Columbia, SC Personal Injury Lawyers
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Local Attorneys Who Care.
If you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence, whether the injury was minor or serious, you need a highly experienced and compassionate lawyer. At Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, our team of Columbia, SC personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources to tackle even the most challenging injury case.
Whether you were injured in a car accident or a slip and fall, you need an attorney who will aggressively fight for your rights. Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. Between medical expenses and lost wages, you could be facing a financial dilemma. Our lawyers will work to maximize your compensation, whether that means negotiating with an insurance company or litigating your case in front of a judge and jury.
If another person, business, or entity’s negligence caused your injury, they should be held financially liable for your damages. No matter how your injury occurred, call the Columbia, SC personal injury lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000 to review your legal options.
Injury Lawyer Wayne Ridgeway Speaking on Injury Law in South Carolina.
Our Areas of Practice in Injury Law:
Founding Partner: Attorney Wayne Ridgeway Jr.
Need to File An Injury Claim in Columbia?
In Columbia, SC, you may file a personal injury claim within three years from the date of injury. It’s best to get help sooner rather than later. Contact our Injury Attorneys today.
Common Types of Injury Claims in Columbia, SC
When people are seriously injured, the results can be catastrophic and life-changing. We are familiar with many serious injuries, including broken bones, puncture wounds, traumatic brain injuries, crush injuries, spinal injuries, internal injuries, deep cuts, and prolonged emotional or mental trauma (e.g., PTSD).
When equipment or chemicals catch on fire or explode, burn injuries can often result. Unfortunately, severe burns are very serious. They often have to be treated in expensive specialized burn units.
Sometimes it can take multiple surgeries and many months or even years of rehab. Even then, some burn victims experience medical difficulties or problems being able to return to work.
If you have suffered a significant burn injury, you’ll definitely want legal help to make sure you receive proper compensation for all of your expenses.
Dog Bite Injuries
We all love our own pets, and many of us consider our dogs to be “man’s best friend.” But there is no denying that a dog bite can be a very serious injury. Between the physical injuries (deep cuts, tears, and puncture wounds) and the bacterial infections that can result from the dog’s saliva, the aftermath of a dog bite injury can be daunting.
Victims may require potent antibiotics, rabies vaccines, and reconstructive surgery (or multiple surgeries in some cases) to try to restore their appearance and the functionality of the bitten body part(s).
Dog owners are responsible for the damage their dogs inflict on other people. We can help you determine the amount of liability the dog’s owner has in your particular case.
If you have suffered from a significant dog bite injury, please seek an experienced accident and injury lawyer to be sure you receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.
The human brain is infinitely more complex than any high–tech computers we have today. But when there is significant damage to the brain, it can be difficult to heal the damaged neurons and completely restore all original functions.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result when someone is in a car accident, a bicycle accident, a fall, a fight, and any other situation where the head receives a heavy blow. For months or even years afterward, some people experience difficulties like sensitivity to light and sounds, severe headaches, emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, and difficulty functioning in normal life.
Often, people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury have a lot of rehabilitation to go through and sometimes multiple CT scans and even surgeries.
They may experience difficulty returning to school or work. Sometimes reading, looking at screens, and concentrating for long periods of time is just too much. They may even face problems with mobility, taste, touch, vision, or hearing, depending on the part of the brain that was injured.
If you or a loved one has suffered a significant brain injury because of someone else’s actions or negligence, please reach out to our Columbia personal injury lawyers to make sure you get legal help seeking the compensation you deserve for the injuries, lost wages, medical bills, future expenses, and general damages you faced.
Slip and Fall Injuries
One of the most common types of personal injury is a slip and fall case. Someone slips on something icy, wet, or slippery and falls, sustaining physical injuries from the fall. Sometimes tripping over something and falling is included in this category, as well.
These kinds of injury cases often involve head injuries, brain injuries, broken hips, broken arms, and other bone fractures. People may need surgeries and rehabilitation. They may also have difficulty getting back to their normal functioning if the injuries are severe enough.
If you fall and experience a significant injury because a property owner was negligent, consult with our Columbia personal injury lawyers to see if you may be able to receive compensation for your injury.
A spinal injury can happen because of a slip and fall, a traffic accident, a dive into a shallow pool, a fall from heights, or even a case of assault or battery. Spinal injuries can result in very serious problems for victims, including partial or total paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries require prompt and ongoing medical attention. If you have a serious injury as the result of someone else’s negligent or intentional acts, we recommend that you consult with our Columbia, SC injury lawyers.
Serious injuries can include a wide variety of things that result in significant medical expenses, surgeries, rehabilitation, and/or loss of mobility or productivity.
Some common serious injuries are things like crush injuries, internal injuries, deep cuts or lacerations, bad fractures, significant head injuries, spinal injuries, paralysis, etc.
Any time there is any kind of significant injury, and another person is liable for that injury, it is wise to have legal representation. Call our Columbia personal injury lawyers for help with your case.
What Types of Compensation Are Available for a Personal Injury Victim in Columbia, SC?
