South Carolina Injury Lawyers - Shelly Leeke Law Firm, LLC
Whether your injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident or a dog bite attack, accident victims often have one thing in common: they are not sure what to do next. The time period immediately following an accident or diagnosis often leaves victims feeling frightened, confused and overwhelmed. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate this difficult time period alone. The experienced attorneys at Shelly Leeke Law Firm are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights in the compassionate and dedicated manner that you deserve. Call us today and learn how we can help you.
For more than a decade, the attorneys at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm have provided injury victims with the support and guidance that is so crucial to their financial and emotional well-being.
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Our Practice Areas
When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may not know how best to protect yourself.
Children & Minors face a heightened risk of becoming injured in accidents.
A wrongful death claim in South Carolina allows the family to receive financial compensation for their loss.
Consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to maximize the compensation that you deserve.
Victims who have been exposed to asbestos may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills and lost wages.
Fortunately for victims and their families, dog owners can be liable if their dog attacks or bites someone.
If a loved one is abused or neglected in a nursing home setting, the results can be traumatic for everyone involved.
Claimants who use a lawyer are more likely to win their claims than those who do not.
Why Choose Shelly
Finding the right law firm to represent you after an accident or injury requires not just a track record for success, but also a personal rapport so that you feel comfortable throughout this process. Our knowledgeable and dedicated team members provide detailed biographies to help you learn more about their backgrounds. We also hope that you will learn more about our overall approach to practicing law.ABOUT SHELLY LEEKE
What Our Clients Are Saying
Don’t just take our word for it—hear what actual Shelly Leeke Law Firm clients have to say about our services.
I am very satisfied with Shelly Leeke Law Firm. The staff is very professional and nice.
Thank you for your help in this matter.
I am completely satisfied with my settlement. I didn’t think you would be able to get anything more out of the liability carrier. While no insurance company has stellar reputations, theirs is particularly bad – probably the worst I’ve seen reviewing the Internet. That says a lot about your negotiating skills.
Thank you for your efforts on my behalf.
Successful Case Results
Recovered for Auto Accident Victim
Recovered for Rear End Accident Victim
Recovered in Wrongful Death Auto Accident
Recovered for Dog Bite Victim
Recovered in Workers' Comp Case
Frequently Asked Questions
After an accident occurs or an injury is suffered, you may feel lost and confused. Few people who have suffered an accident or incurred an injury have an extensive background in this area. Without this knowledge, they are left wondering how best to proceed in order to protect their legal rights. Fortunately, we are here to provide you with the answers that you are looking for. Check out our many frequently asked questions and their accompanying answers for more information.
Is There a Cap on Wrongful Death?
Losing a loved one is always hard, but it is even harder when your loved one is taken too soon. When your loved one was killed by the wrongful or negligent acts of another person, you should seek justice. While bringing a wrongful death claim will not change what happened, it can help you and other beneficiaries receive closure and financial assistance.
Is There a Limit on the Amount of Money I Can Receive in a Wrongful Death Case?While most states place some kind of limit on the amount of damages that you can receive for wrongful death, the State of South Carolina generally does not. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule that you need to be aware of before bringing your wrongful death case.
