You were seriously injured in an accident that wasn't your fault. What do you do now?
If your injuries required medical attention and you have suffered financial losses because of the accident, you could have a claim for damages from the person who caused the car accident, slip and fall, or assault. This is what's known as a personal injury claim, and our Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer would be happy to hear your story, evaluate your claim, and help with the legal process to get you the compensation you deserve. Our law firm takes personal injury cases throughout South Carolina, including the Myrtle Beach area.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury claim is a legal right a victim has if he or she is injured by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another. These claims arise from a number of circumstances, including the following:
- Car wrecks
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrians or bike riders being struck by a vehicle
- Jet ski and boat accidents
- Slip and fall
- Intentional assaults or actions that lead to injuries or death
In South Carolina, negligence is defined as "the absence of due care or ordinary care. It is the failure to exercise due care as a person of ordinary reason and prudence would exercise in the same circumstances." Recklessness means "the conscious failure to exercise and observe reasonable or due care. Recklessness implies the doing of a negligent act knowingly."
Do I Have a Personal Injury Case After a Myrtle Beach Accident?
Not every accident leads to a personal injury claim. In order to be a valid personal injury claim, the accident must involve:
1. A person who has been injured
2. A person whose negligence caused the injury
Minor injuries like cuts and bruises are not typically cause for a personal injury claim. However, serious injuries such as spinal cord injuries, head trauma, and broken bones are all likely to cause substantial medical bills from treatment and recovery. Damages resulting from an accident include medical bills, lost wages from inability to work, and pain and suffering.
When you are considering filing a personal injury claim and are unsure whether you have a valid claim, you should contact our Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer. Once you have provided us with the details of your accident, we can help you determine how to move forward.
Will My Personal Injury Claim Go to Court?
Many injury claims are settled before they ever reach the inside of a courtroom. Some insurance companies are often prepared to resolve the claim and move on to avoid costly, time-consuming litigation. A settlement is an agreement between the injured and the insurance company whereby the company agrees to provide a specific amount of compensation to the injured. In return, the injured cannot pursue any further legal action related to the accident or injury. Settlement agreements are very common, as they give both sides the ability to move forward as soon as possible.
However, while a settlement agreement can be a good option, it's not always beneficial for the injured party, and not every insurer is willing to pay out in good faith. When an insurer refuses to pay fair compensation, an experienced injury attorney can help. Many injury victims have little or no experience with the law or insurance negotiations, so the information and guidance provided by an attorney can be vital.
How Our Myrtle Beach Personal Injury Lawyers Will Help Settle Your Injury Claim
Insurance companies are businesses that want to protect their bottom lines, so insurance adjusters will do whatever they can to save their employers money and pay out as little compensation as possible. But for victims and their families in South Carolina, this compensation is usually critical for medical care, wage replacement, home and vehicle modifications, and ensuring a successful future. Once a settlement has been signed, it is not typically possible to revisit the claim. So, it's extremely important to negotiate an appropriate settlement right from the start. An attorney can help settle a claim as effectively as possible by:
Valuing the Personal Injury Claim
One common tactic of insurance companies is to quickly offer injury victims much less than they deserve and to pressure them into taking the settlement. An experienced attorney can identify this trick and provide injury victims with an accurate assessment of what the claim is worth. This will ensure that victims have adequate compensation to address their injuries, both now and in the future.
Providing Evidence of Injury
An insurer is more likely to provide a fair settlement when faced with strong, comprehensive evidence of the injuries sustained, as well as the physical and emotional impact of those injuries on the victim. An attorney can help provide medical records, witness statements, and professional opinions to support the claim.
Providing Evidence of Liability
Insurance companies are known for making any attempt to pass the blame for the injury onto another party. An experienced attorney will investigate the incident and offer clear evidence of responsibility, including police reports, physical evidence, and witness statements.
Many insurance companies hope that injury victims will simply accept any settlement offer at face value. Effective attorneys know that settlements can be negotiated, and they can act as fierce advocates for an injury victim's rights.
Protecting the Settlement
When an agreement has been reached, an attorney will ensure that the insurer provides compensation in a timely manner. In addition, a lawyer can help protect the victim's interests from other parties who may seek to claim a piece of the settlement, including care providers and other insurance companies.
What If My Lawyer Can't Reach a Settlement Agreement?
Most of the time, a personal injury claim can be resolved without the need to go to court for a trial. If the insurer denies your claim or refuses to offer you a fair settlement, you may need to file suit.
Even in the early stages, when you file a personal injury claim with your insurance company, you should consult with an attorney to help build your case. The more familiar your attorney is with your case from the start, the more they can help prepare your case for a personal injury lawsuit. Additionally, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you avoid costly mistakes.
When you find it necessary to take your claim to court, your case will be heard by a judge and jury to determine if you are entitled to compensation. This is often the only option for victims whose insurance companies wrongfully deny their injury claim or refuse to offer a fair settlement amount to compensate for their damages.
When choosing a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, make sure you ask them about their attitude when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit, their trial experience, and the potential need to take your claim to trial.
What Will a Personal Injury Attorney Actually Do to Help My Case?
While every case is different and trial lawyers come into the case at different times after a personal injury has occurred, a personal injury trial attorney will be experienced in and capable of doing the following if necessary:
- Initial interview with the client to obtain facts concerning the accident and the injuries.
- Educate the client about the process.
- Obtain the police report and special investigative reports that were performed regarding the accident.
- Obtain medical records and bills from doctors the client has seen.
- Contact and interview any potential witnesses disclosed by the client, the accident report, or any other additional witnesses.
- Get a copy of the client's insurance policy and determine the amount of coverage applicable to the wreck.
- Obtain photographs of the accident scene and vehicles.
- Talk to the client's physicians in order to answer necessary legal questions to make their opinions admissible in court.
- Obtain the client's lost wage information and salary verification from his or her employer.
- Review the client's health insurance policy to determine the amount of money the plan should pay.
- Determine the amount and validity of liens claimed by medical providers and health insurance carriers.
- Put the liability insurance carrier on notice of the claim and the client's own insurance on notice of any potential claims.
- Decide if the personal injury claim is a case that will be developed or if a lawsuit needs to be filed immediately.
- Contact, meet, and discuss with the client an analysis of the case and legal issues.
- File any necessary claim forms.
- Conduct negotiations with an insurance adjuster in order to settle the claim.
- Make a recommendation as to settlement value.
- Obtain authorization for the client to make a first offer.
- Prepare a Summons and Complaint and other items to be included in the litigation.
- Take depositions of the Defendant and witnesses and prepare the client for their deposition.
- Prepare and organize records, documents, and evidence to be included at trial.
- Conduct research, write briefs, and file motions for evidence.
- Try the case.
- Analyze the jury verdict and discuss the validity of appealing by either party with the client.
- Negotiate medical bills for the client.
At The Derrick Law Firm, we have a great deal of experience in personal injury law. Our attorneys welcome personal injury claims, especially those involving a serious injury. If you have suffered in a personal injury accident, do not hesitate to call us.