When people need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, it is usually because of difficult and painful circumstances. People often need to find a personal injury attorney very quickly.
If you have never dealt with legal matters, filing a case, courts, insurance companies, judges, or juries, this may all be very new to you. You may wonder, “What should I expect from my personal injury lawyer?”
If you are an injured party and it is someone else’s fault that you have suffered from a significant injury or illness, you deserve to have legal representation.
An experienced attorney can help you recover lost wages, medical bills/medical debt, and maybe even compensation for pain and suffering.
What is a “Personal Injury”?
In legal terms, a personal injury is an injury someone sustains because of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or even intentional harmful actions.
Types of personal injuries can include injuries from:
- Accidents: Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, boating accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, or other accidents involving motor vehicles
- Defective products due to design defects, improper marketing, or unreasonably dangerous medications or products (product liability)
- Dog bites from another person’s animal.
- Slip and fall accidents due to dangerous conditions and other factors
- Medical malpractice due to poor medical attention, medical errors, medical negligence, or even intentional wrong acts
- Construction accidents
Wrongful death claims also fall under personal injury law if the injury or illness a person sustained because of another person’s actions results in that person’s death.
Normally, when a person is injured or ill, their own health insurance covers the expenses.
However, if someone injures another person, they, or their liability insurance (auto insurance, medical malpractice insurance, homeowner’s insurance, etc…), may be legally responsible for the costs of the injuries to the injured party. These injury-related costs are also known as “damages.”
Examples of Damages Could Include Things Like:
- Doctors’ bills
- Physical therapy expenses
- Accident-related prescription costs
- Mileage to and from medical appointments
- Other injury-related expenses
- Rabies vaccine costs after a dog bite
If someone is injured on the job, that injury would fall under a different part of the law called Workers’ Compensation law.
Personal injury falls under the legal category, tort law.
From French for “wrong,” a civil wrong or wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, from which injury occurs to another. Torts include all negligence cases as well as intentional wrongs which result in harm. Therefore tort law is one of the major areas of law (along with contract, real property and criminal law) and results in more civil litigation than any other category.
Each state has its own laws about handling personal injury cases and tort claims. South Carolina personal injury law is a “tort liability state” allowing an injured person to file a claim against the person who was at-fault for the injury.
South Carolina is also a comparative negligence state. This means that if you had some degree of fault for the accident, you won’t receive money for the percentage of the damages that was your fault for your tort case.
Each state also has laws outlining certain liability minimum requirements and capping liability limits for various types of injuries. Check with your South Carolina injury attorney for the details in your particular state.
Who is Responsible for the Damages Caused?
Sometimes an injured person is at fault for their own injuries. Other times, another party is fully responsible. And in other cases, it may be that each party shares some fault.
The Injured Person’s Responsibility
If you injured yourself through your own carelessness, recklessness, or criminal actions, you are likely going to have to pay for your medical expenses yourself or through your health insurance. If you have your own auto insurance that has comprehensive coverage, your insurance may cover your lost property damages. Or if you have
Another Person’s Liability
If your injury is the result of someone else’s fault through their negligence you may have a personal injury case that you could bring against the responsible party through an attorney. Many times a responsible party has liability insurance with personal injury coverage that should pay the injured party to compensate for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.
If someone injured you purposely you may be able to bring criminal charges against them and a Columbia, SC personal injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve because of the injuries you sustained in a separate civil action.
The Injured Party and Other Party Share Responsibility
Sometimes both the injured person and the other party both share some degree of fault. The insurance company, jury, and judge will take this into account when they decide on the damages to award to the injured party.
What Should I Expect from My Personal Injury Lawyer?
Let’s just walk through some basic expectations you should have for the Columbia personal injury law firm you hire.
Expectations You Should Have of Your Personal Injury Lawyer:
- To refuse your case if the attorney is not comfortable with the scope of your case, if their workload is already too heavy, or if there is a potential conflict of interest.
- To investigate your case thoroughly.
- To ask you to provide certain information that only you can provide.
- Contact information for witnesses (for example, if you were in a car crash).
- Any police reports that document what happened.
- Your medical bills and receipts related to the injury.
- Emails, letters, and other documentation for any correspondence with insurance companies.
- Car repair bills, receipts, or estimates.
- Pictures of any property damage or injuries.
- To provide information to you about the potential realistic outcomes of your case.
- To have great communication skills with insurance companies, other attorneys, and the court system.
- To have significant courtroom experience and success.
- To be honest about the potential timeframe for the settlement or case.
- To tell you upfront about fees and litigation costs.
- To communicate promptly with you.
- To answer any questions you may have.
- To behave in a professional, ethical manner.
- To not take the first settlement that is offered but be willing to take your case to court, if necessary.
- To be very organized and well-prepared.
- To be punctual and respectful of you and your time.
ExpectationsYou Should Not Have from Your Lawyer
- Guarantees about a dollar amount for a settlement.
- The most favorable outcome if you don’t share all pertinent information relevant to the case.
- A specific timeline.
- More money than your case is realistically worth.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer in South Carolina?
At Burriss and Ridgeway, we care about our clients’ health, pain and suffering, and financial wellbeing. We’d love to offer you a free consultation to see if we might be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your personal injury.
Please contact us today!
We have convenient office locations in Lexington, Orangeburg, and Columbia, SC. Virtual appointments may be available, as well.