Accidents happen in an instant. One minute, you’re fine. The next, you’re in pain and hurt. You may also be wondering whether you have legal options.
When someone else is responsible for an individual’s injuries, South Carolina law allows victims to pursue financial compensation through a personal injury claim. This money can be a vital lifeline for victims who cannot work because of their injuries, yet still face costly medical expenses and other losses.
If you’re like most South Carolinians, you’ve never had to file claim before. An experienced attorney at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A. can explain how to file a personal injury claim in a free consultation.
Ready to get started? We are, too. Call or contact us right away.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims apply to a wide range of accidents, such as:
- Car accidents: These crashes make up the bulk of personal injury claims in South Carolina. In order to receive compensation, accident victims must file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Victims are also obligated to prove fault. Our skilled attorneys can gather the evidence needed to help you do that.
- Truck accidents: Truck accidents are more complex than crashes involving passenger vehicles. The injuries from tractor-trailer collisions also tend to be more severe. In addition, there are many potentially liable parties. A knowledgeable lawyer can help identify who is responsible and demand maximum compensation from all available sources.
- Motorcycle accidents: Bikers have very little protection on the roads. Even with helmets and the best protective gear, there’s little to shield motorcyclists from catastrophic harm in a crash. Compensation from a personal injury claim can help victims and family members cover the past, current, and future medical expenses that often accompany life-changing injuries.
- Slip and fall accidents: Whether an individual slips and falls in a store, at someone’s home, or in a parking lot, he or she can hold the owner or property manager liable in a slip and fall accident claim. The success of these claims depends on whether there was a hazardous condition that the owner knew (or should have known) was dangerous and did not address it.
- Dog bites: Dog owners in South Carolina are held strictly liable any time their dogs bite or attack another person. This means that victims of dog bites do not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent or knew that the dog had aggressive or violent tendencies. Still, there are some exceptions under the law and these claims are not always as straightforward as they sound.
Other types of accidents fall under the umbrella of personal injury law as well. If you were harmed and someone else is to blame, it’s best to speak with a lawyer to determine if you have a case.
When to File an Injury Claim
You have three years to file a personal injury claim in South Carolina. When the government’s negligence caused the accident, the deadline is shortened to two years. While this often sounds like a long time, it is not. Prior to filing a claim, an investigation must be conducted to collect important evidence that shows someone else was at fault. The process of establishing liability is a long one, so accident victims should speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
The clock on the statute of limitations starts running as soon as the injury is discovered. In many cases, this happens when the accident first occurred.
For example, if someone was in a car accident and broke his or her leg, the injury would be discovered right away. On the other hand, an individual who suffered a concussion in the same crash might not discover the injury for days or even weeks afterward. In the latter case, the clock would start ticking on the date the concussion was discovered. Regardless of when the injury was discovered, accident victims are barred from filing a claim six years after the date of injury.
Personal Injury Claim vs. Personal Injury Lawsuit
Many people think that when they file a personal injury claim against someone, they are suing them. Not so. There are many differences between personal injury claims and lawsuits.
- A personal injury claim is filed with an insurance company. These claims ask the insurer to pay for certain damages, including medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. The negligent party typically does not have to pay anything personally for these claims. However, insurance companies are usually reluctant to pay the fair settlement amount that accident victims deserve. Their initial settlement offers are always far lower than what victims are actually entitled to.
- A personal injury lawsuit is when you officially sue someone. A lawsuit may be filed when the insurance company refuses to make a full and fair settlement. Alternately, a lawsuit may be filed directly against the negligent party if their insurance policy limits do not fully cover the cost of the injuries. In either situation, a lawsuit does mean that the case will go to court to be decided by a judge or jury.
At any time in the lawsuit process, the two parties may still agree to a settlement. The vast majority of personal injury claims resolve before trial.
When to Contact a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer
Not every accident will require the help of a lawyer. If you were in a minor fender bender with no injuries and minimal property damage, you probably don’t need an attorney. However, there are times when it is essential to speak to a personal injury lawyer, including when:
- There are serious injuries: These more severe the injury, the higher the case value. Victims that sustain catastrophic injuries or who suffer from permanent disabilities after an accident often have significant long-term needs. For example, they may need ongoing medical treatment, around-the-clock nursing care, adaptive equipment, and other needs. They may no longer be able to earn a living or support their families. A skilled and tough personal injury attorney will strive to ensure that your needs are not overlooked.
- There are questions of fault: One of the key ways that the insurance company will try to reduce its payout is by trying to shift blame onto the injured party. In South Carolina, you can still collect compensation as long as you are found no more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your degree of fault. Having a personal injury by your side during negotiations can ensure that you are not being blamed unfairly.
- There are numerous parties involved: Claims involving multiple parties are always complicated. Usually, that means dealing with different insurance companies who are all trying to shift blame from one party to another. Don’t try to multitask and handle all the demands by yourself. A personal injury lawyer can unravel who is responsible and make sure that all parties are held accountable.
- The insurance company has denied or delayed the claim: Insurance companies often try to deny, delay, and diminish personal injury claims. But you shouldn’t have to pay if someone else caused your injury. Talk to an attorney right away about your legal options.
- When you are overwhelmed: The personal injury claims process involves a lot of paperwork, research, and time — all things that you don’t need to handle when you’re trying to heal. At Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., we can take over the entire claims process for you. You won’t have to worry about haggling with the insurance company or trying to collect necessary documents. We’re there for you from case open to case closed.
How Can Land, Parker & Welch Help With My Injury Claim?
Were you hurt in an accident in or around Manning, S.C.? Put the personal injury lawyers at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A. to work for you. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to build a strong claim for maximum compensation for you. You can count on us to be here for you every step of the way.
Worried about legal fees? You don’t have to be. Our law firm takes cases on a contingency fee basis. That means that you won’t pay anything unless we obtain a verdict, settlement, or award on your behalf.
Don’t wait another day to get the claims process underway. Call or contact us now to schedule your free consultation.