Broadly speaking, a personal injury case in South Carolina involves a dispute where someone has suffered a bodily injury due to the actions, inaction, and/or negligence of another. Every claim for personal injury boils down to two questions: Is the person who harmed you liable for any damages you suffered and, if so, what is the extent of those damages?
If you or a loved one have been injured and believe you have a claim for personal injury, you should seek out the services of a skilled personal injury attorney who can assist you in achieving your goals and addressing your needs after your accident.
The Statute of Limitations in South Carolina
Every state has a time limit in which you must file a claim for personal injury. Unless you have been injured by a governmental entity, then in South Carolina, you have three (3) years from the date of the injury to file a claim for damages.
If you file your personal injury claim more than three years after the date of your injury the South Carolina court will be forced to dismiss your case and you will not be able to recover any monetary compensation for your injuries. It’s important if you or a loved one has been injured in South Carolina to contact an Easley, S.C. personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
If your personal injury claim is a government entity, you have two (2) years from the date of your injury to file a South Carolina personal injury claim for damages.
In addition, in South Carolina, if you’re filing a medical malpractice claim, the statute of limitations normally doesn’t start until the date you discovered your injury.
Common Types of South Carolina Personal Injury Claims
While there are many ways a claim for personal injury can arise, some of the most common causes of Easley, South Carolina personal injury claims include, but aren’t limited to:
- Car Accidents. Motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of personal injury claims. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, 466 people died on South Carolina roads in traffic accidents in 2017. The statistics for 2018 are even more staggering, as on the date of writing in July there have already been 429 fatal crashes in the state of South Carolina.
- Motorcycle Accidents. Motorcycle drivers are injured more than any other driver of a motor vehicle in South Carolina. Unfortunately, many of those crashes result in the death of the motorcycle rider.
- Tractor-Trailer Accidents. Being in a South Carolina car accident with a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle can lead to catastrophic injuries, and in many cases, death.
- Bicycle Accidents. Many times, motor vehicle operators ignore the rights of bicyclists, even though they have the same rights to the road as any other driver. In South Carolina, many serious accidents involving bicyclists occur and often they lead to extremely serious accidents and death.
- Premises Liability. These types of accidents in South Carolina generally include but aren’t limited to, slip and falls and trip and falls.
- Dog Bites. South Carolina adheres to strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. You don’t have to prove negligence by the dog’s owner to receive monetary compensation for your injuries caused by a dog bite.
- Nursing Home Abuse. This term refers to crimes committed against the elderly in nursing homes and can include physical, emotional, sexual, and verbal abuse, neglect, and theft.
- Medical Malpractice. In South Carolina, medical malpractice refers to a mistake on the part of a health care provider who is treating you and can result in serious personal injury to you or a loved one. Common types of medical malpractice include errors or complications with anesthesia, surgical errors, failure to diagnose, and improper medical diagnosis, just to name a few.
- Wrongful Death. South Carolina has put in place a cause of action for wrongful death in S.C. Code Ann. 15-51-10. This statute allows a person family to pursue a wrongful death claim as long as the death was “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another” and the person who died would have been entitled to recover damages from the wrongdoer if they’d survived. Wrongful death claims can arise from car accidents and medical malpractice, among other types of personal injury cases.
Damages in a South Carolina Personal Injury Claim
If you file your South Carolina personal injury claim within the time limit as set forth in the Statute of Limitations and you win, then there are a wide range of economic damages you may be able to recover based on your individual case.
- Medical Bills. Your past and future medical expenses, including mileage to and from your Easley, South Carolina health care professional.
- Lost Wages. Past, current, and future lost wages, including diminished earning potential as a result of your injuries.
- Pain and Suffering. In South Carolina, personal injury claims can result in past and future pain and suffering. Pain and suffering refer to the emotional trauma you or a loved one caused the accident, but future pain and suffering a lifetime of disability and/or disfigurement can cause.
- Home Modifications or Renovation. If you’ve been in an accident in South Carolina that has caused you to be permanently disabled, you may need to renovate or repair your home in some way to accommodate your disability.
- Car Modifications. If your accident left you disabled, you may also have to have your motor vehicle repaired or modified to accommodate your disability.
- Repairs to Property. In South Carolina, if someone’s negligence damaged your property, including but not limited to your car, then you may be entitled to economic damages to repair your property.
Negligence and Issues of Fault in South Carolina
If you or a loved one has been injured in South Carolina, it’s important that you understand the legal concept of negligence. Essentially, negligence boils down to whether someone failed to use reasonable care in their actions or inaction. If the person who caused your injuries in Easley, South Carolina, acted in a manner that was reckless, careless, or without reasonable regard for your safety or the safety of others, they could be deemed to have been negligent and have legal liability.
South Carolina operates under a modified comparative negligence rule. This states that an injured Plaintiff must be found to be less than 50% at fault. If an injured Plaintiff is found to be 51% or more at fault for his injuries, then the Plaintiff will not be able to collect any damages for his injuries.
In addition, the number of economic damages a person may receive for his injuries will be reduced by the percentage the injured person is found to be at fault. For example, if an injured person is found to be 20% at fault for his injuries, the defendant will only be responsible for paying 80% of his personal injury damages.
Calculating Damages in South Carolina
Damages such as medical bills and lost wages are easy to calculate, as they only require a jury to add up a few numbers on bills, and they are rarely disputed in a South Carolina personal injury claim.
Other elements of personal injury damages, such as pain and suffering, or the emotional trauma a person suffered as a result of his injuries, aren’t as easy to calculate and are often left up to a judge or jury to decide on the proper amount of damages that person should receive.
Juries in Easley, South Carolina, will consider such things as the type and extent of a person’s injuries, what future medical treatment a person may require, whether that person was left permanently disabled and/or disfigured, and the length and permanence of that person’s injuries.
Why You Need an Easley, South Carolina Attorney for Your Personal Injury Claim.
It’s inevitable that accidents will happen in South Carolina, and you or a loved one may suffer some type of injury. However, personal injury law in South Carolina is complex and can be confusing for many people. Your odds of recovering economic damages will, therefore, increase if you hire a skilled Easley, South Carolina personal injury attorney.
There are steps you can take to find the right South Carolina personal injury attorney for you.
- Research. Talk to friends and family, read personal injury attorneys’ websites, or read some articles. Make a list of possible attorneys.
- Make Calls. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of possible Easley, South Carolina personal injury attorneys, call their offices and either set up a face to face meeting or time to have a telephone conversation with some south Carolina attorneys.
- Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to ask attorneys questions, such as how long they’ve been practicing personal injury law, how many cases they’ve tried in front of a jury, whether and how they will communicate with you during your case or be available for a telephone call if you have questions, and what attorney in their office is going to be handling your case.
Remember, the goal of personal injury law in South Carolina is to protect innocent victims of personal injuries by allowing them to recover damages from those that were responsible for their injuries. A skilled and knowledgeable Easley. South Carolina personal injury attorney will be there to protect you and be a strong advocate for you in all aspects of your South Carolina personal injury claim.