your spinal cord itself, which can result in permanent paralysis.
While a broken bone might not sound severe, some fractures need surgery and can cause long-term impairments and pain. Fractures can also keep you away from work and your normal activities while you recover.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Sprains, strains, and tears to your muscles, tendons, or ligaments can be painful and restrict your movement. You might need weeks or months of physical therapy to heal or surgery to repair torn soft tissue.
Neck and Back Injuries
Your neck and back support most of your body, and any injuries to your joints, soft tissue, or other parts of the neck or back can cause debilitating pain. These injuries regularly keep victims from working and require a lengthy course of treatment.
Amputations are highly traumatizing injuries, as you lose a part of your body that you will not recover. You will need treatment for pain management and infection prevention, and you will need to learn how to function in your everyday life without the use of that body part.
Serious burns should always get immediate medical attention to prevent infections and other complications. Many patients need long stays in burn centers and multiple surgeries to try to repair damaged tissue. Even so, burn victims can have permanent impairments, scarring, and disfigurement.
You cannot see some of the most life-threatening injuries with the naked eye. Internal hemorrhaging or organ damage can kill people who do not receive the necessary emergency trauma care.
No matter what type of injury you sustained in your accident, the at-fault party should cover your medical expenses and other losses, and we are ready to stand up for your rights and the damages you deserve.
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.
Common Damages in Personal Injury Claims
A natural question from clients is how much they can expect to receive from a successful claim. While it would be nice to provide an answer immediately, we would first need to evaluate the damages in your specific situation.
However, depending on your circumstances, some common damages that you might include in personal injury claims are:
Medical expenses are the first type of damages you might think to include in your personal injury claim, though you must consider all of your expenses related to your medical care.
These can include:
- All of your expenses right after the injury, including ambulance transportation, diagnosis and trauma care in the emergency room, or an initial visit to urgent care
- All costs associated with admission to the hospital, intensive care unit (ICU), a burn center, or another specialized care facility
- Surgical costs and related hospital stays
- Specialist and follow-up appointments
- Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitative therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Medical equipment or devices
- Home health care
- Long-term care stemming from the injury
You should also consider mileage or childcare costs due to doctor’s appointments and other incidental expenses. If your medical care will extend beyond your injury claim’s resolution, you also must determine and seek the estimated costs of your future treatment. Our team can utilize medical experts to know the accurate value to seek for future medical-related losses.
In many cases, injury victims must miss work due to treatment, doctor’s orders, or restrictions created by the injury. If you have to take leave from work, you can recover for all the wages you lost. If you cannot return to your previous job and need to switch to a lower-paying position or less-fulfilling career path, we can use our network of experts to calculate your future lost earning abilities to include in your damages.
Not all damages stem directly from monetary losses, as many injury victims recover compensation for non-economic losses, which are intangible.
This does not mean you can’t seek financial recovery for these damages, however, as our attorneys know how to calculate the value of:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairments, disabilities, or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
You want to request the full value of your claim from the start to ensure you don’t miss out on any compensation that you need and deserve.