Before filing a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina, you should be aware of your rights and have a general idea of the process. For example, you have a right to hire a lawyer to represent you. You may be able to file a lawsuit even if you were partially at fault for the injury.
Personal injury lawsuits can resolve in a few different ways. For example, you may not even have to go to trial to secure compensation. You will need to provide evidence of your injuries to seek compensation, as well.
You May Be Able to File a Lawsuit in South Carolina Even If You Share in the Fault
South Carolina operates under comparative negligence law. To win compensation, SC Code § 15-38-15 requires defendants to share no more than 50% of the fault for the accident.
When you file a claim under the other driver’s policy, an insurance adjuster will determine each party’s percentage of fault. You would typically pursue legal action if the other driver lacks adequate coverage or an insurer refuses to offer you fair compensation.
A personal injury lawsuit can give you the opportunity to contest an insurer’s determination of fault and fight for fair compensation. If you choose to file suit, you do not necessarily have to file an insurance claim beforehand, though.
You Can Seek a Variety of Compensation in an Injury Case
After an accident, you have the right to seek a recovery for your injury-related expenses. For example, you can seek awards for:
- Current medical bills
- Ongoing medical care
- Lost wages if you missed work while recovering
- Reduced earning capacity if you can no longer earn your pre-injury income
A personal injury lawsuit also allows you to seek additional damages that you would not receive from an insurance claim. With the help of a personal injury lawyer in Columbia, SC, you can seek damages for pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. Other general and special compensatory damages include loss of wages, future medical bills for long-term healthcare, household expenses, bills associated with canceled plans (including some trips), mental anguish, loss of consortium, and more. In some cases, you could also receive punitive damages awarded by a jury if the defendant is proved to have engaged in despicable or reprehensible behavior.
You Will Need to Document Your Injuries and Losses
To win compensation, you will have to prove that another party caused your injuries and losses. You need evidence to show that your injuries and losses resulted directly from the accident. Otherwise, the other party may argue that you did not suffer injuries or that they were not related to the accident.
Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, see a doctor. Even if you went to the emergency room after the accident, continue to see a doctor and follow through with any prescribed treatment. Medical documentation can provide the link between the accident and your injuries.
Your Case May Not Go to Trial
Personal injury lawsuits can take a couple of different paths. In South Carolina, you may undergo mediation with the other party. During this process, you can negotiate a settlement. If you accept an offer, your case will not need to go to trial. This can be ideal, as it saves time and money due to court fees.
If you cannot reach an agreement with the other party, your case will proceed to litigation. A lawyer will then present your arguments for a favorable verdict to a jury during a trial.
Trials can go on for months, but some cases reach a verdict sooner. There is no telling exactly how long your lawsuit will take to resolve. You could be waiting a while to see any potential compensation.
You Have a Right to Legal Representation in South Carolina
You do not have to handle a lawsuit on your own. You have a right to hire a personal injury lawyer. They can build your case from the start and represent you during mediation and trial. Legal services may also include:
- Investigating an accident
- Gathering evidence of the other party’s liability
- Consulting with your doctors and expert witnesses
- Calculating your damages
- Protecting your rights
- Managing all communications with insurers, defense attorneys, and the liable party
- Completing all the required paperwork
You can even hire a lawyer to help you file an insurance claim. Doing so can take a great weight off your shoulders and allow you to focus on your health. Some law firms operate on a contingency-fee basis so you do not have to risk further financial loss for legal representation.
Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Learn How Our Attorneys Can Help
It’s important to know your rights and understand the process before filing a lawsuit. Taking legal action provides an opportunity to recover compensation, but it can get complicated. If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit – or even an insurance claim – call us to learn about how our legal team can help.
You deserve to rest and recover from your injuries. Let our personal injury lawyers serving South Carolina handle the legal legwork. We do not charge up-front fees to start your case, and we only collect our payment if we win. Call us at (888) 612-7001 and begin your free consultation.