Car and truck crashes, doctors’ mistakes, slip and falls, and nursing home mishaps are all accidents that can cause significant injuries. We use the term “accidents” loosely because very rarely are these incidents truly no one’s fault. When the blame lies with another person, business, or institution, and you have been seriously injured, it might be possible to recover some of your losses from the at-fault party. A personal injury case starts as an insurance claim but can progress to a lawsuit when an insurance company refuses to make a reasonable offer.
If you were injured by another party’s negligence in South Carolina, you can trust the personal injury team at Pracht Injury Lawyers to navigate this process on your behalf. The best part is that you won’t owe us a dime until and unless we bring the case to a successful conclusion. Learn more about the personal injury process here.
Personal Injury Claims Start With Insurance Companies
Drivers, property owners, businesses, doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes all carry some amount of liability insurance. These policies cover them if they get sued by someone claiming to have been harmed by their actions. If you were injured in a car crash that was caused by a drunk driver, for example, your fight for compensation would start with a claim against that driver’s auto insurance policy and also, potentially, against the bar that served alcohol to the driver.
The insurance adjuster will expect you to prove the following:
- Their insured caused an accident. Proving that the party you are holding responsible caused the accident will require plenty of evidence. Police reports, expert testimony, eyewitness statements, drug and alcohol tests, video footage, and other relevant evidence will need to be presented to the insurance company.
- You were injured in the accident. You will also need to provide medical records, photographs, doctors’ statements, and more to show that you suffered serious harm as a result of the accident.
- You have suffered significant losses. In order to place a dollar value on your claim, you will have to provide medical bills, lost wage statements, psychologist testimony, and other evidence of the financial impact of the accident and your injuries.
As your lawyer, we will gather all of the necessary evidence into a demand for compensation and send it to the insurance company for the negligent party. In most cases, we are able to reach an agreeable settlement during this process—although it can take some time and some back-and-forth in the negotiation process. When negotiations fail, however, it might be necessary to file a lawsuit in civil court to get the compensation you deserve.
When a Personal Injury Lawsuit Becomes Necessary
If the insurance company denies your claim, refuses to make a fair offer, or purposely delays the claims process, your lawyer will consider filing a civil action against the at-fault party. Essentially, what this does is ask the court to decide whether the defendant’s negligence caused the injury and how much the injured party is owed to compensate them for their losses. We will have to prove the same claims as we did in the insurance claim, but this time we will be presenting the evidence in court.
Once the judge has heard all of the evidence, he or she will make a ruling. In cases of extreme negligence or egregious actions, the judge could order the defendant to pay punitive damages in addition to compensation for demonstrated losses. This could be the case in a drunk driving crash, for example, or for a hospital or nursing home that has previous safety violations. A court can also order the defendant to access their personal assets to pay more than the value of their insurance policy.
How a Lawyer Can Help in Either Situation
You do not technically have to hire a lawyer to file an insurance claim or even file a lawsuit in civil court. However, having a lawyer on your side from day one provides multiple benefits, including:
- Freeing you up to focus on your recovery
- Making sure you act within the statute of limitations
- Gathering evidence to build the strongest possible case for compensation
- Making the insurance company take your claim seriously
- Bringing knowledge and experience to the negotiating table
- Knowing when it’s necessary to file a lawsuit and proceeding quickly
- Arguing effectively before a judge
At Pracht Injury Lawyers, we take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. That means that we don’t ask for any payment upfront. Instead, we will inform you of the percentage we will take off the top of your ultimate settlement or court judgment before we get started. If you agree to the terms, we will get started on your case, and you will owe us nothing out of your own pocket.
While we can never promise that we will get you a certain amount in compensation, experience tells us that personal injury claims brought by lawyers are almost always worth more than claims brought by individuals. So you have nothing to lose by scheduling your free consultation in one of our convenient offices across South Carolina to learn more about what we can do for you.