If you are injured because of another persons negligence, the law requires that the negligent party make you whole again. This sounds like a fair principle. However, in practice, it is often very challenging to define “whole.” What amount of compensation is adequate based on your injuries? Our Colombia personal injury attorneys will calculate your compensatory damages based on your injury, financial losses, and the injury’s impact on your life. Below we discuss some types of specific compensation you could be awarded in a personal injury case.
“Economic damages” are damages based on financial or monetary harms. These damages are proven by producing bills and financial statements that indicate how much the damages cost you. They can typically be compensated by repaying you the full value of the expenses you faced.
The most common type of damages awarded in a personal injury case is compensation for medical expenses. Depending on the severity of an injury, the total cost could exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is especially true if the plaintiff requires long-term care. Plaintiffs are also entitled to be compensated for future medical expenses. It is important to note that your health insurance provider could be entitled to a portion of an award for medical expenses if they paid money toward your treatment.
If your injury requires you to miss work, or renders you unable to work again, you can recover for lost wages. This compensation would include the money you would have earned if you were not injured. If you are permanently disabled because of your injury, this could be a substantial award.
Non-economic damages are still just as real as economic damages. The problem is that they are harder to explain to someone else who has not experienced them personally. Instead of being based on documented financial harm, non-economic damages are based on physical, mental, and emotional experiences. They can be proven with testimony and other evidence about what happened to you and are still compensated by paying you back for the harm with monetary damages.
Pain and Suffering
You are entitled to monetary compensation if you suffered physical pain during an accident and while you were recovering from your injuries. Calculating a dollar figure that adequately compensates someone for the suffering they endured is challenging. However, if an accident or injury was catastrophic, juries are often willing to award plaintiffs significant awards. Because of the difficulties in predicting what juries will do, many insurance companies will settle out of court to avoid a potentially huge award.
Emotional distress often falls under the broad category of pain and suffering. Emotional distress damages are specifically intended to compensate an injured victim for the psychological impact of an injury. This impact could include loss of sleep, anxiety, fear, and depression.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
An injury impacts more than your physical comfort and income. A severe injury could permanently prevent you from engaging in those activities that made life worth living. For example, if you were a swimmer or marathon runner, you should be compensated if you are no longer physically capable of participating in your favorite hobby. Similarly, a new parent who is unable to play with their children also experiences a significant loss of enjoyment of life.
Loss of Consortium
If your injury negatively impacted your spousal relationship, you could be compensated for loss of consortium. These types of damages are often awarded to a spouse of a seriously injured individual for lost spousal services, intimacy, etc. They are also common in wrongful death claims.
Punitive damages are not paid based on the harm you faced. Instead, these damages are ordered to punish the defendant. They are still paid to the defendant (rather than the court or some other party), so they can greatly increase the total damages in your case.
Punitive damages are not available in every case. Generally, they are only available if the individual or company did something especially egregious. When considering punitive damages, the court often considers how much they need to order to deter this specific defendant and other similar defendants from performing the same kind of negligent acts in the future. Punitive damages are capped in some cases, but many civil injury claims based on intentional acts, criminal activity, or activity under the effects of drugs or alcohol have no punitive damage caps.
Proving Fault or Liability in a Personal Injury Case in Columbia, SC
When someone is hurt and someone else can be legally held responsible for the injury, that person has liability. There are three general types of liability for personal injury cases.
If you have suffered from an injury in a place of business or on someone else’s property, you may have the right to pursue legal action against the party at fault because property owners have strict liability. This means they are responsible for certain types of injury, even if the property owner was not careless or negligent.
If you sustained an injury because of another person’s carelessness or lack of skill, you might also have a valid negligence case against the responsible party. Negligence requires that someone had a certain legal duty of care or responsibility not to cause harm and they did not uphold their duty.
If someone purposely assaults, batters, or attacks someone else to cause intentional harm, the injured party may be able to file a case against the assailant. Sometimes criminal charges are also involved, but those are separate from any civil claims you can bring.
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort as a result of a fall, someone else’s negligence, or an attack of any kind, do not let the opposing party offer you a low settlement. Seek professional advice to ensure that your rights are protected.
What Should You Do After an Injury?
1. Get Medical Care
Don’t immediately assume you are fine.
You will need proof that you sought medical attention right away if you decide to file a case later.
2. Report Your Injury
If you are injured on the job, report the incident to your manager immediately.
If you are injured on someone else’s property, report your injury to the property owner.
3. Collect Evidence
Try to get the contact information for other people involved and any witnesses.
Be sure to keep all of your medical documentation so that you have all of the evidence you need later to support your case.
4. Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
Our lawyers can tell you if you may have a case and what steps to take next to protect your interests.
This can help ensure that you are compensated appropriately for your injuries.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Columbia, SC
South Carolina’s statute of limitations governs personal injury claims. The statute of limitations sets a deadline for a plaintiff to file a civil complaint. Under the law, a plaintiff has three years from the date of the accident or event to file a personal injury lawsuit. This deadline applies to cases arising from negligence, including car accidents, slip and falls, or premises liability claims. The three-year period typically begins counting from the date of the accident.
