One of the first things our clients ask us is how much their car accident case is worth. We don’t take offense at this. After all, the only reason people hire a Columbia car accident lawyer is to get compensation for their injuries. They may say they care about getting justice. But, at the end of the day, they hire our South Carolina injury lawyers so they can get as much money as possible. It can be difficult to explain to new clients that it’s not as black and white as they think.
Before we can even think about damages, we need to be able to prove fault. Once we’ve done that, we will go on to prove each type of damages listed on your complaint. We’ll explain both of these things here. However, we’ll also explain that most car accident lawsuits settle long before trial. This means you probably aren’t going to receive an award for your full damages.
After you read this article, you may still have questions about your own accident case. If this is so, just contact our office directly. We can schedule your free, initial consultation over the phone, or you can do so through our website.
Your Columbia Car Accident Lawyer Has to Prove Fault First
As briefly stated above, you won’t receive any damages if your Columbia car accident lawyer can’t prove fault. In a motor vehicle accident case, this means you have to prove negligence. In fact, this is the standard for almost all personal injury cases.
In order to prove negligence, your South Carolina injury lawyer must demonstrate the following:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty
- You were injured
- Your injuries (physical and financial) were caused directly by the defendant’s breach
Sometimes, negligence is best explained by way of an example.
Imagine that you were T-boned by another driver. It won’t be hard for your South Carolina injury lawyer to prove a duty of care exists because all motorists are expected to follow the local traffic laws. Here, the defendant admits that they were speeding and texting at the time of the crash. Your attorney can show that you suffered broken bones, whiplash, and a head injury. Since you went to the emergency room immediately after your crash, there’s no way some intervening cause led to your injuries.
You Can Demand All Sorts of Damages in Your Initial Complaint
When your Columbia car accident lawyer first files your complaint, they’ll have to list the damages you expect to receive. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to some or all of the following:
- Medical bills and future medical bills – The defendant should be liable for any medical bills you experienced as a result of the crash. This includes things like the ambulance ride, hospital bills, and doctors’ copays. It also includes compensation for any future medical care you may need. Your doctor can submit an affidavit stating what kind of care you’ll need going forward. Your South Carolina injury lawyer will present an accounting of what this care will cost, considering inflation.
- Property damage – If your car or SUV was damaged or destroyed, the defendant will be liable for this. You can submit a copy of your mechanic’s bill if the car is reparable. If it was totaled, you can submit a copy of your own insurance company’s estimation that the vehicle is destroyed. You can then demand the fair market value of the car at the time of the accident.
- Lost wages – If you miss more than a week or two from work, you can demand reimbursement for lost wages. Your Columbia car accident lawyer will have to submit a copy of your payroll records showing how much time you missed.
- Lost future income – If you can no longer do the same kind of work you did before the crash, you can demand compensation. This would be equal to the difference between what you would’ve earned prior to the crash and what you will now earn.
- Pain and Suffering – Almost all car accident victims can demand damages for pain and suffering. These damages are meant to compensate you for any mental and physical anguish caused by the crash.
Don’t Expect to Receive Your Full Demand
Imagine that you were hit from behind by someone driving 45 miles per hour. It cost $3,000 to get your car fixed. You also suffered serious injuries. Your medical treatment cost more than $120,000. Between your vehicle and medical bills, that’s a total of $123,000. Your Columbia car accident lawyer will also demand pain and suffering in the amount of $300,000. This brings your total claim to approximately $423,000.
When your attorney enters settlement negotiations, they’ll start with your full demand. However, they know going into negotiations that they aren’t going to get the full amount. They’ll wait to see where the defendant’s attorney comes in. The two will eventually arrive at a compromise. Your case may settle for about $150,000. While this isn’t your full demand, it’s still a significant amount of money. It also makes you whole.
Your Columbia Car Accident Lawyer Will Make Sure the Settlement is Fair
If you were involved a car accident and aren’t sure what to do, you’re not alone. Most people aren’t exactly sure what they do after a car crash. When we’re teenagers, our parents teach us to drive. They even tell us to keep an emergency supply kit in our trunk in case we happen to get stranded somewhere when it’s below freezing. So why didn’t anybody teach us how to handle a car accident? The good news is that you don’t have to handle this alone. All you have to do is call our office and speak with a South Carolina injury lawyer.
Our Columbia car accident lawyers have decades of combined experience handling car accident claims. We know that you have to name both the other driver and their insurance carrier in the complaint. We also know how to gather the evidence needed to prove your case. And, most importantly, we know how to get you as much money as possible.
Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, you should contact our office right away. Set up a date and time that works for you. Once we’ve had a chance to thoroughly review your claim, we’ll get started on preparing your case. Since your consultation is free, you have nothing to lose.