In order to bring a valid personal injury claim in South Carolina and recover damages from the negligent party, you must satisfy four important elements.
Duty of Care
The initial element deals with the relationship between you and the defendant and whether the defendant owed you any duty of care? In many personal injury claims, the duty of care is often implied, like with a driver operating a motor vehicle on a South Carolina road. There is an implied duty of care to operate the vehicle safely and responsibly.
Negligence or Breach of Duty of Care
The next element in proving a personal injury claim is negligence or the breach of duty of care. Negligence is the center of all personal injury claims. The inability to establish negligence can end your personal injury claim. Cornell Law School defines negligence as:
“A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
Once you prove there was a duty owed and that duty was subsequently breached, you still have to show there is a link between that breach and your injuries. This is what is known as causation. This means that your injuries would not have occurred if not for the negligent actions of the defendant.
The final element is the meat of a personal injury claim. If you did not suffer any damages as a result of the incident, there is no claim. Damages can be economic or non-economic. Common damages include medical bills, physical damage to a vehicle or property, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Proving negligence is a vital element of a successful personal injury claim. You need a skilled South Carolina personal injury attorney who has the experience to prove the other party was at fault. Every case is unique and the other party’s insurance company will be doing their best to raise a defense to negligence or place the blame on you.
Defenses to Negligence
Expect that the defense will do everything possible to avoid paying your claim. The defendant can claim that he or she owed you no duty of care. The defendant can allege that he or she did exercise due care and therefore was not at fault. The other side may argue that he or she was not the cause of your damages even if the defendant was negligent.
Retaining a South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence, retaining the right South Carolina personal injury attorney is invaluable, especially in a disputed liability case. It’s important to retain an attorney early on to ensure that you have the best legal advocate while the liability investigation is still pending. The attorneys at Elrod Pope Law Firm have years of experience in personal injury claims. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and let us help you get the compensation you are owed.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.