“Personal injury” is a term usually used in civil litigation. It includes all the physical and emotional damages an individual endures after a tragedy or wrongful death. Everyday personal injury cases include vehicle accident claims, motorbike accident claims, pedestrian accident claims, faulty product claims, medical malpractice claims, false imprisonment claims, intentional infliction of emotional torture, slip and fall claims, etc.
In 2021, the United States witnessed a total of 39,508 devastating vehicular accidents that ended in 42,939 fatalities and several thousand injuries. Personal injuries take many forms, and people living in big cities can seldom avoid such mishaps. South Carolina, for instance, experienced a total of 141,096 accidents, out of which 1006 tragically ended in fatalities.
If you live in Charleston, for instance, and have sustained personal injuries, working with a personal injury lawyer in Charleston, SC, can maximize the chances of obtaining fair compensation. The compensation you can obtain in a personal injury claim includes economic and subjective non-monetary damages.
Here’s what you need to understand about personal injury laws and how a lawyer can help.
Legal aspects of personal injury cases
Personal injury cases have three legal aspects: statute of limitations, burden of proof, and liability. In most cases, South Carolina law requires victims to make their claim within three years of their injury. If the claim is against a government body, the period is only two years.
Either way, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused their accident, injuries, related expenses, and pain and suffering. The jury may determine that you were partially or fully responsible for your injuries or the accident after all.
South Carolina uses modified comparative negligence, meaning you can’t collect your claim if you are over 51% at fault. If you believe you have a personal injury claim, talk to an attorney to learn your legal options and merits. Personal injury lawyers bring their experience in tort laws and negotiating damage settlements. A personal injury lawyer can benefit your case in various ways, including increasing the chances of a successful claim. Here’s a look at the services they provide.
As mentioned, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. You will have to prove breach of care, damages, and causation. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands how to prove liability without a shadow of a doubt.
They will use evidence such as your medical bills, lost wages, therapy appointment receipts, etc. They also retain diverse and useful resources such as expert witnesses, accountants, and private investigators to help build a strong case.
Part of a lawyer’s job includes figuring out how much you are owed. Personal injury claims compensate for economic and non-economic damages. Some expenses like medical bills for physical harm and lost wages are obvious.
Others, like pain and suffering, depreciation, property towing and repair, rehabilitation costs, and emotional distress, require the help of experts to assign dollar values.
Always let a lawyer look at any settlement offer to ensure they include all the hidden costs of your injuries. Otherwise, you risk financial troubles if you accept a settlement offer without knowing the hidden and long-term consequences of your injuries and damages.
Negotiating with insurers
Personal injury claims don’t go to trial directly. After filing a claim, the at-fault’s insurer will appoint a representative to act on their behalf. They will have questions to establish the veracity of your claim. You must only speak with them in the presence of your lawyer.
Otherwise, they may trick you into accepting part of the liability, thereby forfeiting part or all of your claim settlement. Experienced attorneys know the tricks insurers use to try and reduce or deny claims. They will help you file your claim, negotiate and remain objective throughout the process. They will also look into the offers on the table to ensure fairness.
Taking your case to trial.
Of course, most personal injury cases don’t require litigation. Insurers always negotiate in good faith when dealing with aggressive attorneys. However, litigation is an option if negotiations fail. Your lawyer will help you prepare and file the case paperwork in time. They will also present your case and bring witnesses and arguments to convince the jury about the defendant’s liability.
Most juries find in favor of the plaintiffs. That’s why most insurers settle, in fear of getting dragged to court. Either way, a personal injury claim can result in a settlement or jury award based on your share of the liability. A good lawyer will work to meet the burden of proof and maximize your compensation amount.
Seek the help of a personal injury lawyer today
A personal injury can alter your life in unimaginable ways, leaving you with huge medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A good attorney can help you obtain rightful restitution to move on with your life. Help from a qualified personal injury lawyer will maximize the chances of a successful claim.