Medical MalpracticeIf your wrongful death case arises out of medical malpractice, South Carolina state law places some limitations on the amount of money that you can receive. This limit only applies to non-economic damages, which are damages that are subjectively determined by the jury, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. In medical malpractice cases, the most money that you can receive for non-economic damages is $350,000 per defendant, or up to a total of $1.05 million. However, this limit does not apply to economic damages, such as medical bills or lost wages, which typically also run into hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Punitive DamagesPunitive damages are extra damages that are meant to act as a punishment to the defendant for egregious or grossly negligent behavior. Punitive damages are only awarded if you prove that the defendant’s actions were intentional, willful and wanton, fraudulent, or grossly negligent. In South Carolina, the maximum amount of punitive damages that you can receive is three times your actual damages, which are the damages that you were awarded for everything else, or $500,000, whichever number is higher. This punitive damage cap applies to all cases, regardless of whether the case involved medical malpractice. However, if the court determines that the defendant acted especially badly, then there is no cap on punitive damages, and these especially bad acts are:
- If the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff
- If the defendant was convicted of a felony for the same actions that injured the plaintiff
- If the defendant did any negligent act while drunk or high
Economic DamagesSouth Carolina does not place any limitations whatsoever on the amount of money that you can receive for economic damages. Economic damages are damages that are easy to calculate and can be awarded based on clear data. Essentially, economic damages are reimbursement damages that are meant to either pay you back or pay you for things that you would have had if not for the accident. In wrongful death cases, some of the most common types of economic damages are:
- Lost wages for the deceased
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Property damage
How Are Non-Economic Damages Calculated?Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life, are very subjective and normally entirely up to the jury. However, both parties are allowed to present evidence of how much those damages should be. The majority of the time, non-economic damages are calculated in one of two ways.
MultiplierUsing the multiplier method, an expert witness, normally an economist, will testify that the amount of economic damages should be multiplied by another number (normally 2-4, depending on the severity of the injuries) and that this number should be awarded for non-economic damages. This method is the most common method in South Carolina.
Per DiemThe other method that can be used to calculate non-economic damages is the per diem method. This method entails an expert witness, again, normally an economist, who will take the total amount of economic damages, divide that number by the number of days between the accident and the trial, and then use that per day number to state that the jury should award an amount that would be enough to last until the end of the injury.
What if My Loved One Was Partially at Fault for Their Accident?South Carolina has a law known as modified comparative negligence for personal injury cases. This law means that the amount that you (or the executor of the deceased’s estate) can recover for damages will be reduced proportionally by the amount that they were at fault for the accident. For example, if the plaintiff was 15% at fault for the accident and receives total damages of $1 million, they will instead receive $850,000 because their award will be reduced by 15%. If the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault, however, they will not be able to recover any compensation because they were mostly at fault. How much fault the plaintiff shares for the accident is a determination that is made completely by the jury, which means that there is no real way to determine how much fault the plaintiff has beforehand. This means that regardless of how much the plaintiff was at fault, a skilled lawyer can still often secure some compensation.
Can You Get PTSD from a Car Accident?
A person is prone to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a terrifying event. If a person suffers serious harm in an auto accident, this individual can experience PTSD symptoms. A doctor can help a person cope with PTSD and find safe, effective ways to manage their symptoms. At The Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we want auto accident victims to seek justice. If you have been involved in a car accident in South Carolina caused by someone else, an attorney from our team can help you out. We can review your case and answer common questions about PTSD from auto accidents and related topics.
What Is PTSD?PTSD is a mental health condition that can cause flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety. A person can start to experience PTSD symptoms after an auto accident or other traumatic events. PTSD can affect a person's mood, thinking, and ability to enjoy life to the fullest extent. After an auto accident, a person may feel anxious about getting behind the wheel of a car or traveling in a motor vehicle with someone else. In this instance, the individual may be dealing with PTSD without even realizing it. With a clear understanding of the signs of PTSD, an individual can identify symptoms of the condition in themselves and others. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for PTSD, and meeting with a doctor offers a great starting point for figuring out a way to manage the symptoms associated with it. Different therapies are available, and medications may be used to help people manage their PTSD symptoms. If you are experiencing PTSD after a car accident, consult with a doctor to discuss your symptoms and explore treatment options.
What Should I Do if I Am Experiencing PTSD After an Auto Accident?In addition to meeting with a doctor, it is a good idea to connect with a car accident lawyer. Look for an attorney that has experience with auto accident cases and a track record of success. This attorney can review your case and help you decide if now is the right time to request damages from any at-fault parties. If you experience PTSD due to a car accident, you may be able to request non-economic damages relating to it. These damages are awarded for subjective harm. Examples of non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering you incur due to a car accident. Along with non-economic damages, you can seek compensation for your medical bills, loss of income, and other quantifiable losses you suffer as a result of your auto accident. Your attorney can help you calculate the amount of economic and non-economic damages to request in your car accident lawsuit. From here, your lawyer can file your lawsuit.
