Frequently Asked Questions About SC Personal Injury Lawsuits
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim? What if the driver who hit me is uninsured? Why do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer?
We answer these questions and many more in our collection of frequently asked questions. Unlike many websites that provide brief yes-or-no answers to important legal questions like these, we provide detailed answers to help you get a better idea of your rights, your options, and what you can hope for in the future.
If your questions are not answered here, feel free to connect with us through our website, or call us at 843-488-5360, to speak directly with us about your legal concerns.
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How long do I have to file a Myrtle Beach car accident claim?
After a car accident, most injury victims hope their claim will be resolved quickly and successfully. Often, this is true, and victims are able to move forward and get back to their regular lives. However, in some cases, accident victims must file a legal claim in order to obtain the compensation they need and deserve after a crash. While South Carolina law provides the right to file these claims, it also specifies a time limit to do so. This is known as the statute of limitations.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations prescribes a specific amount of time in which a victim can pursue a legal claim against the responsible party of an accident. In South Carolina, victims have three years to file a claim. After this time period has passed, a court will likely dismiss the claim, and the victim will not be able to obtain any compensation.
For car accidents, the clock on the statute of limitations starts ticking on the day of the accident for claims related to injuries and property. If someone was killed as a result of the accident, the time period to file a wrongful death case begins on the day of the death, which may not necessarily be the day of the accident.
Statute of Limitations Applies to South Carolina Legal Claims
It’s important to note that these rules pertain to legal action taken through the state system, not private auto insurance. If an accident victim needs to utilize his own insurance or that of the at-fault driver, it typically needs to be done fairly soon after the accident. Often, insurance companies expect to hear about an accident within days.
Filing a Myrtle Beach Car Accident Injury Claim
While three years may seem like plenty of time to file a legal claim, it’s best to be prepared and get started as soon as possible. Accident victims may assume their claim will be resolved quickly through insurance and, in doing so, lose valuable preparation time. An effective injury claim needs to be investigated and examined. Information and documents need to be gathered from a variety of sources, and legal paperwork must be carefully completed. This can all take time.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident, it’s best to seek the advice of an injury attorney as soon as possible. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a claim or expect insurance to take care of things, an experienced attorney can make sure all your rights are protected. Compensation after a crash can be critical for medical care and lost wages, so don’t leave your future to chance. Have a conversation with an attorney who can help you fully understand your situation. The lawyers at The Derrick Law Firm offer free, no-obligation consultations to help accident victims get started with these important decisions. Call our Myrtle Beach office at 843.488.3165 today.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Myrtle Beach?
After a loved one dies unexpectedly, families need time to grieve and process their loss. The days, weeks, and months after the accident are often overwhelming, and it’s understandable that family members may not be ready to consider filing a legal claim.
However, many families want justice and to hold the person responsible for the death accountable. To do so, it is necessary to take action as soon as possible. The state of South Carolina has specific rules about how much time surviving family members have to file a wrongful death claim, known as the statute of limitations.
Understanding South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations sets the amount of time accident victims have to file a legal claim, with different types of cases allowed varying amounts of time. For those in Myrtle Beach, the law allows three years from the date of the death to file a claim. After this time, the court will not allow the claim and families may be left with no recourse.
In certain rare situations, however, it is possible that the time limits would be extended. This is referred to as tolling the statute of limitations. For example, it could be the case that family members were not made aware of the cause of death or did not discover the involvement of another person until a significant amount of time had passed.
Families Need Time to Prepare a Claim
It’s important to get started as soon as possible when surviving family members are considering pursuing a wrongful death claim. While three years may seem like plenty of time, there are many factors to consider. It will be necessary to:
- Investigate the accident
- Obtain a police report
- Talk to witnesses
- Gather supporting documents
- Determine the value of the case
- Fill out legal forms
- File forms with the court by specific deadlines
This process can take time, and no family needs the additional stress the statute of limitations running out. When a loved one dies, family members deserve justice and compensation to help them address their changing needs.
Has Your Loved One Died To The Negligence Of Others?
