Being hurt in an accident can be devastating enough. What can be even worse is, if you are put in a financially difficult position due to the damage caused in the accident. If you or your property has been damaged due to someone else’s negligence, here are five tips for filing a personal injury claim in South Carolina.
1. FILE YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM WITHIN THE APPROPRIATE TIME FRAME
Every state has a set amount of time in which you are able to file for certain kinds of cases. In South Carolina, those who wish to file a personal injury claim must do so set by the statute of limitations, which gives you three years to file your lawsuit. If you fail to file your lawsuit within that amount of time, it is unlikely that a judge will hear your case and move forward to take action against those who caused damage to you or your property.
Keep in mind that you should file your personal injury claim as soon as possible. Although you are given three years to file the claim, you need to make sure that you give yourself enough time for any unexpected delays or judgments that you want to work against as well.
2. UNDERSTAND THAT NOT EVERY ACCIDENT WILL ALLOW YOU TO FILE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
Even though you have been in an accident, it doesn’t mean that you are automatically allowed to file a personal injury claim in response to your injuries or the damage caused to your property. For example, automobile accidents, which contribute to the majority of personal injury cases filed, are only accepted as personal injury cases if the driver who injured you was not exercising reasonable care. If reckless behavior contributed to property damage or injuries, you are most likely able to file a claim. If someone exercised reasonable care but still accidentally injured you or damaged your property, you will most likely not be able to file a personal injury claim.
3. KEEP DOCUMENTATION OF EVERYTHING
In order to file a lawsuit in which you are successfully compensated, you need to make sure that you document absolutely everything. From the moment the accident occurs, keep track of everything that is said, everything that occurs immediately after the accident, and the expenses that are charged to you following the accident as well. These expenses may be medical expenses, property damage expenses, and other expenses that have been charged as a result of the accident. This information will be essential during the lawsuit process.
4. AVOID TAKING ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR INJURIES
Unfortunately, South Carolina uses something known as “comparative negligence.” This rule helps to determine what level of responsibility each party had in the accident that took place. Let’s say that the person you are filing a suit against is mostly to blame for the accident that occurred. As long as the role you played in the accident was smaller than the role of the person or entity that caused the accident, you are entitled to compensation. If however, you assumed responsibility at some time during the accident or if the jury or judge believes that you played more of a role in the accident than the person or entity that you are trying, you will receive no compensation. Be careful what you say after your accident to ensure that you are given no or as little responsibility as possible for the accident that occurred.
5. ALTHOUGH YOU WILL FILE A CLAIM FOR THE COURT, PREPARE TO SETTLE OUTSIDE OF THE COURT
Although the majority of the paperwork that you will be filing will be going into court, deals for compensation will often be made outside of a court of law, and you should expect this to happen. Coming to an agreement with the person or entity that caused the accident will save both parties money and is something that is required in South Carolina before the lawsuit reaches the court. If you can’t come to an agreement with the other person or entity directly, you can also have your personal injury lawyer engage in negotiations for you.
Personal injury claims can be tricky to deal with, especially if you’re trying to tackle a lawsuit all by yourself. If you have been in an accident and you need assistance filing a personal injury claim, visit our website for additional resources and assistance throughout the process.