How Can I Prove that I Am Dealing with PTSD After a Car Accident?You will need a proper diagnosis of PTSD from a qualified medical professional. You need to go to a doctor and get an evaluation to receive this diagnosis. If a doctor believes you are coping with PTSD, this medical professional will diagnose it accordingly. Keep track of all of your medical records relating to your PTSD diagnosis and treatments. These records can serve as evidence in your auto accident lawsuit. They can show a judge or jury the severity of your PTSD symptoms and what you are doing to address them. Your lawyer will help you collect and evaluate evidence as you prepare for your car accident trial. With relevant evidence at your disposal, you can make a compelling argument to a judge or jury. This evidence can help you secure the most damages possible in your auto accident case.
How Much Money Can I Get as Compensation for PTSD After a Car Accident?There is no restriction on the amount of damages you can request in a South Carolina personal injury lawsuit. This means you can request thousands of dollars in damages if you choose. To determine an appropriate amount of damages to ask for, it pays to consult with an attorney. Your lawyer considers the short- and long-term impact of your PTSD. Also, your attorney looks at many other costs you have incurred due to your auto accident. Then, your lawyer can recommend how much you should request in damages. It is your attorney's responsibility to help you build a case that explains to a judge or jury why you deserve the full amount of the damages you request. If your attorney is successful, a judge or jury will understand the impact of your PTSD. Most importantly, a judge or jury may award you full damages.
How Can I Show a Judge or Jury that I Am Dealing with PTSD Following an Auto Accident?You must provide a compelling argument to get a judge or jury to see your point of view in an auto accident case. This requires you to present a variety of evidence that supports your request for damages. You may also call upon medical professionals and other witnesses that can testify on your behalf. The evidence you present during your car accident trial can make or break your case. You can use medical records and other evidence to show a judge or jury the impact of your PTSD symptoms on your everyday life. By doing so, you can illustrate why a judge or jury should rule in your favor. Witnesses can help you further explain your side of the story in a car accident trial. They can give a judge or jury insights into how your PTSD symptoms have affected your mental well-being. On top of that, your witnesses can boost the credibility of your claims, to the point where it can be nearly impossible for a defendant to dispute them.
How Can I Get Started with a Car Accident Lawsuit and Pursue Damages for PTSD?The Shelly Leeke Law Firm has knowledgeable attorneys on staff that can help you win or settle your auto accident case. To learn more or request a free consultation, please contact us today.
What Are My Rights When Pulled Over by Police?
If you are pulled over by the police while driving, you must know your rights to protect yourself and avoid any unnecessary legal trouble. We encourage you to reach out to an attorney if you have any questions about your specific interaction with a law enforcement officer.
Do I Have to Pull Over Immediately When I See Police Lights?Yes. When you see police lights or hear a siren, you must pull over to the side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions except by providing your name and identification if requested. You may also be required to provide your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.
Detaining without Arresting - What HappensYes, the police can detain you briefly for investigative purposes, but they must have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed or are about to commit a crime. If the police have probable cause to believe you have committed a crime, they may arrest you without a warrant. Ask for a lawyer immediately and refrain from answering questions until your lawyer is present. The police are authorized to use force only if necessary to protect themselves or others from harm.
Can the Police Search My Vehicle without My Consent?Yes, if they have probable cause or a warrant. Probable cause is when the police believe that a crime has been committed or that evidence of a crime is in the vehicle. You should politely refuse the search and ask if you can leave. If the police have probable cause or a warrant, they may still search your vehicle. The police may search your trunk without your consent if they have probable cause to believe that it contains evidence of a crime or if they have a warrant.