If you're loved one has died due someone else's negligence you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina office directly at 843-488-5360 to schedule a free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.
Can I receive both workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits in Myrtle Beach?
Work injuries can take a wide variety of forms. Some involve simple medical treatment with no missed work, while others require extensive medical care and long periods during which the employee is unable to work.
In South Carolina, assistance programs available to individuals who are not working include both workers’ compensation and unemployment. Injured workers may wonder if it’s possible to obtain compensation from both programs in South Carolina.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Unemployment Benefits
First, it’s important to understand the difference between these two entities. While both provide compensation for those out of work, they do have some key variations.
- Workers’ compensation provides compensation for medical care and lost wages to employees who suffer an injury on or related to their job.
- Unemployment benefits are, in general, available to those who lose their job through no fault of their own, are available to work, and are actively seeking new employment.
These definitions indicate that it is not possible to receive both types of compensation. A worker can pursue workers’ compensation benefits when his injury prevents him from working and making a wage, while one of the requirements for unemployment benefits states that the person is able to work and actively looking for employment.
If a person were to receive compensation from both entities, they would be telling opposite stories—claiming to workers’ compensation that they are injured and physically unable to work, while at the same time asserting to the unemployment office that they are capable and available to work.
When Benefits Systems Work Together in Myrtle Beach
Although you generally can’t collect from both programs at the same time, there are more complicated situations in which it is possible to utilize both the workers’ compensation and unemployment systems. This is rare, though it does happen.
For example, there are cases in which a worker is partially and permanently injured on the job. When he recovers as fully as possible, he may no longer be able to return to his old job given his new physical limitations. While he is seeking a new job appropriate for his current skills and capabilities, he may then be eligible for unemployment benefits.
We Can Help You Protect Your Right to Compensation
In any situation, state laws are typically strict when it comes to benefit and compensation programs, so it’s very important to fully understand your rights and responsibilities. If you are unsure of how to proceed after a work injury, it’s a good idea to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
At The Derrick Law Firm, our legal team has helped many injured workers obtain the compensation they deserve. Call or Myrtle Beach office at 843.488.3165 or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about what we do and how we may be able to help. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.
Should I give a recorded statement to an insurance company after a Myrtle Beach truck accident?
After a truck accident, you’re likely to hear from the carrier’s insurance company pretty quickly. An insurance adjuster will probably call, and he will be friendly and understanding of your situation. This does not mean, however, that he has your best interests at heart.
At the end of the day, insurance companies are businesses. They are out to save themselves as much money as possible. So, it’s important to be wary when talking to adjusters or any insurance company representative. They will try many tactics to gain leverage that will reduce your compensation.
Recorded Statements Are a Bad Idea After a Myrtle Beach Truck Accident
One common approach adjusters use is to convince an accident victim to provide a recorded statement. While the adjuster may present the request as simple and harmless, it can have devastating consequences for an injury claim.
During the recorded statement, the adjuster for the at-fault driver will try to gain as much information from the victim as possible and search for information that can later be used to minimize the claim. While an accident victim is not a criminal and is not under arrest, what they say can and will be used against them in negotiations.
While those who are injured may need to cooperate to provide basic information to an insurance company, they are under no obligation to provide a recorded statement. If an insurance adjuster is pressuring you to record a statement, simply refuse. It’s best to delay the request and consult an attorney.
We Can Help When Insurance Companies Call About Your Myrtle Beach Accident
Dealing with the pressure from an insurance company can be stressful when you are already worried about your injuries, missed work, family responsibilities, and more. It’s understandable that many victims fall prey to this common insurance company tactic. Most injury victims have little experience in this type of situation, and they may not have a full understanding of their rights.
This is when an injury attorney can help. An experienced lawyer can explain your rights and responsibilities clearly, identify insurance company tactics, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
The lawyers at Derrick Law Firm have helped many victims who have been where you are, and we may be able to help you, too. Take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page or call our Myrtle Beach office at 843.488.3165 to learn more about who we are and what we do. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.
Can I afford an attorney for injuries I received in a Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident?
