Honest Answers From Your South Carolina 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.
- Page 1
What can I take to my first attorney meeting about a fatal accident or wrongful death case?
If you’re asking this question, you need simplicity, and I’m going to give it to you. Bring every piece of paper or evidence that might relate to your loved one’s accident, the medical care for it, and untimely death. Below you’ll find a list of some things you can bring to help the attorney start an evaluation of the case, but first, a little information for you about how these cases work.
The Basics of Accidental Death Cases in South Carolina
This is called a wrongful death case. It gives certain family members the legal right to be compensated for the loss of a family member. The law gives rights to specific compensation in a settlement for a fatal case.
There are a host of reasons why you need an attorney for a wrongful death case, and you can read about the most important ones in this article.
Meeting with an attorney about a wrongful death case should be free. Most lawyers call this a consultation. At my firm, the meeting is a free strategy session because that’s what we’re going to do—start building your case from the ground up, painting a picture of what it will look like going forward. I’ve worked awful hard to make sure these meetings are easy, comfortable, and informative for you. Because that’s who it’s about—you. And if you hire us, no, you won’t need any money to do it.
Now, on to what you can bring to help us get started on your case evaluation.
Things You Can Bring to Help the Attorney Get Started on Your Wrongful Death Case
The first thing to remember is, if you don’t have some or any of these documents, don’t worry. A good lawyer does a thorough investigation to help you gather these things, but below are documents and evidence that can really help jumpstart your case:
- Your appointment by the Probate Court as personal representative of the estate. In a wrongful death case, the actual client is the personal representative of the estate. Before the case can be officially started, you need to get this from the probate court. If you don’t have it, we can help you get it.
- Death certificate. This is an official document for any death in our state. We use it to help prove the actual cause of death is linked to the accident. This is especially important in medical malpractice and nursing home or assisted living facility cases. But even if the death certificate doesn’t list the accident as causing the death, you can still have a case. You owe it to yourself and your family to pursue it if you feel the death was caused by someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing.
- Other documents and evidence needed, depending on the type of case. Wrongful death cases get caused for a variety of reasons, whether it’s car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer trucking accidents, slip or trip and fall cases, medical malpractice, or nursing home/assisted living facility neglect. To help you figure out what we might need depending on those cases, here are articles on what you need depending on the case:
- Car, motorcycle, or semi-trailer wreck
- Slip or trip and fall, medical malpractice, or nursing home neglect
ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE THAT’S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT: Evidence of what your loved one earned at their job. This helps us prove all the potential lost income created by this tragic death.
You’ve Already Got a Lot of Things to Worry About—What It’s Like to Deal With a Lawyer Shouldn’t Be One of Them
Meeting with a lawyer is hard, even when you’re not overwhelmed by grief and the avalanche of responsibilities that comes with picking up the pieces of an unexpected death. If you’re hesitant to come to see us because you worry about how you’ll be treated, watch this brief video on how we helped a family who went through something like you.
And if it’s still too early for you to think about coming to our office but you’ve still got questions you need answers to, no worries. You can just call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
It depends, but you don’t need to bring your own money to do it. Personal injury lawyers get paid with a “contingency fee.” It’s a cut from the financial settlement the lawyer earns for you. Additionally, you reimburse the lawyer from the settlement for money he spends to help your case.
The beauty of a contingency fee is that it should drive your lawyer to get the best settlement possible. The more money you get, the more he earns. Plus there’s less risk to you—you pay nothing from your pocket, which may be empty from losing work due to your injuries.
Here’s more specifics how this works.
Understanding Personal Injury Lawyer Fees
Fee percentages vary among lawyers. Our fees are usually one-third of your settlement. If the case gets within 10 days of trial, the extra work may justify increasing the fee to 40%. At Holland and Usry, we pledge that our clients get more in their pockets than our fee. You’ve lived through it, so you deserve more than us.
Typical Personal Injury Case Costs
“Costs” are money we spend to help your case. At Holland and Usry, we work to minimize these costs—without hurting your case—to help get you get the most money possible.
Typical costs include:
- Fees for evidence. In traffic crash cases, we get the officer’s accident report. Sometimes we get public documents for other evidence through Freedom of Information Act requests, like more extensive crash reports in serious DUI accident cases or coroner’s files in wrongful death cases. In cases where we file a lawsuit, we may subpoena information. All these requests usually generate a research and copying fee.
- Fees charged by medical providers for records and bills. The extent of your injuries is often molded by an expert in them—your doctor. We can’t present your case without medical records. No insurance company will pay without clinical proof the accident caused your injuries.
- Fees charged by your doctor to meet with him. Sometimes we meet with your doctor to fully understand the professional view of your injuries. A brief questionnaire developed from this meeting can provide powerful evidence of the severity of your injuries, permanent damage, and your need for future care.
- Filing fees. When we file a lawsuit, the clerk of court charges a fee to do it. If your case requires motions to be argued before a judge, we also pay a filing fee for that.
- Depositions. Depositions are out-of-court sworn testimony where each side finds out what the other side’s trial testimony will likely be. Done right, it can require hours of preparation. The most costly and often most important depositions are doctor depositions. They testify at trial through a deposition, which we often record on video for a more powerful effect on the jury.
- Experts. Some cases require a professional with special knowledge or training to prove your case. For example, medical malpractice cases can’t be filed without a doctor’s sworn statement your doctor did something wrong to hurt you. Because experts can make costs skyrocket, we use them cautiously.
- Mediation. Courts require that we try to use the mediation process to resolve a civil claim before it goes to trial. The parties hire an experienced mediator (usually a lawyer or former judge) with no interest in the outcome to try to help them settle it. We pay the mediation fee up front, but we get reimbursed from your final settlement or verdict.
Bonus For You: Your Injury Lawyer Works for Free Until Your Case Is Over
If you’re hurt in an accident, it costs you nothing up front to hire a trained professional to solve your problem. That’s a much better deal than your doctor offers. And handling a serious injury case on your own is like operating on yourself. You wouldn’t do that, would you?
So you literally have nothing to lose—and potentially more than you think to gain—by sitting down with a skilled professional whose job is helping folks like you. Here's more good news for you: when you come to our office, you'll be welcomed into a free, easy strategy session with no pressure or obligation to hire us.
Wondering what it's like to be a client? See these reviews we didn't pay for on a website we don’t own, as well as Google Plus.Give yourself a shot by contacting us toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form so we can start answering your questions and talk about what we can do to help.