Orangeburg, SC Personal Injury Lawyer
People experiencing personal injuries are often debilitatingly injured and face mounting expenses and debts. Meanwhile, the person who hurt them might be no worse for wear. An attorney can help you get compensation from the person who injured you.
Personal injury claims are serious not just because of painful injuries but also because of the high costs associated with those injuries. Many plaintiffs claim damages worth staggering amounts of money. It is best to call a lawyer as soon as possible, as South Carolina imposes a strict deadline on when you must file a lawsuit or lose the right to sue altogether. Our office has handled various personal injury claims, including vehicle accidents, nursing home injuries, slip and falls, and more. Our team of legal professionals can help you investigate the accident while working with law enforcement, find evidence, and maneuver through complex legal procedures so you get the compensation you deserve.
To schedule a private assessment of your potential lawsuit free of charge, call our personal injury attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000.
What You Should Do After Experiencing a Personal Injury in Orangeburg, SC
Being injured can be painful and frightening. It might be easy to become panicked, depending on the severity of the situation. If you are injured, it is important to stay calm and take the following steps. First, get emergency medical care as soon as you can. If you are badly hurt or in an emergency, call 911 and have an ambulance sent to your location. You should also have the police dispatched, as they might need to investigate and issue a report. This is common in car accident cases or cases where someone is the victim of a violent crime.
Your second step is to document everything to the best of your ability. Depending on the circumstances and the resources you have available, this might be a lot or a little, but anything helps. If you can, take pictures and record videos of the area and your injuries. The scene might be cleaned quickly, and evidence might disappear depending on where the injuries happened. If you do not have a camera, make notes about what you see and feel. Even mental notes can be a big help.
Next, call the police and file a report if the police have not already been dispatched to the scene. Personal injuries often overlap with criminal offenses. For example, after a car accident, the police may investigate and determine that the other driver was intoxicated, which is a criminal offense. Even if criminal charges are not assessed, a police report about the incident might come in handy.
Finally, call a lawyer as soon as possible. You deserve justice and fair compensation, and our personal injury attorneys can help you figure out your legal options. It is best to talk to a lawyer soon, even if you are unsure of what to do.
How to Begin a Personal Injury Case in Orangeburg, SC
You must prepare a formal complaint to start your personal injury claim. The complaint is more than just allegations made against the defendant. It is a formal legal document that must contain specific details and adhere to certain formatting rules described in the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.
The complaint must include information about the parties, the accident, your damages, and why you believe the defendant should be held liable. We need to spell out this information in detail. Information considered too vague might hinder your case from getting into court.
According to Rule 10(a), the complaint must adhere to strict formatting rules. The case caption, which appears on the first page of the pleadings, must include the names of the parties, the court, the cause of action, and a filing number. There are also rules about how information is to be conveyed within the complaint. Rule 10(b) states that all averments of the facts should be formatted as consecutive, numbered paragraphs. Each averment is like a statement of a separate fact about your case. Complaints often contain dozens of averments, if not more.
There are also strict requirements regarding how notice will be served to the defendant. When we file the complaint, we are required by law to also send a summons and copy of the complaint to the defendant. According to Rule 4 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, the summons must be signed by you or your lawyer and include the case details, such as the name of the court and the filing number.
Service of the summons and complaint to the defendant may be conducted by the local sheriff or by someone else of our choice. The person serving notice to the defendant must be an adult, and they cannot be involved with the case in any way or be a lawyer.
What Your Personal Injury Claims Are Worth in Orangeburg, SC
Financial compensation is often a focal point of many personal injury claims, especially in cases where damages are high. An attorney can help you assess your damages and determine just how much compensation you are entitled to from the defendant.
Much of your damages are intended to make up for the things you lost because of your injuries. Compensatory damages are designed to make plaintiffs financially “whole” again, meaning they are put back in the same financial position they were in before being hurt.
Damages are unique to each case, but certain types of damages tend to be common across many cases. Medical bills prevail across many personal injury cases, and the more severe your injuries are, the higher your medical bills probably are. Even with health insurance to assist you, you can claim expensive copays or deductibles as part of your damages.
You should also consider how your injuries affected your ability to work. Many people take significant time away from work or cannot return to work at all after being injured. Your lost income is an important aspect of your damages that should be accounted for.
In addition to monetary damages, you can claim emotional and physical pain and suffering. While these experiences might not technically cost money, courts may still award financial compensation to make up for them.
