Personal Injury

Personal Injury (24)

Personal injury Claims and General knowledge Learn and understand the personal injury claims the way attorneys do.

 

 
       A personal injury accident, whether a car wreck or slip-and-fall, is usually a traumatic experience.  At the time of the accident, the last thought is the specifics of when a lawsuit can be filed to cover damages. The first order of business is with treating the injury, first in the emergency room, and later with a follow-up visit to a primary care physician or physical therapist. After the injury is at least stabilized, the injured party looks toward covering damages caused by another's liability. Those damages can include medical bills, lost wages from time away from work due to the accident, and pain and suffering associated with the accident. In some cases, the injured party may have taken a great deal of time to decide to bring suit against the liable party or even seek counsel to do so.  It's important to know when the South Carolina Statute of Limitations (SOL) will prevent bringing suit due to the amount of time after the accident.
 
       First, it's important to know that states have differing SOLs for different types of civil causes of action. I am licensed in South Carolina but come into cases which have aspects crossing state lines and have learned about other states' SOL.  For example, from what I have seen, Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations for most civil actions.  At least one state I am aware (Tenn) has a one year SOL for many civil actions.  
 
      Second, beyond stabilizing injuries, there are other reasons why a party would not want to immediately file suit and therefore must pay close attention to the SOL. Your attorney should take some time investigating the incident and researching parties so he is ethically correct in signing off on the suit being filed.  That investigation goes beyond what a non-lawyer might expect, and should include ensuring statute(s) or case law allow for the cause of action and identifying all money sources involved (sometimes referred to as looking for the "deep pockets" if the damages are substantial). Lastly, it is wise for the attorney to make attempts to negotiate a settlement of the suit before filing.  In practice, most suits are settled before bringing suit, though the facts of the case and level of damages help drive the numbers of the settlement by prediction of what a jury might do at trial.
 
         In South Carolina, for non-government, private entities as the liable parties, the SOL is three years for most Civil Actions. For liability involving negligence, fraud, Insurance bad faith, conversion (theft) and suits under the SC Unfair Trade Practices Act, a person in South Carolina has three years from the date of accrual (usually from the date of the incident, but in some cases it can be a later date of reasonable "notice" of the wrong) to file the suit.  If not, the suit is forever barred.  Note that SC has a two year SOL for Defamation (libel or slander), false imprisonment, or any suit based on a statutory forfeiture/penalty to SC. Note: There are some other exceptions involving as low as one year SOL and beyond 3 years, but the general rule is three years for personal injury type cases.
 
      - For suing governmental entities for negligence, in SC the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of accrual.  It's important to remember this nuance, and ensure to check whether the liable party is a governmental or public entity, as failure to make the time limit bars the suit forever.
 
     - It's important to understand that the suit must be filed on the "last day" before the SOL runs.  Once the suit is filed, the filing party has up to 120 days to serve the lawsuit on the other party.  Once it is served, the other party has 30 days to answer and potentially make counter-claims which must be answered in 30 days.  
 
     - If you retain counsel, it is the lawyer's job to file before the SOL.  If you have told your lawyer you want the suit filed within the SOL period and he misses the SOL, he can be sued in malpractice.  Regardless, as lawyers have many cases it's important to conduct follow up and ensure your case is not forever barred.  
 

THE BILL CONNOR LAW FIRM

Practicing Law, With Christian Values 

THIRD PARTY CLAIM IN A WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM

 

THIRD PARTY CLAIM IN A WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM
 
        For those hurt on the job, workers compensation can appear confusing and marginal in covering damages.  It's important to first understand the primary reason for workers compensation law:  Protection of both the injured worker and employer under a system which the worker's injuries (and lost wages) are covered but the employer is not under threat of a lawsuit.  Under workers comp, proving liability of either the employee or employer is not required and will not effect the compensation to the employee. Workers compensation insurance, required for employers with four or more employees and not effected by liability, the employee is restricted from suing the employer and the employer must cover a worker liable for his own injuries. The problem with Workers Compensation for the injured employee comes with the lack of compensation for "all" damages (pain and suffering, punitive, etc.) that the employee could seek in a lawsuit if the employer is liable. In many cases, the employee is stuck with Workers Compensation, but in some cases, the employee might be able to bring a separate lawsuit against a liable third party.  Let me explain.
 
