The Feidler Law Firm Serves All of South Carolina.
If you have been injured due to no fault of your own, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Feidler Law Firm are here to help you or your loved one. The Feidler Law Firm has yielded large settlements for victims of personal injuries. We have the litigation and trial experience to navigate your personal injury case and get you the compensation you deserve. Our firm takes pride in treating our clients like family and offering them support, respect, and guidance, all while doing everything we possibly can on your behalf to make sure you receive a full and fair settlement. We accept a limited number of cases each year to ensure our clients receive the time, attention, and representation they deserve.
To learn more about the services our law firm provides, please contact us through our website or call our Charleston, SC office at 843-790-9015 as soon as possible for a free consultation.
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The Four Elements Of A Personal Injury Claim In South Carolina
In South Carolina, a personal injury occurs when someone is injured as a result of another person’s action, whether through negligence, recklessness, or an intentional act. A personal injury claim is a legal right designed to protect you and compensate you when you are hurt because of another’s actions.
These four elements must be established in a personal injury claim to recover damages from a negligent party who has caused you harm.
1. Duty of Care
The first element that an injured party must establish depends on whether there was a certain kind of relationship between you and the defendant, and the defendant owed you a duty of care based on this relationship. More often than not, a duty of care is implied.
The responsibility of a person or organization to take all reasonable measures necessary to prevent activities that could result in harm to other individuals and/or their property.
For instance, a driver of a vehicle has a duty of care to all other drivers on the road to operate the vehicle responsibly and safely.
2. Negligence, recklessness, or an intentional act
In South Carolina, a personal injury occurs when someone is injured as a result of another person’s action, whether through negligence, recklessness, or an intentional act. In South Carolina, negligence is defined as “the absence of due care or ordinary care. It is the failure to exercise due care as a person of ordinary reason and prudence would exercise in the same circumstances.” In essence, negligence is the act of doing something (or failing to act) unreasonably or irresponsibly. Proving negligence is the heart of a successful personal injury lawsuit. However, a defendant acting reckless or intentionally can also trigger a personal injury claim.
While Duty of Care and negligence are two important parts of a personal injury claim, you must also prove that your injuries would not have resulted but for the negligent actions of the defendant. This is often referred to as “but-for” causation, meaning that, but for the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff’s injury would not have occurred under normal circumstances.
Finally, a plaintiff must prove damages also known as injuries. Damages in a personal injury case include both economic losses, such as lost wages and medical bills, and costs for rehabilitation, but also non-economic losses such as pain and suffering caused by the injury.
When you are injured in an accident in South Carolina, many people wonder if they need to hire a personal injury attorney. Of course, the majority of us have never been in a situation where we are asking ourselves “do I need a personal injury attorney,” or “what are the exact benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney and legal team?”
What does a personal injury lawyer do?
Like doctors, attorneys focus on different areas of the law or fields, so it’s important to know exactly what you are looking for and what you are getting into before you hire a personal injury attorney. We at the Feidler Law Firm get this question a lot because it is such an important decision and you want to make sure your personal injury attorney and legal team are maximizing your case’s value. We also know how stressful these situations can be. We have represented our loved ones and been emotionally connected to those injuries ourselves, so we know how it feels to be part of a personal injury case.
There are 7 facets of our philosophy regarding the duties of a quality personal injury lawyer:
1. Client’s come first and a good personal injury attorney will take the stress of a personal injury case off your shoulder, so you can focus on healing and getting your life back together.
We at the Feidler Law Firm like to say there are important moments in our life that can forever change our lives. This includes marriage, having a baby, buying a home, and a life-altering injury. Life-altering injuries can be extremely stressful and not only impact you but also your loved ones.
Our personal injury legal team prides itself in taking care of the personal injury case while our client heals and focuses on getting back to how things were before the life-altering injury. We are dedicated to doing everything in our power to ensure we leave no rock unturned in hopes that we achieve justice and hold the responsible party accountable for our client’s injuries.