Can the Police Search My Cell Phone During a Traffic Stop?The police may search your cell phone during a traffic stop if they have a warrant or if they have probable cause to believe that it contains evidence of a crime. However, recent court rulings have placed limits on the ability of police to search cell phones without a warrant.
Can the Police Use a Drug-Sniffing Dog During a Traffic Stop?Yes, the police may use a drug-sniffing dog during a traffic stop if they have probable cause to believe that drugs are in the vehicle. However, recent court rulings have limited the use of drug-sniffing dogs, and the police must have a valid reason for using the dog.
Can I Be Arrested for Refusing to Sign a Traffic Ticket?No. Refusing to sign a traffic ticket may result in the police officer arresting you, but you cannot be arrested solely for refusing to sign. It is generally advisable to sign the ticket to avoid any additional legal complications.
Can I Be Charged with a Crime for Not Wearing a Seatbelt During a Traffic Stop?Depending on the state, you may be fined for not wearing a seatbelt, but it is generally not a criminal offense. However, if the police officer discovers other violations during the traffic stop, you may be charged with additional offenses.
Can the Police Ask Me to Perform a Field Sobriety Test During a Traffic Stop?Yes, the police may ask you to perform a field sobriety test if they have probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, you can refuse the test, and there may be consequences.
Can the Police Ask Me to Consent to a Search of My Person During a Traffic Stop?Yes, the police may ask you to consent to a search of your person during a traffic stop. However, you have the right to refuse the search, and the police must have a valid reason to conduct the search, such as a probable cause or a warrant.
Can the Police Use Excessive Force During a Traffic Stop?No, the police are prohibited from using excessive force during a traffic stop or any other interaction with the public. If you believe the police used excessive force, you should document the incident and contact a lawyer immediately. The use of excessive force has been a major focus of media scrutiny over the last few years, but this has not alleviated the problem. Even with most officers required to use body cams, unwarranted force is still used regularly during traffic stops throughout South Carolina.
What to Do if My Rights Were Violated During a Traffic StopIf you believe that your rights were violated during a traffic stop, you should document as much information as possible, including the officer's name, badge number, and the location of the stop. You may also want to contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options. Contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm today for more help. Our team is ready to step in and investigate your case. We want to make sure your rights are upheld every step of the way, especially if you sustained an injury.
What Kinds of Damages Can You Demand in a Wrongful Death Case?
The sudden death of a loved one creates a chaotic aftermath as survivors grapple with emotional turmoil and face a financially insecure future. If you are facing these circumstances, a wrongful death settlement can restore some order and bring some peace to your family by recovering losses and putting your family’s financial future back on solid ground. To ensure you receive a fair and substantial settlement, trust your case to a skilled wrongful death lawyer from Shelly Leeke Law Firm.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?If a person is injured because of someone else’s intentional act or negligence, the victim can file a personal injury claim to collect compensation for accident-related damages. When a person dies under those circumstances, South Carolina allows the deceased victim’s survivors to file a wrongful death claim to recover the losses incurred by their loved one’s death. South Carolina Code §15-51-10 allows these claims “Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another and the act, neglect or default is such as would…have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages...” Filing a wrongful death claim is like filing a personal injury claim on behalf of the victim.
