Honest Answers From Your South Carolina Personal Lawyer
When you’re faced with a major life event, you’re filled with questions and uncertainty. Get the straight answers you’re looking for from a South Carolina attorney.
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How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?
It depends. But one thing's for sure: if you miss the deadline, you lose your rights, period. It doesn't matter how bad you're hurt or how wrongly you got treated, you won't be compensated for it.
The Threat To The Inexperienced
Just figuring out the deadline can be a complicated process, depending on the type of case you've got, and who it was that hurt you. In some cases, it can be hard to figure out exactly when the accident happened, so you can't pinpoint when your time started to run. This is especially true in medical malpractice cases, when victims often don't realize the medical mistake until long after it occurred.
It's all the more reason to immediately ask an experienced personal injury lawyer some basic questions about your case when you’ve been seriously injured by someone else's carelessness.
These are the very basics about your legal deadline. WARNING: NEVER, EVER ASSUME A DEADLINE APPLIES TO YOUR CASE. Verify how long you've got by asking an injury lawyer you trust- and don't be surprised if the answer requires some legal research first.
The Threat Named, And How To Defeat It
- The official name of the deadline [in case you want to impress your friends at parties]: It's a law called the “Statute of Limitations.”
- What you've got to do to beat the deadline. You've got to file a lawsuit against the parties that hurt you. And if more than one party could be legally responsible for your injury, you usually can't add a party after the deadline. That's why it's important to get your ducks in a row early on.
Different Parties, Different Deadlines
The length of the statute of limitations varies according to how the law defines a wrongdoer:
- Private [non-government-affiliated] parties- usually three years from the accident. This includes most people driving their own cars in car accident cases. It also includes private companies- but an important trick is determining whether a company's private or government-affiliated, since that dramatically reduces the deadline. Keep reading.
- Government-affiliated parties- usually two years from the accident. This includes state, county, and local agencies like police, or the Department of Transportation. But many seemingly private entities are actually legally government-affiliated. A key example is hospitals- many county hospitals are exactly that, legally affiliated with the government.
It's Pretty Easy To Put Your Fears To Bed
If you're wondering what your injury case deadline is, you don't even have to call. You can start a live chat right where you are to get your question answered by an experienced personal injury attorney. We're here to give you peace of mind, and make it as easy as possible for you to get justice.
Do I still have a claim if the cause of my injury is partially my fault?
Possibly, based on the legal doctrine of "comparative negligence." Comparative negligence requires a jury to compare the fault of both parties involved in an accident, with the victim’s compensation reduced by the percentage of the victim’s fault.
How It Works
Your compensation can be reduced- or you can even lose.
- Reduced compensation for 50% fault or LESS: Say the jury decides you were 25% at fault. The jury decides your compensation, called damages, are $100,000. The judge will reduce your verdict by the amount of your fault- 25% of $100,000 is $25,000. You collect $100,000-$25,000= $75,000.
- No compensation for MORE than 50% fault. If you're found to be more than 50% at fault, you get nothing. And you shouldn't- the accident was mostly your fault.
When We Often See It
One case we see this defense is slip- or trip-and falls. Insurance companies and their lawyers love to crow, "You should've looked where you were going!"
It can be very important to have a skilled injury lawyer in a case where you might be at fault, to help increase your chances of recovering- and increase the amount you recover. If you've been hurt by someone else but are afraid you might be found at fault, call us now at 864.582.0416 or toll free at 877.230.1841 to discuss how we can help show it's not your fault or prove your fault was minimal.
How much will I need to pay my lawyer for my accident injury case?
Nothing- from out of your pocket, anyway.
A contingency fee is used by lawyers in most personal injury cases. The fee is a portion of your monetary recovery paid by the insurance company in settlement, usually 1/3. You'll likely be responsible for paying the costs incurred by the lawyer to help your claim, but these expenses are usually paid from the settlement, along with the fee. The fee is computed before costs are deducted.
For consumers the beauty of a contingency fee is, we don't take your case unless we're pretty sure we can help you. The benefit to society is, it discourages lawyers from filing frivolous lawsuits- if we don't think you have a meritorious case that should be paid, we can't get paid, so we decline the case.
There are other benefits of a contingency fee. It helps give more people access to justice, since hurt people typically don’t have the money to take on giant corporations or their insurance companies. And it protects you from the lawyer spending way more time on your case than you both expect– it doesn’t change the fee like it would if you paid him by the hour. So you don’t have to be scared to death checking your mailbox every first of the month for an enormous bill.
What compensation is available in a personal injury claim?
Personal injury victims who can prove another person caused their injury can recover money for losses, or damages, they sustain as a result of the injury. Personal injury victims may obtain compensation for damages they can prove, such as:
- Medical bills, including future medical bills related to the accident
- Lost wages, including overtime and vacation/sick leave and, in the most serious cases, permanent income loss or reduction
- Pain, discomfort, and suffering, plus other items listed below that we call "human loss"
- Disfigurement/Permanent scarring
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent injury
- Physical disability
- Mental disability, especially in brain damage cases
- Property damage
- Out of pocket expenses as a result of the injury, such as transportation, house cleaning, yard work, etc.
- Punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer where the injuries are caused by reckless or intentional conduct.
Additionally, spouses of injured victims can recover damages for loss of love, affection, companionship, and comfort ordinarily provided by their injured spouse.
What is a personal injury?
A personal injury is any injury to a person’s body or mind caused by another’s carelessness or recklessness. Personal injuries can be caused in a variety of ways. Following are some of the most common causes of personal injury:
• Automobile/Truck/Motorcycle Accidents
• Railroad Crashes
• Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
• Medical Malpractice
• Failure to maintain safe property or warn others of unsafe conditions on property
• Work-related/on-the job accidents (workers compensation)