A personal injury lawyer handles cases that broadly encompass any type of situation in which someone else has caused you a physical injury through their actions or inactions. Many types of cases can fall under the umbrella of personal injury law.
The unifying theme is that you would generally need to prove negligence in order to receive financial compensation. The second thing that holds true is that you are in a better position when you hire a tenacious personal injury lawyer to represent you throughout the process.
Our personal injury lawyers serve Mount Pleasant, SC, and the surrounding areas. Contact the team of attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas to schedule your free initial consultation.
Personal Injury Cases Our Lawyers Handle
The attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas are experienced counselors and litigators who serve the Mount Pleasant, SC community. We work closely with our clients to help them obtain the best legal result and the maximum possible recovery. Some of the injury cases that we handle:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice cases, such as emergency room errors, surgical mistakes, birth injuries, and medication mistakes
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home injuries
Proving Your Personal Injury Case
In order to qualify for a lawsuit settlement or a jury award, you would need to prove that someone else was negligent. The legal standard for negligence consists of the following four elements:
- Someone else owed you a duty of care
- They breached the duty of care by doing something that would be considered unreasonable under the circumstances
- You suffered an injury
- You would not have been injured had it not been for the actions of the other party
In most cases, the issue of negligence really comes down to the second element of this test. You must prove what the defendant actually did and then compare it to what the reasonable person would have done under the circumstances. If you can prove that someone else fell short of their duty of care, and it caused your injury, you are eligible for financial compensation.
In every personal injury case, you have the burden of proof to show that someone else was responsible for what happened. You must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower standard than a prosecutor needs to meet in a criminal case. Nonetheless, your claim would be denied, or you would not win your case if you cannot meet your own standard of proof.
To prove your case, you would need evidence that your lawyer would need to gather since it is difficult to investigate your own accident. Some sources of proof include:
- Eyewitness testimony from people who saw the accident
- Pictures from the scene of the accident
- Maintenance logs that are in the defendant’s possession
- Other records from the defendant that can show what they knew or did
- Expert witness testimony, either from an expert in the relevant area, or someone who can reconstruct what happened
- Videocamera footage
In many personal injury cases, you have a limited window to gather evidence before you lose it. An attorney will get right to work when you hire them to assemble your case before the evidence disappears. You cannot call a lawyer months after the fact and expect them to be able to build a successful personal injury case.
Defendants in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Here are some of the people who you may be able to sue in a personal injury case:
- A driver
- A truck operator
- A doctor
- A property owner
You can sue more than just a person. If the responsible person injured you through their negligence while they were on the job, you can sue their employer. It is a fundamental principle of law that an employee is an agent of their employer.
In any personal injury case, you are better off when you can sue a company because they have more insurance coverage and assets to pay for your damages. If the company does not have enough coverage, they must pay you directly.
The Personal Injury Claim and Lawsuit Process
It is up to you how and when to begin the legal process of seeking financial compensation. You are the one with the legal right to compensation, and the insurance company should not get to dictate your course of action.
The insurance company will feature prominently in your case if the responsible party has coverage. You will be negotiating a potential settlement with them. If you take your case to court, they will be the ones with a duty to defend their policyholder. Most personal injury cases will settle at some point, but it could take a significant amount of work to get to that point.
Generally, you have two ways to obtain financial compensation for your personal injuries:
- You can file a claim against the responsible party’s insurance policy
- You can file a lawsuit against the responsible party in court
Even if you file a claim against the insurance, you retain the right to go to court, so long as you are still within the statute of limitations. The insurance company may deny your claim, or they may not offer you enough money. In the end, the jury is the ultimate arbiter of your legal rights and not the insurance company.
The personal injury process can take time to resolve. The important thing is to be patient and let your lawyer take care of you. If you are dealing with an insurance company, your lawyer would likely need to negotiate over time. The insurance company is not going to give you the full amount that you are due without prompting and extensive negotiation.
An experienced attorney knows how to deal with the insurance company and overcome the roadblocks that they add to the process. The insurance company does not have the power that they represent in your case. When you have a strong attorney, they may even fear you.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Damages
Once you are able to prove legal responsibility for your injuries, you would then move to the damages phase. You also have the burden of proof to demonstrate how you have been harmed. It can take some time and effort to get all the money that you deserve.
The responsible party has a legal obligation to restore you to the same position that you were in before the accident, using money as a measuring stick because they obviously cannot give you back your health.
Here are the damages that you may be able to receive in a personal injury case:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Emotional distress
Punitive damages are rare in a personal injury lawsuit. You have a greater chance of being awarded punitive damages in large cases when there is a corporate defendant, such as a truck accident or medical malpractice case. You would need to show that the defendant’s conduct significantly departed from the norm.
If your personal injury is the loss of a loved one to someone else’s wrongful acts, your family may be paid for what you have lost, both from a financial and emotional perspective. While it is difficult for your family to file a lawsuit when you are grieving, it is a necessary step if you deserve financial compensation. Our lawyers will handle your case in a compassionate and diligent manner that keeps you from having to deal with details directly.
Personal Injury Case FAQs
How do I know if I have a viable personal injury case?
You would contact a personal injury attorney, who would review the facts of your case and explain your legal options.
How long will my personal injury case take?
Everything depends on the circumstances of your case. The duration can depend on the complexity of your claim and whether the insurance company is being reasonable in settlement negotiations.
How much will a personal injury lawyer cost me?
You do not need to pay anything upfront for a personal injury lawyer. You only pay if you win, and then the payment would be out of the proceeds of your settlement or jury award.
How much is my personal injury case worth?
Everything depends on your own damages that you have suffered. We will review your case and tell you how much you may be due in a personal injury case.
Do I need a lawyer for a personal injury case?
Some people make the mistake of trying to represent themselves in a personal injury case. While you would not need to pay an attorney, you would end up with less money overall.
Contact a Mount Pleasant Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The legal help that you need after a personal injury is just a phone call or message away. A Mount Pleasant personal injury attorney at Rikard & Protopapas will stand up for your legal rights and work to get you top dollar for your personal injury case.