What is a Personal Injury Claim?
If you have considered filing a personal injury claim, you have likely experienced a significant injury to yourself, your reputation, or your property. Personal injury claims are common and can help the victim feel justified and closer to the whole as before they experienced the injury. “Returning to the whole” can include seeking compensation for the injuries sustained and holding someone accountable for their actions.
Negligence is the main finding for pursuing a personal injury claim. If you can prove that the person in question failed to act with a level of care that another reasonable person may have under the same circumstances, which led to your injuries, you may be able to prove negligence.
Other Reasons for a Personal Injury Claim
Intentional wrongdoing can also lead to a personal injury claim. Examples are assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass to land, and more.
Strict Liability refers to holding the culprit liable regardless of whether or not there was an intent to harm the victim. Examples may be manufacturer defects, medical malpractice, or car accidents.
Common Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims vary greatly, but some of the most common claims are summarized below.
- Car accidents – the parties involved suffer significant injuries and damages to their vehicles and choose to obtain compensation to cover the costs.
- Slips and Falls – a construction worker suffers from severe injuries due to a faulty piece of equipment or other forms of negligence on a job site.
- Medical malpractice – a victim suffers from injuries, or a loved one succumbs to death due to negligent actions of the hospital staff, doctors, or hospital administration.
- Nursing home abuse – you notice a loved one has experienced injuries due to abuse by the staff expected to care for your elderly loved one.
- Assault – you are the victim of an assault, and in addition to charges (or in place of charges), you choose to pursue a personal injury claim against the assailant.
What Damages Can Be Pursued in Personal Injury Cases?
In South Carolina, individuals can pursue economic and non-economic damages in personal injury cases.
Economic damages include costs incurred for medical treatment, time away from work or missed wages, property damage costs, and more. In most cases, an individual can seek compensation for the initial medical treatment and future expenses directly associated with the injuries. Similarly, the individual may be able to pursue lost wages while healing their injuries and future lost wages if they are no longer able to perform work duties as they were prior to the injuries sustained.
Non-economic damages include less direct costs. Rather than calculating damages based on current or past medical bills and forecasted medical bills, non-economic damages are estimated to compensate the victim for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment. While difficult to calculate the number of damages to pursue in this category, an experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in pursuing what you deserve.
What are Punitive Damages?
A third category of damages that personal injury victims may choose to pursue is punitive damages. Punitive damages are in place to punish the defendant and deter similar actions from others in the future by requiring them to compensate the victim for their part in the injuries.
Punitive damages are not allowed in all cases. They must include proof from the victim’s legal team that the defendant acted recklessly and willfully, that the actions of the defendant were without regard to the safety of those involved, and that they were intentional.
Courts will use their discretion to review facts such as the defendant’s past negligence, the nature and extent of injuries sustained, the defendant’s ability to pay punitive damages, and more before they award punitive damages.
What is the Statute of Limitations on a Personal Injury Claim in South Carolina?
The statute of limitations refers to the maximum amount of time you have to file a compensation claim. In South Carolina, you have three years from the initial injuries sustained to file a personal injury lawsuit. In cases where the defendant is a governmental entity, the statute of limitations is only two years. This is a general guide, and should not be relied on in every case. Questions about a statute of limitation should be addressed to a lawyer.
The three-year deadline applies to negligence and intentional torts leading to personal injuries. You must document all costs associated with injuries, consult an experienced attorney, and pursue legal action by filing and serving a lawsuit before it has been three years from the original injury or death to have a valid case.
If you are past the three-year mark, your case, however valid it may be, may be thrown out due to it not being within the statute of limitations. There are however some exceptions to the rule so don’t give up! Even if you are past the deadline, it cannot hurt to call a lawyer anyway.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help My Family and Me?
If you have sustained injuries, you are likely busy trying to heal and following medical orders while trying to get back to work and your life as you knew it. If your loved one passed away due to a personal injury, you are likely mourning their loss and don’t want to handle a frustrating personal injury case immediately.
An experienced and compassionate attorney can take over the reins and become a fierce and tireless advocate for you and your family. Personal injury attorneys have a vast knowledge of these cases and what needs to be done at every step. Delegate those duties to them while focusing on yourself and your family during this trying time.
Contact our office at (803) 500-0000 to begin the process and allow us to help to obtain the compensation you deserve.