       In the usual situation with an injured employee, the only parties involved are the employer (including employers agents) and the employee. This is primarily because Workers Compensation is for injuries within the scope of work. For example, an employee is carrying a heavy load with other employees, and the employee is hurt when another falls. The falling employee may have been responsible, but the Workers Compensation insurance would be the only coverage available.  This is because the liable employee was an agent of the employer. However, if the hurt employee was using equipment to carry the load, and the equipment owned and maintained by a third party separate from the employer, and the third party was negligent in the maintenance of the equipment, the hurt employee could have a separate action he could pursue in a civil action against the third party.
 
      If a third party is involved with an injury and is liable in some way, the hurt employee would still pursue Workers Compensation coverage first.  The Workers Compensation claim must be resolved before the injured worker could reach a settlement or bring suit against the third party.  This is because the Workers Compensation insurance would normally have some right to a lien on money paid by the liable third party.  This is because the Workers Compensation Insurance will have paid medical costs for the injured employee and damages from the third party would include money for medical damages. The real benefit of the third party claim to the employee is the ability to demand compensation for pain and suffering involved with the accident, or even potential punitive damages if the case goes to trial.
 
       Most Workers Compensation attorneys should know to look for a possible third party claim, but this does require some experience and work. In many third party claim cases, the third party claim may not be immediately apparent.  An employee injured while carrying a heavy load into property owned by a third party may have some claim to make against the homeowners insurance in the event of a fault with the property.  For example, if a step gives way causing the employee to fall.  In that event, the employee would make a Workers Compensation claim against his employer, and when that claim is resolved he could then bring a suit against the homeowner seeking homeowner's insurance coverage.  If that claim resolves, the employee would have to pay some amount of the homeowner's insurance settlement to the Workers Comp carrier but would have more due to the coverage for pain and suffering.  He would then be fully compensated.
 
      After being injured while in the scope of employment, it's important to know and seek all available coverage.  

          When you are in an accident involving personal injury, events move quickly during the incident and the immediate aftermath.  After a collision involving two vehicles, drivers and passengers in both vehicles are usually in some state of confusion. As I learned during firefights in Afghanistan, events involving potential death causes a substantial adrenaline spike with multiple physiological effects. The immediate aftermath of an accident can be confusing and emotions can run wild. It's important to learn a key evidence rule now, so that when an accident occurs you will make a wise decision about what is said in a confusing and sometimes chaotic environment.
 
        The first, and arguably most important, evidence rule to be aware is an exception: to the general rule against the admission of hearsay in court:  A party admission is admissible in court despite being "hearsay".  This means that if a party makes an admission to being at fault in an accident, anyone who heard the party can testify to that admission.  It doesn't have to be a direct admission like "I caused this accident".  It would be something more indirect like "I didn't see the stop sign".  Anything that can be reasonably interpreted as an admission.  Another hearsay exception is a party statement against interest.  When a party communicates a statement that goes against the interest of the party, this is allowed in court as another exception to the general hearsay rule.  Saying "I didn't realize the speed limit changed" is against interest (and/or considered an admission).  Therefore, parties must be careful after an accident not to say something admitting fault or going against the interest of the party.
 
        A reason it's important to understand this rule is that a party can destroy a defense or legitimate claim against the other party by saying the wrong things after an accident. In dealing with insurance carriers, a party admission generally prevents the company from settling.  It can also cause the party's own carrier to settle the claim in favor of the other party.  In the immediate aftermath of an accident, one party might be confused, and not understand what happened and "think" he is at fault.  When all the facts come out later, that party may have had less liability than the other party. As South Carolina is a modified "comparative fault" state, a party can bring a lawsuit as long as that party is not beyond 50% liable for the accident.  However, if the party makes an admission of liability, that admission will greatly harm any future defense or claim against the other party.
 
