You may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit when someone else has harmed you through their negligence or intentional actions. Perhaps someone injured you in a car crash, neglected to clean a spill, or physically assaulted you. No matter what happens, you should speak with a dedicated Greenville personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.
At Shelly Leeke Law Firm, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers have extensive experience evaluating these cases and helping our clients seek the compensation they deserve. If the person responsible committed a crime and is convicted, that does nothing to pay your bills as their victim. You need guidance in securing restitution for the pain, suffering, and damages you have experienced through a personal injury claim.
When you are ready to demand justice but are not sure where to begin, do not hesitate to contact our legal team. Schedule a 100% free consultation today. You can learn more about how much your personal injury lawsuit could be worth, how insurance claims work, and what to expect next from your case.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury is a very broad area of law. You may be able to file a personal injury case when you have been hurt while shopping, driving, engaging in your hobbies, or from a crime. In some instances, you may think there is nothing to be done.
However, you may find that someone is responsible for your injuries. Suppose you are walking to your car with your groceries, and there is a large pothole in the parking lot that you do not see when you accidentally step into it, falling to the ground and injuring your knee. It can likely be shown that the store owner failed to maintain the lot and contributed to your accident.
This is just one example of how a personal injury can occur. Your attorney must be able to show that someone else’s negligent actions were the cause of your injuries if you hope to recover the compensation you are entitled to. Here are some of the most common types of cases a personal injury lawyer in Greenville, SC, at Shelly Leeke Law Firm can handle:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents can include collisions involving many types of motorized vehicles. You may be traveling in a car or struck by a commercial truck. You may have been crossing the road as a pedestrian or bicyclist, or been hit by another vehicle while riding your motorcycle.
In many cases, car accidents are caused by negligent driving behaviors, such as drunk driving, drowsy driving, reckless driving, driving while fatigued, distracted driving, or any other type of traffic violation. Negligent drivers can be held accountable when you file a claim against their auto insurance policy or pursue a personal injury lawsuit against them in civil court. However, negligent drivers are not the only cause of motor vehicle accidents.
In instances where dangerous roads cause accidents, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), the city of Greenville, government-contracted road construction workers and contractors, and other third parties could be at fault. If defective motor vehicle parts contributed to your collision, you may have the right to take action against auto parts designers, distributors, manufacturers, maintenance workers, and even motor vehicle dealerships. You can rely on your personal injury lawyer to investigate the cause of your crash and establish liability so you can get the most out of your claim.
Defective Product Claims
Defective product claims occur when a product or item malfunctions or is defective, causing severe bodily injury or death to a consumer. Product liability claims are unique because nearly anyone involved in the chain of distribution of these items can be sued. Some examples of defective products our clients have been injured by include:
- Contaminated food
- Medical devices
- Prescription drugs
- Baby gear and children’s toys
- Motor vehicle parts
Premises Liability Accidents
Premises liability accidents can happen on any property that is not yours. When property owners fail to ensure their premises are safe and hazard-free or that dangerous conditions are properly marked as such, they can be held accountable for victims’ injuries. Some of the most common types of premises liability accidents our personal injury team handles include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Negligent security
- Trampoline accidents
- Supermarket accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Escalator and elevator accidents
- Stair and ladder accidents
- Wet floor accidents
- Snow and ice accidents
- Lack of proper maintenance
- Parking lot accidents
- Hotel and resort accidents
Animal Attacks and Dog Bites
Animal attacks and dog bites are considered a type of premises liability case. Dog owners are expected to maintain control of their animals at all times. Failing to do so is tantamount to negligence, and the dog owner can be held accountable accordingly.
However, dog owners may attempt to avoid liability by arguing the victim was trespassing on their property or provoked the dog into acting aggressively. South Carolina is a strict liability state for dog bites. Your personal injury attorney will work tirelessly to build a powerful claim against the dog’s owner and present valuable evidence to support your case.
Nursing Home Abuse and Medical Malpractice
Nursing home abuse and medical malpractice are often preventable. You should be able to trust that your healthcare providers or individuals responsible for taking care of your relatives have the skills, training, experience, and knowledge to do their jobs correctly. Nursing home abuse cannot only be physical but financial, sexual, emotional, psychological, and even include neglect.
Medical malpractice can include any type of medical mistake that violates the medical standard of care. Unfortunately, when medical professionals make mistakes or engage in misconduct, victims can suffer considerably.
