Columbia, SC Personal Injury Lawyer
Most of us don’t attach any special significance to the phrase, “personal injury.” But when it’s used in the legal sense, “personal injury” takes on a specific meaning, describing an injury caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person or a business.
Personal injury law deals with the definition of what constitutes a wrongful act and with the legal remedies available to the wronged party. Because the wrongful act leads to legal liability, a personal injury suit can be brought. These civil suits are also known as tort actions and do not involve the government prosecuting the person at fault. This is in contrast to criminal law, where the government is the prosecutor.
At the Louthian Law Firm, our South Carolina personal injury attorneys represent clients who are the victims of any kind of accident that was the direct result of another person’s wrongful act.
Fault and Negligence
In the world of law, personal injury always starts with the question, “Who was at fault?” To pursue a personal injury case, the other party must have been at fault in an action that resulted in your injury. Maybe this was a vehicular accident or a boating accident. Injuries resulting from a dog bite, a slip and fall, or an unsafe product or medicine may also allow you to file a claim for financial compensation.
Personal injury law deals with the concept of negligence, defined as one party’s failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in injury to another. The basics of negligence involve:
- Reasonable care was owed to the injured party (plaintiff) by the defendant.
- The defendant failed to do so—in other words, they breached their duty of care.
- A causal link exists between the defendant’s breach of their duty of care and the injury suffered by the plaintiff.
- The injury caused to the plaintiff was foreseeable—in other words, it was a proximate cause of the defendant’s actions.
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
Partial Fault and Comparative Negligence
What if you were partially at fault for the accident? In South Carolina, the law also allows for cases to be brought in which the defendant is only partially at fault but is still more than 50 percent at fault. Under South Carolina’s comparative negligence law, you, as the plaintiff, would be entitled to seek damages if you were less than 50 percent at fault. However, the amount you would receive would be reduced according to your share of the liability. In other words, if you shared 30 percent of the blame, the amount of damages you could recover would be reduced by 30 percent.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
At our firm, we handle many different kinds of personal injury cases:
- Car Accident. If you have been involved in a car accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may have been left with lingering pain and disability, not to mention medical bills. You may have missed time from work or still find yourself unable to earn a living and support your family. And no one can doubt the emotional toll a serious accident can take on its victims. All of these are damages for which you may receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Claims for car accidents can be complex because they often include factors such as other drivers, other vehicles, road hazards, weather, and witnesses.
- Other Vehicular Accidents. Accidents resulting from negligence aren’t limited to automobiles. Bicycles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, ATVs, and boats can all be involved in tragic situations where a pleasant day is ruined by someone else’s carelessness. If that is your situation, we may be able to help.
- Product Liability. The many products we use can injure us if they have a defective design, defective manufacturing, or do not carry sufficient documentation or warnings. In your case you must demonstrate that the defective product caused the injury; that it was used as intended, and that it was not substantially altered. This category is large and includes almost everything from food to toys to medical devices.
- Prescription Drug Liability. Not all drugs on the market are necessarily safe or prescribed appropriately. The FDA has stated that more than 2 million serious adverse drug reaction reports each year stem from prescription drug use, including 100,000 fatalities. The approval process for drugs is sometimes sped up, resulting in inadequate testing. Drug manufacturers can be held liable for improper labeling, unsafe side effects, inadequate testing, or production defects. The statute of limitations for these lawsuits often starts before you discover the injuries, so time is of the essence when it comes to contacting us.
- Nursing Home Injuries and Deaths. Abuse and neglect in nursing home settings is rampant. Experts estimate that only one in 14 such incidents at nursing homes is ever reported to authorities. If you see signs of abuse or neglect such as wounds and bruises, bedsores, torn clothing, missing items, agitation or withdrawal, poor hygiene, a sudden increase in sedation medication, or complaints about physical or sexual abuse, we may be able to help. Nursing home residents in South Carolina have rights which are protected under the federal Nursing Home Reform Law enacted in 1987 as part of the Social Security Act.
- Medical Malpractice. Sick people expect to be helped, not harmed, but sometimes errors resulting from negligence occur. Some examples of medical malpractice include delayed or incorrect diagnosis, birth injuries resulting from improper care of the mother and her child, unnecessary surgery, botched surgery, anesthesia errors, drug prescription errors, and not providing patients with complete information regarding a procedure. The laws for medical malpractice are complex and can be somewhat different than other kinds of personal injury. We can help you navigate these complexities.
- Workplace Injury. Injuries in the workplace can be either one-time injuries or due to repetitive stress. Among one-time accidents, the possibilities for harm are almost limitless, including burns and electric shock, amputations, traumatic brain injury from falls or blows to the head, and exposure to toxins that cause diseases such as mesothelioma. Remember that, although accepting workers’ compensation payments generally means giving up your right to sue your employer, it may not always be the case. If a third party — another company or person who is not your employer — caused your injuries, you may sue that party while you collect workers’ compensation. You may also sue your employer for illegal behavior such as denying a valid workers’ compensation claim or retaliating against you for filing such a claim. And clearly, those whose employers never bought workers’ compensation insurance, denying them a chance to collect payments, may also sue.
- Slip, Trip, and Fall Injuries. A slip, trip or fall sounds like it would be much less serious than a car crash. However, many such accidents cause significant and expensive injuries like broken bones and brain injuries. Seniors are especially vulnerable and many die each year as a result of a slip-and-fall accident. Clutter in store aisles, broken pavement, a lack of snow or ice removal, uneven floors and steps, bad lighting, and inadequate or nonexistent handrails can all be grounds for a case if negligence can be proved.
- Injuries on the Properties of Others. Injuries to you and your family members can happen in a number of locations, such as while using parking lots, elevators and escalators, swimming pools, and other recreational locations such as bounce houses.
Personal Injury Damages Compensation
Compensation, often called damages, is collected when you win a personal injury case. Damages can include medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, repair bills, lost wages, and other financial losses. Compensation can also be sought for pain and suffering or for the loss of comfort, care and companionship of a loved one.
The Louthian Law Firm of Columbia has been obtaining favorable personal injury verdicts and settlements for hardworking people across South Carolina since 1959, including these results:
- $1,000,000 settlement of a South Carolina personal injury claim.
- $800,000 settlement of an automobile accident claim.
- $225,000 settlement in a premises liability case.
Each South Carolina personal injury claim is different, of course, so we cannot guarantee a particular outcome. However, we can assure you that our personal injury lawyers will give you the same level of attention and expertise that we have given to those involved in our most successful cases. Read more about how we have helped previous clients.
Seeking truth. Securing justice.
Keep in mind that there are statutes of limitation – or deadlines – for filing personal injury claims. If you have been injured in an accident or have otherwise incurred a personal injury, don’t delay. Contact the Louthian Law Firm today so that we can start the journey to justice right away. The initial consultation is always free. Call us at 1-888-440-3211 or, if you prefer, use our online contact form.