Although rare, punitive damages might be awarded if the defendant’s behavior was especially outrageous, shocking, or egregious. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not designed to make up for anything the plaintiff might have lost. Instead, they are meant to serve as a punishment for defendants who displayed particularly bad behavior. Under S.C. Code Ann. § 15-32-530(a), punitive damages may not exceed either 3 times the value of total compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
When to Call a Lawyer About Your Personal Injury Claims in Orangeburg, SC
It is normal for injury victims to wait a bit before contacting an attorney. Often, people do not realize they have a valid claim until a few weeks or months after their accident. In other cases, they might not believe their case is worth a lawsuit until the bills pile up. In any event, you should contact an attorney about your case as soon as possible, even if you are still unsure about filing a lawsuit.
You should speak to an attorney before the statute of limitations runs on your claim. According to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530(5), personal injury claims must be filed no later than 3 years after the date the injuries occurred. This might sound like a long time, but it is much shorter than you think. Many cases are not filed for months or even years while attorneys are working on getting them ready.
Personal Injury Cases Our Orangeburg, SC Lawyers Have Handled
Personal injury law is incredibly broad, and a legion of injuries, accidents, and incidents might fall under this category. As such, you need an attorney with experience with cases like yours. Our office handles various kinds of personal injury claims, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
- Vehicle Accidents
- Injuries in Nursing Homes
- Medical Malpractice
- Slip and Falls
- Dangerous or Defective Products
- Construction Accidents
The nature of your claim plays a big role in the direction of your case. It can help our legal team decide whom to sue, what damages to claim, and the most effective legal strategies to use in court. If you know you have been hurt but are not sure of the exact nature of your claim, speak to an attorney anyway. They can give you guidance and advice on how to handle your claims.
Where You Might Find Evidence to Support Your Orangeburg, SC Personal Injury Case
When our personal injury lawyers begin a case for a personal injury, we need to start looking for evidence almost immediately. First, evidence tends to disappear if it is not collected quickly. Second, we need evidence sooner rather than later to include in your complaint.
We can begin our search for evidence in the area where the injury occurred. For example, if you were hurt in a car crash, we can check the area around the crash for details that could help your case. Checking the location of the accident for evidence might be hard if you no longer have access to it. If you were hurt in someone else’s home, we cannot simply barge into their house and start searching. However, we can file motions to compel the discovery of valuable evidence that the defendant might have.
We should also interview witnesses to see if they remember anything important about your injury and accident. A witness might be someone who saw the accident happen right in front of them or someone who responded after the accident and tried to help or render aid. Even if a particular witness can only recall bits and pieces of the incident, their contributions to the case might be invaluable.
If we have a hard time finding witnesses or details about the accident, we can check the area for security cameras. Cameras might have been watching depending on where and how you were injured. For instance, if you slipped and fell in a department store and want to sue the store for your injuries, we can demand to see the store’s security camera footage of the incident.
What is the Best Way to Get Compensation for Your Personal Injuries in Orangeburg, SC?
It is hard to say what the best way to get compensation for personal injuries is. It all depends on what you want and how much time and effort you are willing to spend getting it. A settlement might be a good option for those who just want some quick compensation to pay the bills so they can get back to their normal life.
Settlements are private deals worked out between defendants and plaintiffs. Usually, the defendant agrees to pay for some damages, and the plaintiff agrees to drop the lawsuit. How much of your damages are paid for is up for negotiation. Remember, once you accept a settlement, you waive your right to sue for your injuries, and there is often no going back. If your case is very strong, you might want to forgo a settlement and pursue a lawsuit, where you might get greater compensation.
A lawsuit might be a better choice for those who want more complete financial compensation and a sense of justice. While lawsuits often take more time and energy, they also tend to yield greater compensation. Plaintiffs also often receive much-needed vindication in having the defendant held liable in a court of law. Be warned, while lawsuits can net you significant compensation, there is always a risk of losing. If your case is not as strong as you would like, you might want to reconsider a settlement.
What Our Orangeburg, SC Personal Injury Attorneys Can Do to Assist You
Our team of legal professionals can begin your case by investigating the accident in which your injuries occurred. This often involves getting a statement from you about what you remember, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing police reports. It might also involve going to the accident scene and recovering more evidence.
Depending on how your accident occurred, you might have needed police intervention. For example, if you were hurt in a car accident, the police and medical personnel were likely sent to your accident scene. When this happens, there should be a police report about your accident.
Our attorneys have worked with law enforcement on accident claims, and we know how to obtain copies of these reports. We can also talk to the police about any investigations they might have conducted, which is important if the defendant is also facing criminal charges related to the accident.
One of the biggest advantages an attorney brings to the table is their knowledge of complex legal rules and procedures. The average person might not know where, when, or even how to file a lawsuit, let alone file pretrial motions, depose witnesses, or draft a complaint. Your attorney can help you do all this and more.
Call Our Orangeburg, SC Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Now
To schedule a confidential evaluation of your potential lawsuit free of charge, call our personal injury lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000.