       This does not mean that a party cannot express sympathy for any injuries of the other party, and definitely doesn't mean a party cannot seek to help the other party.  It is just important to be careful about what is said around others after an accident, and understand that accidents are complex in the area of liability.  Just provide the facts of what happened, and let the facts speak for themselves.   
 
UPDATE:  With the COVID 19 pandemic, courts in South Carolina have continued (moved back) a number of hearings and filing deadlines.  Additionally, most depositions have also been continued until further notice.  It's important to gather evidence at the earliest possible point after the accident, then be prepared for delays in presenting evidence.  You should inform witnesses of these delays, and attempt to obtain affidavits where appropriate in all cases.       
 

THIRD PARTY CLAIM IN WORKERS COMP INJURY

 
      Workers Compensation was developed as a legal protection for both workers and employers.  Before worker's compensation, when an employee was injured he could only attain compensation for his personal injury if he was able to bring suit in court against his employer. That is unless the employer voluntarily decided to take care of the worker's injuries and associated damages. At that time, the employer could be sued for extraordinary and even bankruptcy level amounts, as damages could go beyond medical bills and lost wages into pain and suffering and punitive damages.  By state law, Workers Compensation Insurance is required of all employers employing four or more individuals, and the rules are governed by the state Workers Compensation Commission.  Within Workers Comp rules, the liability of either the employer or employee is not a factor in coverage and amount of compensation, but compensation is limited to medical coverage and a certain amount of lost wages.  For the worker, this can be a problem when the injury is substantial and severe and involves a great deal of pain and suffering and other non-medical or wage-related damages. A third party claim can help remedy that problem.
 
      A third party claim in a Workers Compensation case is when a party separate from the employer (including employer's corporation and agents) bears liability in an accident.  If Workers Compensation is involved, the accident would have had to occur within the scope of an employee's work and involve the employer's workers comp insurance.  In some cases, a third party can be liable, and that party(s) is not protected from a lawsuit the way an employer is with worker's compensation.  For example, if someone is hurt by faulty equipment owned by a third party (not the employer or his corporations/agents) while the employee is working within the scope of his work for the employer, he can make a Workers Compensation claim and then a third party claim against the liable third party.  This sometimes happens when a worker is struck by another vehicle while driving under the scope of employment.
 
      In order to make a third party claim in a worker's comp scenario, the worker must first resolve the worker's comp claim first.  The worker's comp claim must be resolved before reaching a settlement or bringing a suit against the third party. Additionally, the worker's compensation insurer will normally have some rights to recoupment in the event of a third party settlement or jury award.  The key difference between the two claims is the third party liability claim can be substantially more than the worker's comp claim, and better compensate the employee in bad accidents.
 
     After a work-related accident, always analyze to see if you have a third party claim.  It is worth the effort.

    

 
      When someone hurts you in an auto wreck and you require medical attention, bills can be substantial.  Just the bill for being transported from the scene of the accident to the emergency room will usually run at least $500.  The emergency room bill for solely evaluation after a wreck can run $4000 and higher.  When advanced diagnostic imaging is required, such as a CAT scan, the bill can run over $15,000.00.  If treatment is required, particularly an injury such as a broken bone, the bills can be quadruple the amount of the Emergency Room evaluation. An injury requiring ICU and/or surgery can run into the six figures. It is important to know what insurance coverage is available to help cover medical bills and compensate for damages like pain and suffering.
 
      In South Carolina, all drivers are required to have insurance coverage for anyone they might hurt up to at least $25,000.00 (usually termed "liability" coverage).  Drivers are not legally required to cover themselves, though the majority of drivers to have insurance for their own potential injuries not associated with another driver (usually called "collision" coverage). In addition to that coverage, most drivers will choose to cover themselves with "uninsured motorist" (UM) coverage, in case the other driver does not have insurance coverage.  along with UM coverage, most will also have associated "underinsured Motorist" (UIM) coverage, in case the amount of damages exceeds the other drivers liability limits.
 
      When the other driver, who is liable for hurting you, is uninsured, your own UM coverage will cover you up to the amount of the UM coverage.  That will be up to your own liability coverage, so if you choose "minimum limits" of $25,000, that is the amount of coverage available for UM.  Additionally, if the other liable driver is underinsured for the damages he caused, your own UIM coverage will exceed his liability coverage up to those limits.  Those limits will be up to what you have for liability coverage.
 
