Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011, there were 31 million visits to emergency departments for unintentional injuries.

In the same year, 130,557 people died as a result of an unintentional injury, which means these injuries and deaths were not the result of natural causes, such as illness or disease, they involved some type of an “accident.”

Of the 130,557 people that died of unintentional injuries in 2011, 38,851 died from unintentional poisonings (including adverse effects of a prescription medication), 33, 804 died in motor vehicle collisions, and 30,208 died in a fall, the CDC reports.

Sadly, these statistics are discouraging. They prove that each year, millions of Americans are taken to the emergency room for treatment for preventable injuries, many of which lead to lawsuits.

Generally, accidental and unintentional injuries fall under the heading of personal injury law. Continue reading to learn more.

Accidental Injuries and Personal Injury Claims

We have all been less than responsible on occasion, especially in our youth. However, whenever someone is careless, reckless, or thoughtless in their actions and someone else is injured as a result, the careless individual or entity can be held financially accountable for their actions.

Under South Carolina law, when someone suffers undue injuries because of another’s negligence, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Often, such claims are settled by the liable party’s insurance carrier, for example, in a swimming pool drowning at a private residence, the homeowner’s insurance policy would usually compensate the victim’s family.

Grounds for a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The state expects individuals and companies to act responsibly and to always put safety first. Individuals are not supposed to drive drunk, speed, or make bad decisions that could get someone else hurt.

Businesses, big and small, and municipalities must maintain their premises so visitors will not get hurt. If a dangerous condition arises, the property owner or lessee are supposed to take measures to remedy the dangerous situation.

If an individual, business, or municipality is negligent and someone is injured as a direct result, the injured party can sue the negligent party for damages. However, in order to file a lawsuit and collect damages, the injured party must be able to prove that another’s negligent actions caused their injuries.

Just because someone was injured on someone else’s property, it does not automatically prove that the property owner is legally liable. What matters is if:

  • The property knew about the dangerous condition.
  • If the property owner should have known about the hazard.
  • If the property owner took reasonable steps to warn visitors of the hazard.
  • If the property owner knew about the hazard, but failed to remedy it within a reasonable period of time.

If you were injured on another’s property, were you a visitor or trespasser? If you were trespassing, the property owner has less of a duty towards you. Did the property owner or lessee know about the dangerous condition, and if so, did they fail to take care of it in a reasonable period of time? Your answers will be important to your case.

In South Carolina, you have three (3) years to file a personal injury claim from the date of discovery in a civil case. The state’s statute of limitations can be found under S.C. Code Ann. §15-3-530. If you miss this window of opportunity, you will lose your right to file a claim permanently.

To find out if you have grounds for a personal injury claim, do not hesitate to contact our Columbia personal injury firm for a free case evaluation!

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