When Should I File a Personal Injury Claim?

If you have been injured and it was someone else’s fault (whether it was intentional, negligence, or strict liability), you may be able to file a claim. You (or your attorney) would need to prove that the defendant was liable (legally responsible) for your injuries and damages.

 

A few examples of common personal injury claims: 

These examples all fall under tort law (and would be tort claims). A tort is a wrongful act that causes injury or damages. It can fall under the categories of intentional, negligence, or strict liability.

  • Car accidents (motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, etc…)
    • A careless driver can be held responsible for other people’s injuries in many states. The driver should have personal injury coverage on his/her insurance. And the injured party may also be able to collect for property damage because of damage done to a vehicle.
  • Slip and fall cases
    • Property owners can be held liable for certain injuries if they didn’t keep their property reasonably safe and free from hazards. If the injured person can prove that the owner allowed dangerous conditions on the property and was negligent to correct the situation, the owner may be responsible due to premises liability.
  • Medical malpractice
    • A doctor who is negligent or who provides inappropriate treatment that falls below the accepted medical standard of care may be liable for injuries or illnesses of a patient who is harmed.
  • Dog bites
    • Dog owners may be held responsible for bites and other injuries caused by their dogs. A dog owner may have liability insurance that covers such a claim.
  • Assault and battery (and other intentional torts)
    • When one person purposely harms another, this can require criminal charges. But the victim can also file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court for compensation for any injuries related to the defendant’s attack.
  • Defamation 
    • If someone hurts another person’s reputation because of spreading lies and the victim can prove financial loss came from the slander or libel, the victim may want to hire a personal injury lawyer to take on the case.

 

If you have physical injuries or illness due to another person’s negligence, liability, or criminal actions, you may be eligible for compensation for things like lost wages, pain and suffering, medical treatment, and property damage.

If you were injured on the job, you may also be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

 

How should I file a personal injury claim?

There are some general steps to take when you believe you need to file a claim. Your attorney can guide you into the specifics for your particular case and state.

  1. Seek medical treatment. You can file with your health insurance, in many cases, although in some situations, you won’t need to. (Please check with your attorney for details.) But be sure to keep all records for a potential settlement or court case.
  2. Collect evidence related to who caused the accident and the damage caused. Obtain a police report if possible from the police department.
  3. Find out if the responsible person has an insurance company that may cover the cost of your injuries.
  4. Contact a personal injury attorney if you believe you may have significant injuries.
  5. Set up a claim.
  6. Continue treatment and keep records of the extent of your injuries and all of your related bills.
  7. Negotiate a settlement.
  8. Receive a settlement or file a lawsuit (be sure you file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations deadline in your state).

 

How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?

Once an injured person files a claim, it can often take one to two years for the case to go to trial. So be prepared that this is often not a fast process. 

It’s also important that the injured person files a claim within the statute of limitations for that state. If you wait until after your time limit, you will not be able to file a lawsuit.

 

What is the average personal injury settlement? 

The average settlement range is not possible to predict.

The amount of compensation for pain and suffering, injuries, and other damages depends on several factors.

  • The amount of money or insurance coverage the defendant (the person responsible for the injured party’s injuries) has.
  • The extent of the damages the plaintiff (or injured party) sustains.
  • The degree of liability the defendant has. 

Different types of personal injury cases tend to involve specific ranges of damages that would be covered. You can speak with your attorney for more information about what kinds of damages you might be able to expect to collect in your particular case.

Personal injury lawyers are skilled at calculating pain and suffering damages, property damage costs, medical costs, and other economic damages.

 

Looking for a personal injury attorney in Columbia, SC?

We handle personal injury cases in South Carolina and would love to talk with you. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation with us to see how we might be able to help you with your personal injury claim.

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