      What becomes important to understand is when damages exceed both liability and UIM coverage.  In South Carolina, policy owners are then allowed to "stack" policies for their other vehicles insured by that policy.  Therefore, if the hurt driver has 3 vehicles under the policy, with UIM limits of $25,000, he will have a total of $75,000 in UIM coverage in addition to the other driver's limits.
 
      One important coverage available to someone hurt in a wreck is "resident relative" coverage.  If someone is living with an immediate family member who has insurance coverage at the time of the accident, the hurt individual will likely be covered under the covered family member policy.  This is important for those who were uninsured at the time they were hurt and the liable driver is also uninsured.
 
      If the at fault driver is uninsured, the hurt party may still sue the driver over the damages caused in the accident.  The at fault driver could be found liable by the court and/or jury and have a judgment rendered.  At that point, they must pay the judgment, but usually a driver without insurance is also unable to personally pay a judgment.  That would leave the injured party stuck with the damages, and the reason for uninsured motorist coverage. 
 
      Always look for all available ways to cover injuries.

 After any accident, an injured party may consider bringing a lawsuit due to the damages incurred.  In a car wreck or slip and fall case, just an evaluation in the Emergency Room will run into the thousands of dollars. In addition to the hospital bills, the injured party will usually have other associated damages.  They may have lost time from work.  They may have endured a great deal of pain and suffering and might even be prescribed pain medicine.  In serious injury cases, the consideration of lost future earnings come into play due to semi-permanent or permanent disability caused by the accident.  Other incidents might not involve any medical evaluation or treatment or lost work. What factors should be considered before bringing suit?
 
         First, it is important to know that costs are always involved in actually filing suit against another party.  The filing fees are normally around $150 (potentially much more).  Service of process on another party can be costly, paying for depositions in discovery can cost a few hundred per deposition.  Filing suit and litigating cases involves costs that must be factored into whether or not to bring the suit.  That's even the case with lawyers working on contingency and not an hourly fee.
 
        In cases involving an insured party, and insurance should be involved in car wreck cases due to legal requirements, parties can sometimes work out a settlement without filing suit.  In a car wreck in which liability is not contested, for example a rear-end collision, the insurance company is usually willing to settle.  The disagreements will normally then come with the amount of settlement, with the insurance company attempting to keep the numbers low.  That's where a lawyer can be cost effective:  Even though the lawyer receives 1/3rd of the settlement, he should be able to negotiate a settlement well beyond what might be negotiated without a lawyer and more than make up for his contingency.
 
        If the medical bills are in the hundreds and no injuries were diagnosed, attempts at settlement but not lawsuit is generally the best course of action.  Even if a jury might award a bit more than a settlement, the costs would likely not be justified.  Beyond the monetary costs are the costs of time and stress of the lawsuit.  The time away from work due to the lawsuit (depositions, answering discovery, trial, etc.) can be very costly in lost income.  For a case involving substantial medical bills and injuries, the predicted jury award would likely be worth it.  For low dollar damage cases the best bet is usually a decent settlement.
 
       The decision of whether to sue can be a tough one and should not be made lightly.  Think about everything involved including the cost, pray about it, and make your decision.


 
         After an accident involving personal injury and resulting damages, it's critical to determine all possible insurance coverage.  A personal injury lawyer is usually able to look beyond what most non-lawyers know about coverage, but anyone who has been hurt should know the basics of finding coverage.  It's relatively easy in the situation a liable party causes injury and has a policy with high enough limits to pay damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain/suffering.  The tougher situation is when parties either don't have enough coverage, or in some cases neither the liable party has coverage and the hurt party doesn't have uninsured motorist coverage. These unique situations are the focus of this article.
 