What Types of Acts Warrant a Wrongful Death Claim?Any event in which a person causes the death of another because of an intentional act of violence or an act of negligence may warrant a wrongful death claim. For example,
- Fatal car accidents that occur because of the at-fault party’s reckless or distracted driving
- Arguments that turn deadly when one party shoots the other
- Medical malpractice situations, when a doctor should have known better, but misdiagnoses and mistreats the victim
- Nursing home deaths caused by lack of care or outright abuse
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?Different states have their own eligibility requirements for wrongful death claimants. Under South Carolina Code 15-51-20, an executor, the administrator of the victim’s estate, holds eligibility. Executors are usually named in the deceased person’s will. If the victim did not have a will, or if the executor named does not want to or cannot fulfill this responsibility, the court can name someone else. While the executor is the one who pursues the wrongful death claim, collected damages belong to the victim’s surviving family members. In South Carolina, relatives eligible to collect damages include the victim’s:
- Surviving spouse and children
- Parents, if there is no surviving spouse or children
- Heir, if there are no surviving parents, spouse, or children
What Kinds of Damages Can You Demand in a Wrongful Death Case?There are three categories of damages you can pursue, depending on the circumstances of the case: Non-economic damages, economic damages, and punitive damages.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?Non-economic damages do not have a clear dollar value. They represent the emotional losses that followed your loved one’s death. In most wrongful death cases, non-economic damages include compensation for:
- The survivors’ emotional anguish incurred by the death of their loved one
- The loss of affection and emotional support the victim provided survivors. This loss is often phrased as “loss of consortium”
- The loss of experience, knowledge, and guidance
What Are Economic Damages?Economic damages are easier to calculate. They encompass the financial losses resulting from your loved one’s death. Typically, survivors see coverage for:
- Lost income or other financial support. This includes lost wages, future earnings, retirement, or other benefits
- Medical expenses incurred if the loved one survived the initial act of violence or accident, but later succumbed to the injuries. Your lawyer may file a “survival action” in this type of situation
- Funeral, burial, and other end-of-life expenses
What Are Punitive Damages?Where Non-economic and economic damages are compensatory, and “make up for” losses, punitive damages punish the at-fault party. Not every wrongful death case allows for the pursuit of punitive damages. In South Carolina, these damages can be awarded when it can be proved” by clear and convincing evidence” that the victim’s death resulted from “the defendant's wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct.” Simply stated, the at-fault party knew their actions, or lack of action, could lead to injury or death, but chose to act (or not act) anyway. Punitive damages are capped at greater than three times the amount of non-economic and economic damages awarded, or $500,000.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?In South Carolina, you have three years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. If you file after this deadline passes, your case will almost definitely be dismissed. Three years may seem like a long time, but the legal process often comes with complications. Secure representation from a wrongful death lawyer after your loved one’s death as soon as possible. This time will allow your attorney to investigate the circumstances of the death thoroughly, gather evidence to build a strong case, and deal with any complications that may arise long before the deadline approaches.
Are There Limits to the Settlement Amount You Can Collect?Generally speaking, there are no limits to what you can sue for in a wrongful death claim in South Carolina. However, if your case is against particular entities, such as charities or government offices, or is based on medical malpractice.
Should I Accept My First Workers’ Compensation Offer?
When you receive a settlement offer from the insurance company after filing a workers' compensation claim, you might be surprised and excited that the insurance company is willing to pay your claim quickly. However, you should be cautious when you receive this initial settlement offer from the insurer. Insurance companies are not on your side. They lose money every time they pay out on a claim. You might be surprised that the insurance company is attempting to settle for far less than your claim is worth. Instead, review the settlement offer with your workers' compensation attorney before making a decision.
You Should Never Accept a First Offer without Your AttorneyAccepting the insurance company's first offer is never a good idea. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind. Insurance companies have been known to use a variety of tactics to take advantage of those seeking the financial support they need to overcome. Although you may initially receive a fast offer from the insurance company, you should be cautious and skeptical. Although you may need access to this compensation now, you could be shocked to learn that the value of your claim is significantly more. For this reason, never accept a first offer from an insurance company. This settlement is unlikely to be enough to meet your needs fully, and there is no reason why you should not hold out for the total value of your claim.
Why Insurance Companies Make Fast OffersInsurance companies make fast offers for many reasons. However, the top reason is that they believe it will save them money. If the insurance company can tempt you into accepting a fast settlement offer, they may be able to reduce their financial losses. They know you need money quickly to escape financial ruin. The insurance company is also counting on the fact that you do not have any idea as to the actual value of your claim. By getting you to accept their offer, they can avoid having to pay out a fair settlement. Insurance companies make money by paying out less in claims than they bring in through insurance premiums. Therefore, the insurance company must do everything possible to reduce the amount they pay. If you receive a fast settlement offer from the insurance company, your best option is to hold off on accepting their offer until you can talk to your lawyer.
