When we meet with clients for the first time, one of the first questions they ask us is how much their case is worth. They don’t care so much about how we’ll prove fault. They usually don’t care what types of damages they’re going to receive. However, these things are critically important in order to prove your case. Our Columbia injury attorneys always tell our clients when we first meet that it’s impossible to know upfront what damages they’re entitled to. We like to take our time and review the case and find out what the defendant’s position is before we put any value on your personal injury claim.
Since every case is different, it takes some time to determine which types of damages may apply in your case. For example, if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, you’ll be entitled to property damage. However, this wouldn’t be the case if you were involved in a slip and fall. Once we have a chance to thoroughly review your case and your medical records, we’ll have a much better idea of what your claim might be worth.
Here, we will discuss what your South Carolina personal injury attorney needs to do to prove your case. Then we’ll explain what types of damages you may be entitled to. Finally, we’ll talk about what happens if you’re found to be partially at fault. If you have any questions about your own personal injury case, feel free to give us a call. You can always schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone.
Your Columbia Injury Attorney Must Prove Negligence First
Before you can start thinking about damages, your Columbia injury attorney will need to prove fault. In most personal injury cases, this requires your attorney to prove negligence. Negligent just means that the other party didn’t behave the way a reasonable person would have given the circumstances.
In order to prove negligence, you must demonstrate the following four things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care-Depending on the type of personal injury you suffered, this may be hard or easy to prove. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, it’s easy to prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care. At a minimum, they would be required to follow all traffic laws.
- The defendant breached this duty-Your South Carolina personal injury attorney has to demonstrate the defendant did something to breach this duty. For example, in a slip and fall case, your attorney could show that a store owner had an unsafe condition on their property. In a car accident case, you can submit evidence that the defendant was texting at the time of the crash.
- You must prove that you were injured-We always tell our clients that it’s not enough that they were involved in a personal injury accident. If you didn’t suffer a physical or financial injury, you have no standing to sue.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach-This is known as causation. Your attorney will have to demonstrate that your injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. As long as you go to the hospital immediately after your accident, this shouldn’t be difficult to prove.
Once your attorney has proven negligence, they can move on to discuss damages.
Your South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney Will Demand Damages
Once you have proven negligence, you can move on to demand damages. Depending on the nature and seriousness of your injuries, you may be entitled to significant damages. Your Columbia injury attorney will do their best to get you as much money as possible. However, they are required to prove each type of damages they demand in your initial complaint.
In most personal injury claims, our clients are entitled to some or all of the following:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
Keep in mind- your South Carolina personal injury attorney is going to try to negotiate a settlement of your claim. This means you probably won’t receive your full demand. You need to be willing to compromise if you expect the defendant to settle rather than go to trial.
It’s also important to remember that damages for pain and suffering will make up a lion’s share of your settlement. So will your demand for medical bills. If your injuries were serious, these two types of damages may be much higher than in other cases.
What Happens if You Were Partially at Fault?
For some reason, many of our clients are afraid to tell us that they were partially at fault. It is critically important that you tell us this, preferably during your free, initial consultation. Knowing that you may have been partially at fault will help your Columbia injury attorney craft your lawsuit. It will also affect the approach they take when they go to negotiate a settlement.
There’s no reason to be afraid to admit that you were also at fault. In South Carolina, as long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can still collect damages. This is because South Carolina follows something called the comparative negligence rule. This rule states that a plaintiff can still college damages if they were partly at fault. However, the rule also states that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Therefore, if you were 20% at fault, your initial demand of $500,000 would be reduced by $100,000.
Contact a Columbia Injury Attorney Sooner Rather than Later
If you or your loved one were injured in any type of accident, contact our office sooner rather than later. You can schedule your free, initial consultation with an experienced Columbia injury attorney. They can review your case and give you an idea of what types of damages you may be entitled to. Make sure you bring any information you have with you to your initial meeting and be as upfront and honest with your attorney as possible.
The defendant will have an attorney representing them and you should too. Since you don’t pay us anything until we settle your case, you have nothing to lose.