        When a liable party causes a great deal of damage, but only maintains minimum limits (in South Carolina that is $25,000.00), the harmed party must look beyond the liable party's coverage.  The first place to look is the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage available by the party with high damages.  These limits will usually be at the level of the liability limits if available.  Therefore, if a party has $25,000.00 in liability coverage the UIM coverage will be $25K.  If the damages are beyond the UIM coverage, the other potential coverage is in "stacking" UIM policies for other vehicles under the harmed parties' policy.  That allows for that additional coverage as needed.  Yes, the liable party can be sued for an amount beyond their coverage, but attempting to satisfy damages beyond coverage becomes very difficult and time-consuming.  The old saying "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip" applies in many cases, and remember there is no debtor's prison.  
 
        The same principle of coverage applies when the other driver is uninsured.  Instead of UIM coverage, it is uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, with the same ability to stack policies to satisfy damages.  Again, must better to go after insurance policies available then attempting to "squeeze blood from a turnip".
 
         The other situation that can create the need for alternative insurance coverage is in the event of an accident involving an uninsured driver and the harmed party does not have personal policy coverage (or declined UM/UIM coverage).  Another potential coverage may exist as the only alternative to having no coverage available.  If the person is a "resident relative", living in the same house with a direct family relative (like father/mother or spouse or children), and the relative has UM/UIM policy coverage, that harmed party could be covered.  The insurance company for the policy allowing coverage for a resident relative will likely conduct an investigation to ensure the relatives did live together at the time of the accident, and proof will be required.  Assuming the insurance company accepts the resident relative status, then the coverage is available to the limits of the UM/UIM policy.
 
        Again, a personal injury lawyer will be looking for these alternative types of coverage, but it's still important for everyone to understand what is available to cover damages.  It could make all the difference in the world for yourself, or more importantly for those you love.
 
Bill
 

FINDING ALL POSSIBLE INSURANCE COVERAGE AFTER PERSONAL INJURY

 
         After an accident involving personal injury and resulting damages, it's critical to determine all possible insurance coverage.  A personal injury lawyer is usually able to look beyond what most non-lawyers know about coverage, but anyone who has been hurt should know the basics of finding coverage.  It's relatively easy in the situation a liable party causes injury and has a policy with high enough limits to pay damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain/suffering.  The tougher situation is when parties either don't have enough coverage, or in some cases neither the liable party has coverage and the hurt party doesn't have uninsured motorist coverage. These unique situations are the focus of this article.
 
        When a liable party causes a great deal of damage, but only maintains minimum limits (in South Carolina that is $25,000.00), the harmed party must look beyond the liable party's coverage.  The first place to look is the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage available by the party with high damages.  These limits will usually be at the level of the liability limits if available.  Therefore, if a party has $25,000.00 in liability coverage the UIM coverage will be $25K.  If the damages are beyond the UIM coverage, the other potential coverage is in "stacking" UIM policies for other vehicles under the harmed parties' policy.  That allows for that additional coverage as needed.  Yes, the liable party can be sued for an amount beyond their coverage, but attempting to satisfy damages beyond coverage becomes very difficult and time-consuming.  The old saying "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip" applies in many cases, and remember there is no debtor's prison.  
 
        The same principle of coverage applies when the other driver is uninsured.  Instead of UIM coverage, it is uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, with the same ability to stack policies to satisfy damages.  Again, must better to go after insurance policies available then attempting to "squeeze blood from a turnip".
 
         The other situation that can create the need for alternative insurance coverage is in the event of an accident involving an uninsured driver and the harmed party does not have personal policy coverage (or declined UM/UIM coverage).  Another potential coverage may exist as the only alternative to having no coverage available.  If the person is a "resident relative", living in the same house with a direct family relative (like father/mother or spouse or children), and the relative has UM/UIM policy coverage, that harmed party could be covered.  The insurance company for the policy allowing coverage for a resident relative will likely conduct an investigation to ensure the relatives did live together at the time of the accident, and proof will be required.  Assuming the insurance company accepts the resident relative status, then the coverage is available to the limits of the UM/UIM policy.
 
        Again, a personal injury lawyer will be looking for these alternative types of coverage, but it's still important for everyone to understand what is available to cover damages.  It could make all the difference in the world for yourself, or more importantly for those you love.
 
