What are the Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims?

Millions of Americans are hurt or killed each year in various types of accidents and events, and many of these incidents are caused by the negligence or reckless actions of another party. A personal injury can leave a person confused and disoriented and not sure what to do next. The injury can take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on the victim in their household, and they may not know where to turn for the help they need.

It is important to know that any time you get injured in an accident or event that might be someone else’s fault, there are two things you should do immediately; get proper medical attention and speak with a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.

You might not know the full extent of your injuries, and you might not know exactly how the injuries happen. You may think some of it was your fault, but you are not really sure about all these details. Once you have your injuries treated, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by talking with an experienced attorney.

If it turns out that you have a case, it is best to get an attorney involved as early in the process as possible. Otherwise, your right to recover full and fair compensation for your injuries could be jeopardized. You can be sure that the other side will go to work right away on their defense, and you need someone by your side who was looking out for your best interests.

The Most Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury law covers a wide range of cases, and in order to win a claim, you must prove the following:

  • Another party owed you a duty of care;
  • This duty of care was breached;
  • The breach (in duty of care) was the proximate cause of your injury; and
  • Your injury resulted in compensable losses.

Here are some of the most common situations in which a personal injury claim may be appropriate:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

More than 30,000 individuals are killed in accidents involving motor vehicles each year, and hundreds of thousands more suffer serious injuries. Vehicle accidents can involve two cars that collide, a commercial truck crashing into a passenger car, a vehicle colliding with a motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, and multi-vehicle collisions. Those who are injured as drivers or passengers in a motor vehicle accident may be entitled to significant monetary compensation, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Workplace Accidents

No one plans on getting hurt at work, but unfortunately, workplace injuries happen every day. When someone is injured in a workplace accident, they are usually barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit directly against their employer. Instead, they would file a claim for benefits through workers’ compensation.

There are some cases, however, when an outside party is responsible for a workplace injury. For example, a worker could be injured by a subcontractor who is performing a task nearby, or they could get hurt as a pedestrian or driver while they are outside the workplace on company business. When this happens, it may be possible to bring a personal injury claim directly against the responsible party.

Premises Liability

When an individual is injured because of a dangerous or defective condition while on someone else’s property, they may be able to file a claim under the legal theory known as “premises liability”. Examples include slip and fall accidents, swimming pool accidents, and animal attacks.

The strength of a premises liability claim depends largely on what the visitor status of the injured party was when they enter the property. Those who are explicitly invited onto a property (such as customers, hotel guests, and tenants) generally have the strongest case, while those with implicit permission (such as neighbors, social guests, and door to door salespeople) may have a harder time recovering damages. For trespassers, it is very much an uphill battle in most cases.

Product Liability

There are numerous products on the market that can cause serious injury during the course of regular use. If a defective or unsafe product causes an injury, the injured party may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of the product under the legal theory known as “product liability”.

Wrongful Death

Some accidents and events result in death. A serious car crash, an explosion in a factory, a drowning in a swimming pool, and numerous other fatal incidents like these could be the result of another party’s negligence or recklessness. When this is the case, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate. Wrongful death cases are similar to personal injury cases, although there are some special rules that apply.

Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer in South Carolina

If you or someone close to you suffered injury or death because of the actions of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. If the injury occurred in South Carolina, contact the Nowell Law Firm for assistance. Message us online or call our Spartanburg, SC office today at (864) 469-2481 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

What Should I Do if I’m Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

In South Carolina, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system that is designed to provide benefits to employees who suffer an injury on the job, regardless of how it was caused. There are a few exceptions to this, such as self-inflicted injuries and injuries that occur because of a violation of company policy, but in general, your employer is supposed to cover you as long as the illness or injury is work-related.

Unfortunately, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is not nearly as easy as it should be. The system is complex and confusing, and many employers make it even more difficult by throwing up unnecessary roadblocks that are designed to frustrate a worker into giving up on the benefits they deserve.

If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits by your employer or their insurer, this does not necessarily mean it is the end of the road. Call our office for a free, no obligation consultation, so we can take an in-depth look at your case and advise you of your next steps.

Common Reasons why Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Denied

Employers and their insurers will often look for a reason to deny a workers’ comp claim, so they can save money on premiums or benefits that have to be paid out. Here are some of the most common reasons for a workers’ compensation claim denial:

Your Injury did not Happen on the Job

Workers’ compensation benefits are only available for injuries that are work-related. In some cases, this is fairly clear-cut. For example, if you slipped and fell at home and hurt yourself, you could not reasonably expect your employer to cover that. There are other instances, however, where things are not so clear. For example, if your boss asked you to go pick up lunch for you and the rest of the crew and you were injured on the way to the restaurant, this could be considered work-related, even if you were “off the clock” when it happened.

Your Injury was the Result of a Pre-Existing Condition

Closely related to the previous point, your employer could claim that your injury already existed before your workplace accident, therefore you are not covered. However, even if a workplace accident aggravated or worsened an already existing condition, you might still qualify for workers’ comp. This is another one of these complicated instances that needs to be looked at by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

You Did Not Receive Proper Treatment/You were not Treated by an Approved Medical Provider

in South Carolina, your employer has the right to choose your medical provider. If you saw your own provider without their permission, or you did not get medical treatment at all for your injury, they may claim that you are faking or exaggerating your injury, or that you do not have adequate proof that it happened.

You Missed the Deadline for Filing a Claim

Many workers’ compensation claims are denied because of technicalities, such as missing a filing deadline. In South Carolina, you are supposed to report a workplace injury within 90 days of it occurring. Some employers misread the law and try to impose deadlines that are sooner than 90 days, and there are other instances when the exact origin of the injury is unclear. This is common with repetitive stress injuries and others that occur over an extended period of time.

Appealing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina

If you were denied workers’ compensation benefits in SC, you have the right to file an appeal with the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Commission. The first step is to submit a hearing request (to the commission) along with the required fee. Once this is done, the next step will usually be an informal conference.

At the informal conference, the parties will try to reach an agreement to resolve the dispute. If the dispute cannot be resolved, a hearing can be scheduled before a workers’ compensation commissioner. If you are dissatisfied with the results of this hearing, the second level of appeal is a hearing before a panel of three commissioners. If this does not yield a successful result, you can bring your case to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.

Although you are not required to retain an attorney for the appeals process, your chances of success are greatly increased when you have experienced legal counsel in your corner. Your attorney will know the ins and outs of this process and be able to represent you through each step. They will prepare the strongest possible case on your behalf, so you are well-positioned to obtain a favorable outcome.

Contact a Skilled and Knowledgeable Spartanburg, SC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Whether you have just suffered a work-related illness or injury, or you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits, the Nowell Law Firm is here to help. Call our office today at (864) 469-2481 or message us online for a free consultation and case review.