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
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!