Bill
 

 
       When someone is hurt on the job it's important that person understand the issues involved with being compensated for damages.  In most cases, the worker is covered by Workers Compensation insurance provide through his employer. In the event the employer did not have Worker's Compensation Insurance when required due to having 4 or more employees, the state has a fund to help such injured employees.  Workers Compensation is meant to help both the employee and employer.  It helps the employee by providing medical coverage and wage compensation without having to prove liability of the employer.  It helps the employer by preventing litigation costs as Worker's Compensation is the sole remedy for the employee against the employer.
 
      Despite the positive ends of Workers Compensation to the employee, it also brings certain drawbacks. Despite the liability of the employer in causing the injury through negligence, the employee cannot receive more than the medical costs and certain lost wage compensation.  It does not provide for damages like pain and suffering, and therefore can drastically limit what the employee would have obtained through a personal injury claim which could be filed in court.  The employee must accept Workers Compensation as the remedy against the employer, even if the employee would rather file a personal injury claim to obtain redress for damages like pain and suffering.
 
      It's important to know that Workers Compensation law in South Carolina does not restrict an injured employee from filing a personal injury claim against a third party (non-employer) with liability or some liability for the injury.  The employee must first finish the Workers Compensation coverage and settle the Workers Compensation claim before pursuing any further claims (and the Workers Compensation Insurance may hold a lien on any settlement or award from the liable third party).  However, when the Workers Compensation claim is settled, the employee can then file a claim against the third party.  That claim can involve all damages, including potentially punitive based on the nature of the case (more on punitive damages in another article).
 
      It's important to have an attorney handle work-related accidents.  Not only because Workers Compensation law is relatively complicated and involves many rules in dealing with the Workers Compensation Commission. The other reason is that an attorney will be able to properly assess the potential for the third party claim and what damages to seek. 

Call The Bill Connor Law Firm Today!

 

 

 
If you or a loved one is considering filing a personal injury lawsuit due to a car crash, slip and fall, or any personal injury in Columbia SC, you may be wondering "What is my lawsuit worth and should I even file a case at all?" The answer comes down to "damages" and calculating  what your injuries have cost you and your family monetarily, physically, and psychologically
 
In a personal injury lawsuit, financial damages are paid to an injured person (the plaintiff) by the people or company legally liable for the incident (the defendant, usually covered by an insurer). A settlement can occur after a negotiated agreement between the parties, their insurance companies, and their lawyers.  Alternatively, a judge or jury can award damages following a court trial in which a party is found liable. 
 
In this article, we are going to look at the different kinds of damages typical in most personal injury cases and how a personal injury damages award can be influenced by the plaintiff's action (or inaction).
 
 
Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
 
Many personal injury damages are classified as "compensatory," this means that they are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for what was suffered due to the accident or injury. This involves putting a dollar amount on all the consequences of an incident. Some compensatory damages are relatively simple to quantify such as reimbursement for property damage and the injured plaintiff's medical bills. But it's a lot more challenging to put a monetary value on pain and suffering or the inability to enjoy regular life events because of physical limitations caused by accident-related injuries.
 
Here's a list of the various kinds of compensatory damages that are standard in many personal injury cases.
 
Income
You may be awarded compensation for the accident's impact on your salary and wages. This includes income you've already lost and also the money you that you would have been able to make in the future, if not for the incident. In personal injury legalese, a damage award based on later  income is described as compensation for your "loss of earning capacity."
 
Emotional suffering
Typically linked with more severe accidents, emotional distress damages are intended to compensate for a personal injury plaintiff for the psychological impact of an injury. For example, fear, anxiety, and even sleep loss due to the accident. In some states, emotional distress is part of any "pain and suffering" damage that is given to a personal injury plaintiff.
 
Medical treatment
A personal injury damages award usually covers the cost of medical care associated with the accident, reimbursement for medical treatment you or a loved one have received any compensation for the estimated cost of medical care you'll require in the future due to the accident.
 
Pain and suffering 
You may be entitled to receive compensation for pain and severe discomfort that you have suffered caused by the accident and its immediate aftermath and also for any ongoing pain that can be associated with the incident. 
 
Property loss 
If any cars or other items were damaged because of the accident, you'd probably be entitled to compensation for repairs or reimbursement for the fair market value of the property that was lost.
 