However, South Carolina has identified some situations when the three-year deadline could be extended.
Exceptions to the South Carolina Statute of Limitations
If a minor was injured, the clock should not start running until they reach the age of 18. Many minors are not able to fully appreciate what happened to them and might not understand the legal options available to them. This additional filing time allows them the chance to grow up, learn about their options, and pursue the case when they are better able to. In the meantime, a parent can certainly file the case on their behalf instead of delaying compensation.
Additionally, if a person was “legally disabled” at the time of the accident, the statute would begin once the disability ended. This is commonly used for people with mental handicaps or for people who might be in long-term treatment facilities. As with minors, these individuals might not be able to appreciate what happened to them and understand their rights to compensation, so the law gives them extra time to file. It is important to note that if the underlying reason for an extension was a “legal disability,” the extension may not exceed five years, even if the disability persists.
Another exception occurs when the defendant leaves or resides outside of South Carolina for one continuous year after the accident before the lawsuit can be filed. Under these circumstances, the period of absence should not be counted as part of the three-year period. This essentially prevents people from fleeing the state to run down the clock and avoid having a case filed against them.
Even if it appears that one of these exceptions might apply to your case, it is critical to speak to our Columbia personal injury attorneys as soon as possible to ensure you are not barred from filing a lawsuit because you waited too long.
What Happens If You File Too Late?
Filing your case after the statute of limitations has expired can result in automatically having the case dismissed. The defendant can move to have a late-filed case dismissed, or the court can dismiss the case on its own without the defendant having to ask.
This makes it even more vital to speak with our Columbia personal injury lawyers right away. As soon as you contact us and enlist our help, we can start researching your case, preparing the necessary paperwork, and filing your case on time. It is also important to consider that building a case and preparing paperwork will take time, so you should generally contact a Columbia personal injury lawyer well ahead of the three-year filing deadline.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
All too often, we as lawyers are faced with clients that allowed an insurance company or commercial defendant to force them into a settlement that was too low, simply because it seemed convenient at the time. Or maybe our clients didn’t realize what they could actually receive if only they had proper legal representation.
How you deal with the insurance company involved in your case is very important. Don’t let them push you around or try to coerce you into saying or doing anything to hurt your case.
What Should I Say to the Insurance Adjuster
There are many things that you should (and should not) say to an insurance adjuster. It is important to understand that they need all of the information they can get to make a determination about who is at fault. If they are missing information, they will likely come to the conclusion that they are unable to make a determination, and they will deny the claim. However, it is important to understand that they might also twist any information you give them to potentially use it against you. Because of this, you should always have one of our Columbia personal injury lawyers with you when you talk to an insurance adjuster – or allow your lawyer to be in charge of all communications with insurance.
Generally, insurance adjusters need all of the facts about what happened, who was involved, and how the accident occurred. This means you will need to prove them with the basic information as to when and where the accident happened, what events led up to the injury, and how the at-fault party’s actions caused the injury. You will also need to identify all parties and witnesses involved and provide any contact info you have for them.
You should also avoid any admissions of fault and be very careful when talking about your own actions and statements after the accident. At the same time, you should never lie about what happened or leave out important details – this could be used to reject your claim or even to accuse you of insurance fraud. The best strategy is to talk to our Columbia personal injury lawyers about what information to relay to the insurance company in your specific case.
Can I Settle My Personal Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?
Technically, you can settle any insurance claim without a lawyer. You can even file a lawsuit pro se without the help of an attorney. However, it is usually a bad idea to do so.
Our Columbia personal injury lawyers have experience handling many injury cases. Many cases tend to happen in similar ways, so it is likely that we even have experience with a case that has similar facts to yours. Our attorneys are also licensed in the State of South Carolina and have knowledge of the laws that apply to your case.
All of this training and experience can be put towards your case to help fight not only to help you win your case but also to maximize the compensation you receive. One important way we can use this experience is to help properly evaluate the cost of your case and calculate damages in a way that accounts for all of your needs. If you settle your case on your own, it is possible that you might be accepting a low-dollar offer that fails to compensate you in full.
Insurance companies also have training and experience in settling cases, and they often work to drive down the price of the case as low as they can. They are also trained to try to reject any cases they legally can. It is important to have a lawyer on your side who is prepared to handle the insurance company’s tactics and fight back.
How Much Does it Cost to hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Columbia?
It is not uncommon for someone to believe they cannot afford a lawyer or that they do not have a case. That is not a decision you should make on your own. Our initial consultations are free. More importantly, we work on a contingency fee. This means that our law firm gets paid if your case is successful. During your first appointment, our Columbia, SC personal injury lawyers will listen to you, ask you questions, and evaluate whether you have a case worth pursuing. Call (803) 451-4000 to schedule a free consultation with Burriss & Ridgeway.
Our Columbia, SC Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Call (803) 451-4000 to schedule a free consultation with the Columbia, SC personal injury lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers.
Free Personal Injury Consultation