2. Gathering, sorting, and organizing evidence is key to building a strong personal injury case.
Evidence is one of the most important parts of a personal injury case and there is an art to gathering evidence since it is not always readily available. Oftentimes, evidence begins to disappear whether intentionally or not. Attorneys can send a preservation letter to the at-fault party to ensure any relevant evidence is preserved, such as records, videos, tangible items, etc. Our experienced attorneys also know what to look for when gathering evidence, which can assist when negotiating with an insurance carrier and at-fault party.
3. Negotiate directly with insurance companies and carriers and never back down.
Insurance companies' main goal is to either avoid paying out claims to injured parties or payout the minimal amount. To an insurance company, you are nothing more than a number and a statistic. When a personal injury attorney is not involved, insurance adjusters may try and take advantage of you because you are unfamiliar with the law and do not know the nuance language to use when presenting your insurance claim.
Oftentimes, insurance adjusters ignore you and as time goes by bills start to stack up and the insurance adjuster acts as though they are working towards your best interest. Personal injury attorneys deal with insurance carriers daily and know how to negotiate with them on your behalf to ensure they understand the impact this injury has had on you and your family’s life.
4. Identify all liable parties and sources of compensation.
Insurance companies are reluctant to voluntarily offer insurance coverage information available to pay someone’s injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to find additional car insurance policies, hidden umbrella policies, and other coverage for the trucking companies, negligent bars or restaurants, or negligent companies. Our legal team will exhaust all possible options to ensure we have found every liable party in a personal injury claim and all possible insurance coverage.
5. Have the knowledge and resources to hire experts.
Not always, but often it is necessary to hire an expert to assist with your personal injury case. In certain cases, such as nursing home abuse and neglect cases or medical malpractice cases, experts are required by law to assist with your personal injury case. Our firm has the resources available to hire experts and experience with experts in a vast array of expertise. For instance, accident reconstruction experts can determine the speed of vehicles and location before impact. Our legal team also works closely with life care planners who can determine how the injuries will affect the remainder of your life now that you are unable to maintain employment, and what your future medical costs will likely cost.
6. A good personal injury attorney is also a good trial attorney.
If we are unable to resolve your case with an insurance company, our lawyers are willing and able to take your case to a trial and let a jury determine how much you should be compensated for your injuries. Our team is not afraid to stand up against insurance companies and corporate entities who attempt to bully those without voices. We have taken billion-dollar companies to trial and will not back down. A good personal injury attorney comes in at the beginning with the mindset that that claim will eventually be presented to a jury.
7. Comprehensive understanding of your Medical bills and liens.
At times, personal injury cases can be very complex and take months or even years to resolve. During that time, medical bills may continue to grow and medical providers or governmental benefit agencies may assert a lien. While we recommend that you file all medical bills with your health insurance carrier, not everyone has healthcare insurance coverage to help take on the financial burden associated with a serious injury. Our experienced team can help ease that burden by sending a letter of protection to your medical providers which is a legal promise that your medical bills will be paid out of your settlement finds when your case is closed. Additionally, medical providers and lien holders may reduce your bills at our request.
What questions should I ask a personal injury attorney before I hire them?
1. Do you only handle personal injury cases and what experience do you have as it pertains to my type of case?
Some lawyers and law firms wear many hats. Others sell a dream, but can not back it up. For instance, some law firms may practice criminal law (i.e. DUIs), handle real estate closings, probate, etc. Other law firms may advertise on TV and billboards to make it appear that their law firm is capable of handling car wrecks, nursing home abuse, negligence cases, or cases involving catastrophic injuries. Do not be tricked. Instead, ask the attorney about their experience with personal injury cases or cases similar to yours, as for results, ask their plan of action for your case, and simply ask questions.
Calling our law firm is free and contacting us is simple through text, email, website, or phone. Feidler Law Firm does nothing but personal injury and is fully dedicated to the personal injury field.
2. What do your previous clients have to say about your law firm and what are some previous results?
While this is a valid question to ask, it may be best to research this information on your own as well. Look at the law firm’s website for results or testimonials. Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and other online reviews are also good sources of information and usually verified valid information. The law firm should also have a few examples of results. Just keep in mind that not every case is alike and just because a lawyer achieved a certain result in a similar case, this does not mean the lawyer will achieve the same result in your case. Finally, rely on your own experience with the lawyer and law firm.