What to Expect During Workers’ Comp Insurance Claim NegotiationsThe workers' comp insurance claim negotiations process will likely be far more complex than expected. Insurance companies may attempt to trick you into settling for far less than your claim is worth. Not only do insurers attempt to reduce their payout by making insultingly low offers, but they also use a variety of other tactics to accomplish their financial goals. These tactics include:
- Blaming you for causing your injuries
- Saying your injury is not work-related
- Delaying the processing of your claim
- Arguing that you do not meet the workers' compensation eligibility requirements
Understanding the Value of Your DamagesUnder the law, you are entitled to specific types of workers' compensation benefits. These include the following:
Disability BenefitsDisability benefits describe the benefits you receive to replace a portion of your lost income. Although disability benefits will not replace the total value of your lost wages, they can help you stay afloat. At the same time, you can recuperate from your injuries and potentially move forward with a civil lawsuit against the liable party.
Healthcare CostsThe workers' compensation insurance provider should compensate you for every medical expense related to your work injuries. These might include ambulance bills, the cost of your hospital stay, and other types of medical expenses, including:
- Medical equipment and devices
- Costs of prescription drugs
- Home accommodation costs
- Diagnostic testing
- Ongoing physical therapy
- Ongoing mental health counseling
- Future medical expenses related to your work injury
Vocational RehabilitationVocational rehabilitation benefits are designed to provide financial support to those who have suffered work injuries so severe they will no longer be able to continue working. If you hope to re-enter the workforce, the insurance company can compensate you for the costs of returning to school or the job training needed to find gainful employment in another industry.
Death BenefitsDeath benefits may be available to the surviving family members of individuals who pass away from work-related injuries. These benefits often extend to the decedent's surviving spouse and children for the foreseeable future or until they reach the maximum number of weeks allowed.
What to Do When You Get a Workers’ Comp Settlement OfferWhen you initially receive your workers' compensation settlement offer, there are specific steps you can take to protect your compensation.
Have Your Workers’ Comp Lawyer Renegotiate Your SettlementEnsure your workers' compensation lawyer reviews the settlement offer from the insurance company. If your lawyer determines the settlement is insufficient, your attorney can prepare to renegotiate the settlement so you can obtain fair compensation for your damages.
Prepare to File an AppealIf the insurance company refuses to settle your claim fairly, your lawyer will be ready to proceed with a formal appeal. Generally, by providing the insurance company with the evidence and information they need to process your claim, we can avoid going forward with an appeal and instead get the insurance company to overturn or reverse their initial denial.
Bring the Insurance Company to CourtIf all else fails, and your lawyer determines that the insurance company is handling your claim in bad faith, we will be prepared to take legal action against them so you can access the workers' compensation benefits that are rightfully yours.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Help TodayDealing with the insurance company after a work-related injury can be challenging and overwhelming. The last thing you need is to be taken advantage of during one of the most trying times in your life. Fortunately, even though the insurance company may try to settle for as little as possible, your attorney will be there by your side every step to protect your workers' compensation benefits. Contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm to learn more about how much your workers' comp claim could be worse and whether your initial settlement is sufficient. Please complete our quick contact form or call our office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Does My Car Insurance Cover My Lawyer’s Legal Fees?
Your car insurance does not cover your attorney's legal fees after an auto accident. Instead, you are solely responsible for your lawyer's legal fees. However, sometimes an attorney works on contingency, which means you will not need to pay unless you win or settle your case. At The Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we understand all aspects of motor vehicle accident cases. We can answer any questions you have about whether your auto insurance covers your lawyer's legal fees and similar topics. Reach out to our law firm today.
