A catastrophic injury is one that changes your life by affecting your physical and/or cognitive abilities to the extent that you cannot move through daily activities, work, or interact with others as you did prior to the injury. These new limitations can also affect the financial stability and future of you and your household. With legal representation from a Columbia personal injury lawyer from Shelly Leeke Law Firm, you can recover those financial losses, secure your household’s future, and receive compensation for the suffering you have endured.
Proving You Deserve a Settlement
An injury in itself is not enough to get you a settlement. To build a strong case for compensation, your catastrophic injury attorney in Columbia will show:
- How your accident and subsequent injury occurred
- Whose negligence caused the injury
- The consequences of those injuries, including medical treatment, ongoing care, and how your life overall has been affected
Proving negligence is essential to a successful case outcome. To be negligent, the at-fault party first had to owe you a duty of care, an obligation to maintain your safety. For example, every driver owes all other drivers on the shared road a duty of care.
To fulfill this duty, each driver must follow lawful driving procedures, honor traffic laws, and avoid unsafe practices to ensure the safety of other drivers. Business owners owe their workers and customers a duty of care and must maintain safe properties and environments to prevent accidents.
After establishing a duty of care, your Columbia catastrophic injury attorney must show how the at-fault party breached this duty, either through an action or failure to act. Then, your lawyer will show how this breach of duty, not something else, caused your accident.
For example, if you suffer from chronic neck pain, are rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident and your condition worsens, the at-fault party’s insurance company will likely try to argue that your pre-existing condition is the cause of your pain, not the accident. Your lawyer will consult with your doctors and other experts as needed, to prove the accident intensified your condition and its consequences. Next, your lawyer will show how the accident and your injuries have brought you measurable losses.
To you, the victim, the at-fault party’s negligence may seem completely straightforward. Even if it is, the at-fault party’s insurance adjusters or other representatives will do their best to muddy the waters by casting blame on you, questioning evidence, or disputing the effects your injuries have had on your life. Leave conversations with the at-fault party’s representatives in the capable hands of your catastrophic injury lawyer in Columbia, who will not be intimidated and whose goal is to get you the highest settlement possible.
Determining the Value of Your Case
A Columbia catastrophic injury attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to determine the value of your case and make you “whole” or restore you, to the extent possible, to your pre-accident situation.
Restoring Economic Losses
To make you economically whole, your attorney will seek coverage of your medical expenses and your future medical costs, taking your prognosis, anticipated complications, and input from your doctors and outside experts into consideration when determining an adequate amount.
Catastrophic injuries often prevent victims from working or from working as much as they did prior to their accidents. Your Columbia catastrophic injury attorney will factor in your lost wages and your lost future earnings when seeking coverage for your income loss.
If you have incurred additional expenses because of your injuries, perhaps because you have to make your living environment more accommodating to your reduced mobility or hire childcare help, your lawyer will be sure to pursue a financial award to cover these expenses.
Compensating Non-Economic Losses
It can be challenging to put a monetary amount on your pain, distress, and lost quality of life. Trust your attorney’s experience and thorough consideration of your experience to determine a fair amount.
For example, you may not be able to participate in recreational activities, attend many (or any) social events, drive your kids to activities, or interact with your kids, friends, and loved ones as you once did. Your injuries may leave you in chronic pain, creating a sense of hopelessness and an inability to enjoy even the small pleasures in life. Your lawyer will demand acknowledgment and compensation for those and other quality-of-life losses.
Pursuing Punitive Damages
Some catastrophic injury cases include the pursuit of punitive damages. Though delivered to victims as a financial award, punitive damages are not compensatory. They are not part of making the victim whole. Punitive damages serve to punish at-fault parties whose negligence and injury-causing behavior are especially appalling.
How South Carolina’s Laws Can Affect Your Settlement
South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state. State Code 15-38-15 establishes that victims seeking compensation must be less than 51% responsible for causing the accident that led to their injuries. If they are more than 50% responsible, they cannot collect a settlement.
If your level of fault allows you to pursue a claim, but you still hold some fault, the amount you collect is reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. Simply stated, if your total settlement amount is $100,000 and you are 10% at fault for the accident, you collect $90,000.
You can be sure the at-fault party’s representatives will work hard to inflate your percentage of fault. Your lawyer, however, will investigate your accident thoroughly and will have the evidence to prove those insurance companies wrong.
A Columbia Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Is Ready to Help
Experiencing a traumatic accident and sustaining a catastrophic injury will leave you with intense emotional distress and physical pain, and deep concerns for your future and your household’s financial security. A Columbia catastrophic injury lawyer from Shelly Leeke Law Firm is ready to help you collect a settlement to restore your financial stability and provide access to the ongoing medical care and other support you need. You can contact us at any time and on any day of the week for a free consultation.