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How Does Compensation Work in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina?

Everyone knows that personal injury compensation includes medical bills. However, you may not know about the other types of compensation available.

If you were injured, you can receive such awards as general compensatory damage, punitive damage, and lost income damage. To receive additional money, however, provide as much physical evidence as possible. Insurance companies will try to wiggle out of paying you.

Moreover, the defendant may have seasoned defense attorneys that could sway a jury. Regardless, hire a Columbia, SC personal injury lawyer to maximize your payout.

This article will highlight various damages you can receive from an insurance company or court proceeding. Let’s explore. 

General Compensatory Damage

This area doesn’t pertain to medical bills or property damage. Instead, it addresses general damages inflicted upon the victim. The following forms of suffering usually apply under general compensatory damage:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship

Each category comes with its own award amount as par of personal injury compensation.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering refer to your ongoing struggles with the injuries. It covers physical pain, mental and emotional struggles. When it comes to mental issues, you may develop the following conditions:


You may also go through tremendous stress as you deal with recovery. All of these factors amount to pain and suffering. The amount depends on the extent of your injuries and the court jurisdiction. 

Example: Some states may double the award amount if you have extensive injuries.

To prove pain and suffering, you must document your injuries thoroughly. You can do so in the following ways:

  • Recording your daily struggles 
  • Saving invoices from therapy sessions
  • Saving prescriptions for medications
  • Retaining bills from physical therapy sessions

Overall, keep any document associated with your injuries. Most likely, your lawyer will negotiate pain and suffering from an insurance company. Insurance companies can lower your claim if you don’t have enough evidence. 

Loss of Companionship

This area applies to the loss of a loved one or a traumatic incident. The incident must change the relationship between you and a loved one. Perhaps your significant other suffered brain damage after the accident.

This trauma fundamentally changes the relationship between you and the other party. Also, the amount of personal injury compensation depends on the severity of the loss.

Further, some states cap non-economic damages like loss of companionship. For instance, Ohio caps companionship damages at $350,000.

Punitive Damages

To receive these damages, the defendant must have engaged in reckless or willful actions that resulted in harm. Punitive damages also apply in fraud cases.

When it comes to accidents, the defendant may have operated the vehicle in such a reckless manner that it led to your suffering. 

A jury will grant this amount to punish the actions of the offending party. Moreover, punitive damages are meant as a deterrent. The court considers two main factors when assessing punitive awards:

  1. Referring to cases that are similar to yours and whether those cases awarded punitive damages
  2. Examining the level of maliciousness or gross negligence on the part of the defendant.


The jury usually grants punitive damages with other forms of compensation. Depending on the nature of your injuries, punitive damages can cost more than your primary award.

  • Example: If you received $100,000 in compensatory damages, the jury could award punitive damages up to $400,000.

In other cases, punitive damage applies to injuries that are hard to calculate, or if the injuries require long-term care.

Wrongful Death Damage

You may receive more money if the offensive actions caused the death of someone close to you. You may receive wrongful death compensation in conjunction with other awards. 

The loss-of-companionship category will also apply. On its own, wrongful death awards can range from $1,000 to millions of dollars.

Due to the traumatic loss and heavy emotional distress, you can win big in this category. The award money will also cover burial costs, including all medical expenses incurred when the victim was alive.

Additionally, jurors may grant you the same amount of money that your loved one would have contributed to the household.

Lost Wages

If you have a crippling injury that prevents you from working, the courts can also cover your lost income as part of your personal injury compensation. You can receive damages based on the amount of time you missed at work.

The court will cover all forms of income, such as wages, bonuses, tips, and commissions. You may also receive money based on future missed opportunities. The calculation of future compensation is known as lost earning capacity.

Also, lost earning capacity applies if the accident altered the course of your career.

The award sum depends on the lost time. To prove your case effectively, provide the following forms of documentation:

  • A doctor’s state recommending an extended time off from work
  • A letter from your employer outlining how much time you’ve missed and how much time you’ll miss in the future
  • Pay stubs noting what you would have received. You can also provide tax returns.

All of these documents will be useful during insurance investigations or court hearings.

How Can I Win My Personal Injury Compensation Case?

The best way to win your personal injury compensation case is to hire a South Carolina personal injury attorney. They can tell you about the types of compensation applicable to your case. Plus, they can tell you how much your case is worth.

Additionally, they can tell you how you can prove your case and give realistic expectations in the process. Without legal counsel, you may not be aware of the different types of damages you can receive.

Do you need help with your personal injury case?

Contact Burriss and Ridgeway Injury Lawyers to learn how we can enhance your case.