Loss of consortium 
In personal injury lawsuits, "loss of consortium" damages usually refer to the impact the injuries have on the plaintiff's relationship with their spouse. For instance, the lack of companionship or the inability to keep a sexual relationship also some states consider the separate impact on the relationship between a parent and their children when a person is injured. In some instances, loss of consortium damages is given directly to the affected family member rather than the injured plaintiff.
 
Loss of enjoyment 
When injuries produced by accident keep you or a loved one from enjoying day-to-day activities including exercise, hobbies and other recreational activities, you may be entitled to get "loss of enjoyment" damages.
 
 
 
Punitory Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
 
In cases where the defendant's behavior is considered particularly outrageous or extremely careless, a personal injury plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages along with any compensatory damages award. 
Punitive damages are given to the injured plaintiff. The goal of these types of costs is to punish the defendant for their conduct. 
 
Contributory negligence
 In the handful of states that follow the concept of "contributory negligence" for personal injury cases, you may not be capable of recovering any compensation at all if you're considered partially to blame for the incident.
 
Related negligence 
If you or a loved one is at fault (even partially) for the accident that caused your injuries, the odds are that any damage award will reflect that. This is because most states adhere to a "comparative negligence" standard that combines damages to a degree of fault in a personal injury lawsuit.
 
 
After the accident: failure to decrease damages. 
The law in most states expects the plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits to take sensible measures to reduce or "mitigate" the financial impact of the harm due to the accident.  This is the case in South Carolina, including Columbia SC. If an injured plaintiff unreasonably allows damages to continue (by failing to get necessary medical treatment after an incident and causing their injuries to become much worse), a damages award might be diminished. 
 
 
Bill Connor is a Personal Injury Attorney in Orangeburg South Carolina.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, call The Bill Connor Law Firm today! 

 

 
      When you have been hurt in an accident in Orangeburg SC that was the fault of another, it's important to receive proper medical care.  Whether the accident is a slip and fall, car wreck, bicycle accident, or whatever, getting a medical check after the incident is critical for many reasons.  First, immediate medical attention is just the best thing for your future health.  The longer the wait before treatment, the higher the chance of further and potentially permanent injury.  Particularly after a vehicle accident, the adrenaline involved can block the true level of pain associated with the injury and only a medical evaluation will discover the extent of the problem.  The adrenaline rush can last for a day or even days, before wearing off to reveal the extent of pain due to the injury.  By that point, further activity may have caused more problems to even a permanent nature.
 
       The second reason for immediate medical evaluation and treatment is important for a future personal injury claim.  The longer the time between the incident and medical evaluation, the more argument you will face of either an intervening event having caused injury.  You may also face more of an argument that the injury is minor.  This is particularly the case when injuries do not involve the clear and unquestionable like broken bones.  A strained neck can be just as harmful as a broken arm, and yet it becomes harder to objectively quantify the level of injury.  The quicker medical attention is sought and the injury noted on evaluation, the better for the future claim.  Additionally, X-rays and CAT scans help quickly find a serious injury that would not be apparent otherwise.
 
       Beyond initial treatment and evaluation, it's important to continue necessary follow-up treatment for the injury.  Like initial treatment and evaluation, it's important to seek and obtain the follow-on treatment to prevent further physical problems, including permanent injury.  Next in importance is the legal claim effect. When the injury is being evaluated, the total medical bills become the most important factor in insurance companies assessing cases. That same dynamic occurs with juries as well.  The more medical bills, the higher the value for the claim (in most circumstances).  Normally, more value is placed on medical bills verses either chiropractic or physical therapy bills. However, those bills still hold weight.  The consideration for possibly deferring some treatment might be the cost involved if a person has no medical insurance.  Even in that event, however, many times chiropractic clinics will offer treatment with a lien on their bill from the proceeds of a settlement or jury verdict.  It is always best for yourself and the claim to get all treatment necessary.
 
     Hopefully, this will help if you ever have the unfortunate experience of personal injury. Always seek good legal counsel to help guide you through the process.
 
Call The Bill Connor Law Firm Today!

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The Bill Connor Law Firm

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