More than 2,000 people were injured or killed in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina in 2017. It’s been well documented that motorcycle accidents are particularly dangerous, and those involved are more likely to suffer injuries than those in passenger vehicles. This also means that after a motorcycle accident, it’s likely that victims will require serious medical treatment and may miss a significant amount of work.
The compensation provided by a successful accident claim offers significant financial support for bikers and their families. That’s why many accident victims hire an attorney to help protect them after a crash. It’s important to understand that legal representation is not only critical in these types of claims, it’s also affordable.
Helpful Fee Agreements for Myrtle Beach Motorcyclists
At The Derrick Law Firm, our attorneys understand that accident victims are already under a significant amount of physical, emotional, and financial stress. That’s why we offer a fee agreement that can help victims and their families obtain the representation they need.
Our lawyers work with motorcyclists on a contingency fee basis—an arrangement where the client only pays for the attorney’s work if the claim is successful. The lawyer will take a certain percentage of the compensation award, and the attorney and client agree on this percentage from the start of their working relationship. After a successful claim, the insurance company pays the attorney, who takes his fee, and then passes the remaining compensation on to the accident victim. If the case is not successful, the client does not have to pay attorney’s fees. However, the injury victim may be responsible for minimal costs such as filing fees, document fees, and costs for obtaining/deposing witnesses.
Reach Out for a Free Consultation With a Myrtle Beach Lawyer
At The Derrick Law Firm, our attorneys offer a free case review, where we examine the details of your case, provide information, and help you decide how to best move forward after a motorcycle accident. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident due to another driver’s negligence, you can afford experienced representation. Call our Myrtle Beach office, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to speak with a member of our team.
I was injured in a Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident. Should I sign a medical release form for the other driver's insurance company?
You were enjoying a cruise up Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach when a car turned off a side street right in front of you. There was no way you could avoid colliding with the car and being thrown off your bike. You know the crash was not your fault, but in the days afterward, you aren’t sure what you should do. The motorcycle accident lawyers at the Derrick Law Firm have two pieces of advice: Don’t sign anything, and call an attorney!
Why a Myrtle Beach Insurance Agent Will Want You to Sign a Medical Release
Even if the other driver’s fault in causing your injuries is clear, his or her insurance company will do whatever it can to reduce or reject your claim for compensation. Their first move may be to ask you to sign a medical release form. The insurance adjuster will tell you that this will allow them to access your medical records so that they can pay you what you are owed. However, they are actually looking for a reason to deny your claim. Some of the things they will scour your medical records for include:
- Apparent contradictions to statements you have already made about your injuries or medical treatment.
- Evidence of a similar injury in the past so that they can claim your current injury was not caused by the accident.
- Indications that you have been in a motorcycle crash before so they can throw doubt on your innocence.
- Any history of alcohol or drug abuse that they can use to undermine your character.
- A medical condition such as sleep apnea or prescription medication that they will say contributed to the cause of the crash.
Your past medical history is none of the insurance company’s business, but once you sign a medical release, they will be able to access all of it to try to reduce the liability of their insured driver. This is why it is so important not to sign a medical release until you have talked to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
Our Myrtle Beach Motorcycle Accident Team Will Take Over From Here
Once you talk to the motorcycle accident attorneys at the Derrick Law Firm, we will take over communication with the insurance company for the at-fault driver. To get you the settlement you deserve, we will need to present medical records, but they will be the records we determine to be relevant to your claim, not your entire medical history. Motorcycle accident claims are not like car accident claims, so you need a lawyer with the right kind of experience. Call us to schedule a free consultation in our Myrtle Beach office today at 843.488.3165. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.
The insurance company won't pay enough to settle my Myrtle Beach accident claim. What can I do?
Even though you have paid your premiums and have a legitimate claim after a Myrtle Beach accident, your insurance company will try a variety of tactics to deny your claim. Even if they do approve your claim, they may not offer what you deserve. Before you accept an unfair offer from your insurance company, find out what you can do to get a better settlement.
