When you get into an accident, you may be entitled to compensation depending on the circumstances of the case. For instance, if another car crashed into yours while you were driving, you could bring a claim for damages, which could include damage to your vehicle and other economic costs, and pain-and-suffering.
If you think you may have an accident injury claim, then you will need to decide whether or not to pursue the claim on your own or hire a personal injury lawyer.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law, which is also referred to as tort law, protects you if you or your property are damaged or injured because of another party’s actions or failure to act. If you initiate a personal injury claim against another party, in the best-case scenario, that party will compensate you for your losses.
The party may also compensate for pain and suffering, which are non-economic damages like emotional and physical stress caused by the accident and/or injury. For example, if you’re a dancer and you suffered a severe injury in a car accident that caused you to put your career on hold, you could collect compensation for the physical pain and the emotional suffering you may be going through along with your medical and car repair bills.
When Would You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you got into an accident – whether you think it was your fault or not – you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you pursue the claim. Some of the most common types of accidents and events these lawyers handle include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Animal bites and attacks
You may also file a personal injury claim if you:
- Bought a defective product and it caused injury.
- Someone intentionally harmed you.
- Another person defamed you.
What Kind of Proof Do You Need to Win a Personal Injury Case?
To ensure the success of a personal injury case, you should have photos and documentation of the accident, including police and insurance reports, as well as your medical records from any doctors you went to who treated your injury. If you spoke to any witnesses, you should have their accounts of the incident as well. Your lawyer will work with you to gather all of the important facts and pieces of evidence to help substantiate your claim.
How a Personal Injury Case Typically Goes
Once Person A injures Person B, Person B will find a personal injury lawyer to represent them as a plaintiff against Person A, the defendant. The plaintiff’s lawyer will work to come up with proof that the defendant is responsible for the injury.
If it is determined that the plaintiff is indeed responsible, then usually, the plaintiff/their insurance company, if applicable, will settle out of court for a sum of money. There are times, however, when a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, and the best course of action is to bring the case to trial.
Even if the case does end up going to court, they can still reach a settlement before the trial begins. Litigation is costly, time consuming, and unpredictable. For this reason, it is generally in everyone’s best interests to settle a case before a trial starts. Sometimes, however, it takes the credible threat of trial for the other side to make a fair offer.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Many people wonder when it is appropriate to hire a personal injury lawyer, and when is it better to handle the case on their own. First of all, it never hurts to at least speak with an attorney to review the specifics of your case. Most personal injury attorneys provide free consultations, so this is a good opportunity for you to find out what your legal rights and options are, so you can make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed.
If you have minor injuries and the insurance company has made you an offer that you believe is fair, then you might be fine just to accept the offer and move on with your life. However, if you have moderate to severe injuries and/or there are any complicating factors in your case – such as multiple parties involved or a question over who was at fault – then you are probably better off hiring a lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer will help you navigate the complexities of the case and work toward recovering the maximum compensation available. Most of them work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay them any upfront fees to take your case – they only get paid if they win your case.
Although your lawyer will take a percentage of the settlement for their fee, studies show that injured parties who are represented by a lawyer recover more than four times more in compensation (on average) than those who handle claims on their own.
Contact Mark Nowell Law Firm
If you or a loved one got injured because of the negligent or reckless actions or omissions of another party in South Carolina, the Nowell Law Firm is here to help. Message us online or call our Spartanburg office today at (864) 469-2481 for a free consultation and case assessment.