Some of the most common types of medical malpractice cases we take on at Shelly Leeke Law Firm include:
- Surgical errors
- Defective medical devices
- Prescription drug mistakes
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Failure to treat
- Failure to provide follow-up care
If you are physically assaulted, not only could the liable party be facing criminal charges, but you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against them and seek total financial compensation for your suffering. Your personal injury attorney in Greenville, SC, will conduct a thorough investigation to ensure all involved parties are brought to justice. Some examples of physical assault cases could include:
- Sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Nightclub assault
- Rideshare sexual assault
Construction Accidents and Work Injuries
Work-related injuries and construction accidents can be life-changing. You may have the right to workers’ compensation benefits and compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. If your workers’ comp application is approved, you may be able to collect disability benefits, get your medical expenses covered, and qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits.
However, you may not always be able to pursue a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation lawsuit unless someone else’s negligence contributed to your construction accident or on-the-job injuries. Your personal injury lawyer will evaluate the details of your case and be prepared to go up against insurance companies that handle your claim in bad faith. You can learn more about whether you have grounds for a personal injury or workers comp claim when you speak with a reputable Greenville personal injury attorney.
Potential Value of a Personal Injury Claim
If you are wondering whether you should pursue a personal injury claim, you might reconsider after speaking with a legal professional. They will ask questions to understand what happened and to develop a list of potential damages. Damages are the costs, both tangible and intangible, that you suffer from your injuries.
By producing a record of your medical and other bills and keeping a journal of your pain and recovery process, you can support your request for compensation. Your attorney will also gather statements from your friends and family members and other types of valuable evidence that can prove the extent to which your injuries have affected your life. We will also need to consider the impact your accident and resulting injuries may have on your life in the future.
You have the right to compensation for compensatory damages. These can include a combination of economic and non-economic damages. These can consist of one or more of the following losses:
Economic damages describe every monetary loss associated with the accident you were involved in and your subsequent injuries. They are easy to calculate because they have fixed financial values. Some examples of recoverable economic damages could include:
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning potential
- Loss of employer-provided benefits
- Hospital bills for the ER, ICU, and surgeries
- Prescription medications
- Medical or mobility devices
- Future medical treatment
- Bills for In-home nursing care or a nursing facility
- Damage to your credit score
- Vehicle repair expenses
- Personal property damages
- Increases to your insurance premiums
- Unexpected childcare expenses
- Household maintenance costs
Non-economic damages could be more challenging. Their impact is often far greater than economic losses, so non-economic damages should be considered accordingly, despite the fact that they do not have a monetary value until one is assigned by your attorney. Some of the most common types of non-economic damages Greenville personal injury victims can recover include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium with your partner or spouse
- Fear, shock, and anticipation
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD
- Emotional trauma and distress
- Embarrassment and indignity
- Diminished quality of life
- Damage to your personal or professional reputations
Depending on the injury and how severely it affects your life, the potential value of a personal injury claim could reach millions of dollars or more. If you have been permanently disabled and can no longer work or care for yourself, your compensation must take this into account. At Shelly Leeke Law Firm, you will work with a personal injury lawyer in Greenville who aggressively pursues the financial relief you will need to fully recover and live your life comfortably.
Punitive damages may also be possible in Greenville personal injury claims. According to South Carolina Code §15-32-530, punitive damages can only be awarded when the court system finds it appropriate to punish the liable party. At-fault parties must have demonstrated behavior that could be considered reprehensible, intentionally harmful, willfully malicious, or grossly negligent.
However, punitive damages are not a type of compensatory loss. This means you are not entitled to punitive damages. A punitive damages award could radically increase the amount of your settlement but will only be awarded if the jury or judge presiding over your case believes a punitive damages award could best serve the community and prevent similar acts of negligence from occurring in the future.
Workers Compensation Claims vs. Personal Injury Claims
In South Carolina, any business with four or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance for when you are hurt or become sick from a work-related cause. In most cases, this insurance will pay enough to cover your medical expenses and your lost wages.
However, if someone else is responsible for causing the accident, you may have the right to pursue an individual insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
It should be noted that if you are collecting workers compensation benefits, you may not be able to file a personal injury suit against your employer. For this reason, we will be scrutinizing the evidence in your case to determine whether another third party contributed to your accident. This way, you cannot only receive workers’ compensation benefits but total financial compensation for your damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Regardless of which avenue you want to follow, you will benefit from the legal guidance of a personal injury lawyer with Shelly Leeke Law Firm. Insurance will only compensate you for certain types of economic damages, such as medical bills and property losses. A personal injury lawsuit can potentially provide compensation for the non-economic damages workers’ comp does not cover, such as emotional distress.
What to Do After Suffering a Personal Injury
When you have been hurt, you can begin protecting your right to seek compensation immediately. These initial steps may increase your odds of recovering the compensation you are entitled to. Some useful recommendations include:
- Document your damages – Take photos of your injuries, property damage, accident scene, clothing, weather, road conditions, and anything else that may tell your story.
- Do not apologize – The moment you say “I am sorry,” you are potentially admitting fault. A defendant’s lawyer or insurance company will use this to show you share the blame.
