If your damages are calculated at $100,000, but you were 10% to blame, your compensation will be reduced accordingly and you’ll get $90,000.
In 2018, South Carolina was ranked 5th among the states with the most drunk-driving fatalities per 100,000 people. DUI qualifies as negligence in the eyes of the law and it can be even considered gross negligence if the driver at fault had drunk-driving priors. If you were injured in any sort of accident caused by someone’s negligence, you have the right to file a personal injury claim. At the same time, an experienced South Carolina accident lawyer can help you file a lawsuit to recover damages, including punitive damages if the actions of the party at fault qualify as gross negligence.
How does South Carolina define personal injury?
Road accidents account for the majority of personal injury claims in South Carolina. Whether you were injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident you are entitled to be compensated for your losses and your suffering by the individual at fault or by their insurance company. If you lose someone in such an accident you can file a wrongful death claim.
Boating accidents can also lead to a personal injury claim, Accident lawyers in Charleston, SC, can also help you if you or someone you love were injured in a case of medical malpractice or nursing home abuse.
Slip and falls or any other injuries caused by the negligence of a property owner can also be grounds for a personal injury claim.
Injuries caused by the use of defective products qualify as accidents under South Carolina law, and unsafe prescription medications fall under this category.
When should you hire an accident lawyer in South Carolina?
As a rule, you should get in touch with a seasoned accident lawyer if you have suffered severe injuries and the damages are considerable. Severe injuries, like spine damage, head trauma or loss of limb, usually require surgery and prolonged medical care, often in an ICU. The medical bills alone will exceed $100,000, not to mention your lost wages for the duration of your hospitalization and recovery. No insurance company is going to give you that kind of money without a fight. And insurance adjusters are known for fighting dirty. They will try to minimize the value of your claim any way they can.
On the other hand, you should consider hiring a lawyer if the circumstances of your accident are unclear. This is very important in motor vehicle accidents. South Carolina uses a modified comparative fault rule, according to which you can recover damages even if you were partly to blame for what happened.
For instance, if your damages are calculated at $100,000, but you were 10% to blame, your compensation will be reduced accordingly and you’ll get $90,000.
The problem is how much your own fault weighs in. When you make a personal injury claim, it will be the insurance adjuster who determines your percentage of blame. They may claim that your percentage of blame is 40% rather than 10%, in which case you only deserve $60,000.
A skilled lawyer will conduct his own investigation and they may call in independent experts to counter the insurance adjuster’s arguments.
If the insurer refuses to offer you a fair settlement, you will have to file a lawsuit and have the court decide what sort of compensation you truly deserve.