As we like to say, the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. We also believe our actions speak louder than words. Were you able to make contact with the law firm, or have you reached out several times? When you made contact with the law firm were they nice to you and seem compassionate? We believe clients should be treated like family and we constantly remind ourselves that we should feel privileged and honored that you decided to reach out to our law firm after suffering a devastating injury.
3. How much will I be involved with my case and will you keep me updated?
A good personal injury lawyer and law firm will take the time to explain the process to you, make sure you are involved, and keep you updated as the case proceeds. I good personal injury lawyer and law firm will meet you in person, get to know you and your family, and dig deep into how these life-altering injuries have impacted your life.
Our law firm prefers to meet you in person at your home, so we can gather information, get to know you, and prepare you for the road ahead. If a lawsuit is filed you will be involved in any settlement negotiations, participate in a deposition and possibly sit in on other depositions, participate in mediation, and of course, participate in trial preparation and the actual trial.
While we try our hardest to handle the stress of a personal injury lawsuit, we do need your involvement and outside of your deposition, mediation, and trial, we can normally keep you updated however you prefer. We will ask you at the front-end how often you prefer to be updated and what form of communication is best. For instance, do you prefer a bi-weekly update via e-mail or do you prefer a phone call at the end of every month?
Of course, our clients are encouraged to reach out to us at any time if they have questions, concerns, or simply want an update.
4. What resources will you devote to me and my case?
Personal injury cases can cost tens of thousands of dollars in-order to proceed to trial and can be very expensive on the front end, even before a lawsuit is filed. For instance, experts are required by law in both nursing home abuse cases and medical malpractice cases. You want to make sure your personal injury lawyer is willing and able to pay for these upfront costs.
Should I hire a personal injury attorney?
We know people are reluctant to hire a personal injury attorney. Thankfully, most people have never been in a situation where they are asking themselves “do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?” However, if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing, you should consider reaching out to an attorney for a free consultation. The lawyer will listen to your facts and be able to tell you what options you have, including whether or not to proceed with legal representation.
The following are some examples of when you would likely benefit from hiring a personal injury attorney.
1. You were in an accident that was not your fault and medical bills are piling up.
By hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, you will be able to focus on healing your injuries and getting your life back on track while the attorney focuses on maximizing the value of your case. Severe injuries, rehabilitation, and even future medical costs can seem overwhelming, but a personal injury attorney will help ensure all your medical bills are paid and any future costs are considered when negotiating a possible settlement. An attorney can also help gather evidence, speak with witnesses, negotiate with the insurance company, and guide you through the process to maximize the value of your case.
2. You keep getting the run-around from the insurance company and the insurance adjuster has stalled negotiations or stonewalled you.
Insurance companies rarely admit fault and in most cases, you are unlikely to receive fair compensation without a lawyer who has experience dealing with insurance companies and adjusters. An experienced lawyer can look at the facts, investigate the incident, speak with witnesses, ask the right questions, and if need be, hire experts that can all help prove that you are not at fault and should be compensated. Insurance companies also stall and stonewall personal injury claims, understanding the stress of medical bills and other expenses could cause an unrepresented injured party to settle out of frustration. However, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will keep the claim process moving.
3. You were involved in a car accident where the other driver was driving under the influence (i.e. DUI).
Motor vehicle accidents can be complicated on their own, but even more, complicated when it is an accident involving drunk driving. These types of cases are usually more complex because there may be multiple parties who are accountable, including bars, restaurants, and other parties. In South Carolina, there are dramp shop laws that hold bars and restaurants accountable when they over-serve an at-fault driver who injuries or harms someone the car accident caused. Typically there is much more insurance coverage and money on the line, so the bar or restaurant will fight and defend the case vigorously. Our law firm has experience with cases involving accidents caused by drunk drivers.