- Do not minimize your injuries – Accept medical help from first responders. Do not tell anyone, “I am fine.” You must also follow up with your doctor and follow all their orders.
- Only share contact and insurance information – Avoid small talk after the accident. Be careful of discussing what happened with law enforcement to avoid seeming to admit guilt.
- Speak with a lawyer immediately – You need to understand your options and whether you share any responsibility for what happened.
- Do not speak with insurance representatives alone – Your lawyer will negotiate with them to protect your rights.
- Do not speak to anyone else about your accident – Avoid telling family members or friends details. Do not post anything on social media or speak with anyone who would. Everything you say can potentially be held against you.
The sooner you get a personal injury attorney working for you, the better. We can help you understand what your next steps should be and protect you from being taken advantage of during some of the most difficult times in your life. Let us work on building a compelling case against the at-fault party while you focus on recuperating.
File Your Greenville Personal Injury Claim Before the Statute of Limitations Expires
When you have decided to file a claim, you must act quickly. Although the lawyers at our firm are knowledgeable and experienced, putting together a solid case takes time. The statute of limitations in South Carolina is only three years from the date of your injury under South Carolina Code §15-3-20.
If you wait too long, you could lose the chance to sue for the compensation you need. You also need to consider the amount of time you have to file a claim with the insurance company. Some insurance companies limit claim filing deadlines to his view as 48 hours after the accident.
If these deadlines are not met, the court system and insurance company will prevent you from accessing the award you would have otherwise been entitled to. Fortunately, your personal injury attorney will work diligently to ensure these deadlines are met. This way, you do not have to worry that the statute of limitations will prevent you from recovering the compensation that is rightfully yours.
Valuable Evidence to Support Your Case
The burden of proof in personal injury claims is based on a preponderance of the evidence. Your attorney will coordinate gathering evidence with many experts and rely on you to provide additional documentation. Some examples could include:
- Photos and video from the scene
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Accident investigation reports
- Driving records
- Store cleaning records
- Commercial truck inspection and maintenance records
- Cell phone records
- Employee histories
You can use the evidence to include multiple parties in your lawsuit, including companies that handle maintenance, security, manufacturing, and cleaning. You can even sue government agencies if their actions contributed to your harm. Our investigation and the evidence we obtain will reveal the identities of anyone and everyone who may share responsibility for your injuries and damages.
The Elements of Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Collecting valuable evidence and information will support your claims of negligence, liability, and damages. When a person is negligent, they have breached a duty of care they owed you, which caused you to suffer injuries as a direct result of their failure and incurred expenses. Proving this is required to secure compensation for what you have endured.
Personal Injury Laws Impacting Your Greenville Settlement
Multiple South Carolina personal injury laws could influence the outcome of your insurance claim and civil lawsuit. It is important to understand how these laws work so you can prepare accordingly. Your injury attorney has in-depth knowledge and experience of these laws and will have insight into how your case may be affected.
For example, South Carolina follows fault-based insurance laws. This means when you were involved in an accident, you file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy instead of filing a claim with your personal insurance provider. This also means your damages may be limited to what types and amounts of coverage the liable party has purchased.
For this reason, you should prepare to go to trial. Your personal injury attorney may be able to settle your case outside of court with the insurance company or liable party. However, when insurance is insufficient, or the liable party lacks insurance coverage, going to trial may be your best option.
Shared Fault in Greenville Personal Injury Claims
You also need to understand how shared fault laws work. Capitalizing on the state’s shared liability laws is one of the most common ways at-fault parties attempt to avoid liability. Here is how it works:
- The liable party accuses you of sharing responsibility for the accident or your resulting injuries.
- South Carolina follows modified comparative negligence laws at a 50% threshold.
- If your portion of fault is greater than 50%, you will no longer have the right to compensation for your damages.
- If your portion of liability is less than the bar limit, you can still receive a personal injury award.
You should expect your settlement to be reduced proportionately if you are partially responsible for the accident you were involved in. Your attorney will be responsible for ensuring a fault is assessed accurately so you are not taken advantage of by negligent parties.
Speak to a Greenville Personal Injury Attorney Today
You do not have to go it alone when you have been hurt by someone else’s carelessness or malicious acts. Shelly Leeke Law Firm stands ready to provide experienced, reputable assistance from a Greenville personal injury attorney. We work tirelessly to secure the justice and compensation you deserve.
Are you ready to regain control of your life? Are you unsure of where to begin? Connect with our committed personal injury team at Shelly Leeke Law Firm.
Our firm is proud to offer 100% free, no-obligation consultations to entries at times throughout Greenville, North Charleston, Walterboro, Myrtle Beach, and the entire state of South Carolina. Take advantage of this opportunity. Fill out our online contact form or call our office to get started as soon as today.