Tips for Increasing the Value of Your Myrtle Beach Accident Claim
The fewer reasons your insurance company has to reject or reduce the value of the claim, the more likely you are to get a fair settlement offer. You can make sure you are submitting a strong claim by taking the following steps immediately after the accident:
- Call the police
- Take pictures of the scene
- Get contact information from others involved in the accident
- Get prompt medical care
- Contact your insurance company right away
These actions will ensure you have the evidence you need to convince the insurance company that you were seriously injured in the accident and that the accident was not your fault. If time has passed since the accident and you were unable to do these things, you may still be able to get a fair settlement by working with an experienced accident attorney.
Call The Derrick Law Firm for Help With a Myrtle Beach Insurance Claim
If you have filed a legitimate claim with your insurance company and they make a low settlement offer, they may be acting in bad faith. Wherever you are in the claims process, the accident attorneys at The Derrick Law Firm in Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach can step in and help you get the settlement you deserve. Whether it involves negotiating a fair offer or filing a bad faith insurance claim, our attorneys will do what it takes to get you the insurance settlement you deserve. Call our Myrtle Beach office at 843.488.3165 or fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch with us today. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.
How do I choose a Myrtle Beach car accident attorney?
You were seriously injured in a car accident in Myrtle Beach, and you want to make sure you get the compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You know that the best way to do that is to work with a personal injury lawyer, but with so many options, how do you choose? We offer this helpful guide.
Choosing a Myrtle Beach Personal Injury Attorney
You have a lot of options when choosing a personal injury attorney in the Myrtle Beach area, so how do you narrow down your choices? We think you should focus on these key areas:
You don’t want to be a lawyer’s first car accident case. Look for a firm that has been in business for a long time and has successfully resolved hundreds of cases like yours.
Investigating a car crash and negotiating with an insurance company require time and attention. You want a law firm with the resources to conduct a thorough investigation and with connections to the local insurance and legal communities.
If your crash happened in Myrtle Beach, you want a lawyer who knows Myrtle Beach. Firms across South Carolina will be willing to take your case, but a local lawyer can offer advantages that out-of-towners can’t.
You must be able to communicate freely with your legal team and to trust them to do what’s best for you. Finding a law firm that offers a free initial consultation will give you the opportunity to meet the attorneys with no obligation to hire them and decide if they are a good fit for you.
It is important that you take the time to find the right law firm for you, rather than calling the first lawyer you come across. It can make all the difference in the amount of compensation you will get.
Start With The Derrick Law Firm in Myrtle Beach
With nearly 30 years of practicing personal injury law in Myrtle Beach, founding attorney Dirk Derrick offers unmatched experience in South Carolina. He and his team are committed to their clients’ success and will do whatever it takes to get the outcome you deserve. Call our Myrtle Beach office at 843.488.3165 to schedule your free initial consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.
Should I accept the insurance company's offer to settle without an attorney?
An insurance adjuster may make you an offer on your personal injury claim and tell you that you don't need an attorney. But, it is important to remember who the adjuster works for and that they may not have your best interests at heart. Their goal is to settle a case for the least amount of money possible. They may offer you an amount that is far lower than what you may receive by hiring a lawyer.
Whether you choose The Derrick Law Firm or not, it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting any offer, or signing any paperwork, from the insurance company.
If you wish to speak with an attorney at The Derrick Law Firm, call for a free case review at 843-488-5360.
How much is my personal injury case worth?
Many clients ask how much their personal injury case is worth before anything else. This is one of the most commonly asked questions but also one of the most difficult to answer without taking a look at all the evidence of the case.
Each case is different and a value cannot be decided without knowing all the details of your medical records and bills, the facts concerning the accident itself, and even any potential punitive damages.
There are three types of compensation a client with a personal injury might receive:
- Economic damages include medical bills and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages include pain and suffering as well as loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages occur in circumstances where the at-fault party exhibits gross negligence and/or recklessness and are meant to "punish" and deter an at-fault party from engaging or allowing the damaging behavior to occur again.
If you are hurt by the actions of another in South Carolina, you may have a personal injury claim and need an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to protect your rights. The Derrick Law Firm will review your case for free and make sure you get the benefits you need. Call today at 843-488-5360.