Do I Need to Contact My Car Insurance Company After an Auto Accident?If you are involved in a car accident, you should contact your insurance company. This allows you to report the accident and provide details about any damages you incurred. From here, your insurance company can engage with the insurer of the driver responsible for your accident. Reaching out to your auto insurance company shortly after your accident is beneficial. As soon as your accident happens, make sure you and everyone else at the scene are OK. You should also call 911 so police officers and medical personnel can arrive on the scene to assist those in need. In the days after your accident, you should request an accident report from your local police department. This report details what happened during your accident. It can be used in a personal injury lawsuit against any at-fault parties in your case.
Do I Need to File a Lawsuit After My Car Accident?Your car insurance company can work with the at-fault driver's insurer to help you recover some damages. Yet, your auto insurance company only helps you get compensation for any vehicle-related damage. There may be other damages you suffer due to your accident, and your auto insurance company or the at-fault driver's may refuse to cover them. If you have a valid claim for damages, your attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit. If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, it pays to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. You can give the lawyer information about your accident, and the attorney can perform a full review of your case. Your attorney can explain any fees involved for their legal services. In some instances, a lawyer sets up contingency-fee agreements with their clients. With a contingency-fee agreement in place, you can focus on what is most important: working with your attorney to resolve your case.
What Is a Contingency-Fee Agreement?With a contingency-fee agreement, you agree to pay your attorney a certain percentage of your projected settlement. In exchange, your lawyer represents you during your auto accident lawsuit and does everything possible to help you secure the most damages possible. If you are not awarded any damages, you do not pay your lawyer any legal fees. A contingency fee agreement represents a great option for individuals who have limited resources available. If you are worried about the cost of hiring an attorney, your lawyer may offer a contingency-fee agreement. This allows you to receive legal representation and pay it off only if you win or settle your case. The lawyer is responsible for helping you throughout your case. If your attorney succeeds in helping you secure damages, only then do you pay your attorney for their legal services. In addition, an attorney takes 100% of the risk in a contingency fee agreement.
Do I Need to Pay Anything to Hire an Attorney for My Auto Accident Case?Many lawyers do not charge a fee for an initial consultation. During the consultation, you can share details about your auto accident with the lawyer. Meanwhile, the attorney asks questions and gets a complete rundown of your accident. If you and an attorney decide to work together, only then will you need to figure out a payment plan. You may be able to set up a contingency-fee agreement. Or, your attorney may request a retainer and bill you on an hourly basis. There is a filing fee of $150.00 for a new case in South Carolina. Also, there is a filing fee of $25.00 for any additional written motions. Your attorney can explain these fees in detail to you.
When Should I Hire an Attorney to Represent Me After a Car Accident?It is generally a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney within days of your auto accident. In South Carolina, you have up to three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. By filing your lawsuit right away, you can speed up the process of getting damages. Your attorney will work diligently to represent you at each stage of your litigation. To do so, your lawyer will collect evidence, look for witnesses to testify on your behalf, and help you prepare for your trial. If a defendant comes forward with a settlement, your attorney can review it with you and help you decide how to proceed. If you ever have legal concerns or questions for your attorney, you should share them. Your lawyer wants you to make informed decisions as you navigate the legal process. For those in need of extra help along the way, your attorney is available to provide assistance.
How Can I Find the Right Attorney for My Auto Accident Lawsuit?Meet with a car accident lawyer to find out if there is a good fit for both sides. The initial meeting allows you to learn about an attorney and their experience in auto accident cases. This meeting also enables a lawyer to learn about you and explain what they can offer. Consider how an attorney bills their clients as well. If you are concerned about the upfront cost of an attorney, you may want to hire one that provides contingency-fee agreements. On the other hand, if you prefer to pay a retainer and hourly rates, you can select an attorney that offers this option. At The Shelly Leeke Law Firm, our team is available to review your auto accident case. For more information or to request a free consultation, please get in touch with us today.
Do You Have a Product Liability Case?
You have a valid claim for compensatory damages if you are hurt due to a dangerous product. For example, you can buy a product and use it based on the instructions. If the product causes you any harm, you can sue the manufacturer as part of a product liability lawsuit. At Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we can review your product liability claim at any time. Reach out to a product liability attorney from our law firm today. When you do, we can help you decide if now is the right time to sue one or more at-fault parties due to a defective product.