4. You were involved in a car accident with a commercial vehicle (i.e. 18-wheeler).
Accidents involving commercial vehicles usually cause more damage and severe injuries. There is also much more insurance coverage when a commercial vehicle is involved. Much like accidents involving drunk drivers, the insurance companies are not cooperative and rarely admit liability. Our law firm has experience with cases involving commercial vehicles.
5. I suspect my loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home.
You and your family trusted the nursing home with the care of your loved one, but now your loved one has been injured (i.e. broken bones) or developed a pressure ulcer and the nursing home is not providing answers to your questions. Cases involving nursing homes can be very complicated and usually, experts must get involved. Our law firm has extensive experience standing up against nursing homes and the billion-dollar companies that usually own, manage, and profit at the expense of your loved one.
6. Victims with legal representation on average receive larger settlements.
An injured party is not always capable of reaching the best possible outcome for their case (in terms of compensation) because they are not trained negotiators or know the law and nuances associated with a personal injury claim. An injured party who seeks the services of a personal injury attorney, on the other hand, tends to receive larger settlements across the board. According to a report conducted by the Insurance Research Council, settlements were 40% higher when claimants were represented by a lawyer.
7. There is no cost to you unless the attorney reaches a settlement or verdict.
One of the most common concerns about hiring an attorney is the subject of cost. Our law firm offers free consultations and unless we reach a settlement or verdict in your favor, you will never owe us anything. You pay nothing unless you win. There are also no costs upfront and no retainer. Our law firm pays all upfront costs and is only reimbursed if you are compensated. Any costs and fees are simply deducted if you win.
When should I not hire a personal injury attorney?
We will be the first to admit that not everyone needs a personal injury attorney. Typically the circumstances have to be just right for someone to successfully manage their case and get a fair settlement offer. If your injuries are minimal or there are no injuries at all, it is probably best to handle the case on your own. Minor accidents happen every single day, and in many cases, nobody is injured and there is usually just vehicle damage. Of course, it does not hurt to call a personal injury attorney for a free consultation. In situations like this, we normally tell people they are probably better off handling things themselves. We are always available to provide answers to any questions you may have.
What should I expect if I move forward with a personal injury attorney?
After you sign paperwork with our personal injury law firm, our office meets with you in person to discuss all the facts and what to expect moving forward. If we are unable to settle before filing a lawsuit, we then meet with you and discuss filing a lawsuit.
Once the lawsuit is filed on your behalf, you are known as the plaintiff and the at-fault party is known as the defendant. Lawyers for each side (and for the insurer) typically begin gathering facts through the exchange of documents, written questions (interrogatories), and depositions (questions that are asked in person and answered under oath). This process is called discovery and can take months and in some cases a year or more. The discovery phase is the most important because your lawyer and legal team are gathering facts and evidence to build the value of your case and also discover any issues with your case.
After discovery, all the parties conduct mediation where the parties sit down with a mediator, usually a retired judge or experienced attorney, and attempt to settle the case before proceeding to trial. Settlements are never guaranteed and at times the case proceeds to trial. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer and legal team will have built the case up from the beginning as if it was going to trial. That is where an experienced trial attorney can benefit you and your case.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Fee Arrangement
The Feidler Law Firm believes that everyone deserves high-quality legal representation, no matter their financial status. Therefore, we operate on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is where the attorney receives a percentage at the end of the case if the lawyer is able to settle your case or proceeds to trial and you receive a verdict. A verdict is where the jury finds the at-fault party liable and for how much.
This means the attorney fronts the costs of your case and only collects attorneys' fees if there is a settlement or verdict. Ideally, contingency fees range from 33% to 40%. It depends on the type of case (i.e. motor vehicle accident versus medical malpractice), and at times, what stage of your case a settlement is reached. For example, if you are able to secure a $100,000 settlement in your case, your lawyer’s fee will be between 33% to 40% of that, which would be $33,000 to $40,000. However, if you are unable to receive any recovery, you do not owe the lawyer anything. That includes the costs of pursuing your claim.
The Feidler Law Firm is here to help. Submit your information through our web form, or call The Feidler Law Firm at 843-790-9015 for a FREE consultation to discuss your case.