How Product Liability Is Defined in South CarolinaA product manufacturer or seller is responsible for providing safe items. However, there can be times when a manufacturer or seller makes a mistake, resulting in defective products reaching consumers. If a consumer buys a faulty product and is hurt by it, this individual can seek damages in a product liability lawsuit. South Carolina has a law in place relating to product liability. State law indicates a product manufacturer, seller, or designer can be held responsible for injury or death due to a faulty product. If a product manufacturer, seller, or designer violates this law, they can be held financially responsible for any harm that they cause. A product liability attorney can help you identify any at-fault parties so you can pursue damages from them in a product liability case. The lawyer takes as much time as needed to review your claim. If you have a legitimate claim, the attorney will make sure your lawsuit is filed in alignment with South Carolina's statute of limitations.
How Much Time You Have to File a Product Liability Lawsuit in South CarolinaThere is a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases in South Carolina. If you suffer an injury due to a defective product in South Carolina, you have up to three years to file your lawsuit. Those who do not file their lawsuit in accordance with South Carolina's statute of limitations lose the opportunity to do so at a later time. If you suffer an injury as a result of a faulty product, it is in your best interests to consult with a product liability lawyer right away. The lawyer can answer any questions you have regarding product liability cases. Plus, the attorney can help you determine how much to request in damages in your product liability lawsuit. You can request economic and non-economic damages in a product liability case. Economic damages relate to lost wages, medical bills, and other objective losses you have incurred due to your injury. Non-economic damages can be awarded for pain, suffering, and other subjective losses.
What It Takes to Resolve a Product Liability CaseIt is your responsibility to present compelling evidence to support your request for damages in your product liability case. To do so, you may need to show any of the following:
- There was a breach of an implied warranty. If you use a product for its intended purpose but suffer an injury, you may be able to show that the manufacturer breached the implied warranty associated with the product.
- There was a breach of an express warranty. A product manufacturer may fail to live up to the warranty it offers, which can serve as the basis for a product liability lawsuit.
- The product's design was faulty. A product that has an unsafe design can inadvertently reach consumers, cause injuries, and result in product liability claims.
- There were no warnings about the product. If a product manufacturer does not provide instructions and warnings to indicate how to use a product correctly, it can be held accountable for any injuries that occur.
How Much Damages You Can Receive in a Product Liability LawsuitA product liability lawyer encourages their client to pursue the most damages possible. There are no restrictions on the economic and non-economic damages you can request in a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina. Your attorney can look at the costs you have incurred as a result of a defective product and ensure you request a reasonable amount in your lawsuit. If your product liability case goes to trial, a judge or jury determines how much compensation you will receive. A judge or jury reviews the facts of the case and the evidence provided by both you and the defendant. Then, a decision is made on whether you are awarded full or partial damages or no damages at all. In the best-case scenario, a judge or jury will find the defendant is 100% responsible for your injury. The judge or jury will award you full damages in this scenario. Yet, if you are found partly responsible for your injury, the judge or jury reduces the damages you are awarded based on your percentage of fault.
When to Hire a Product Liability LawyerIf you believe you have a strong case for a product liability lawsuit, meet with an attorney. You can provide the lawyer with details about your case. The attorney can share their concerns and questions with you and help you decide the best course of action. As you evaluate your legal options, it is important to consult with a product liability attorney that:
- Values client relationships
- Has plenty of experience with product liability cases
- Stays in constant contact with clients
Do I Have to Pay Taxes on a Workers’ Compensation Payout?
You may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits if you have suffered a workplace injury or illness. Workers' compensation is a system designed to provide benefits to workers injured on the job or suffering from work-related illnesses. These benefits typically cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related expenses. One of the questions that often arise for those who receive workers' compensation is whether they are required to pay taxes on their payouts. In this FAQ, we will discuss the tax implications of workers' compensation payouts and answer some common questions related to this topic.