Charleston Personal Injury Lawyer
If you get hurt in a car, truck, pedestrian, motorcycle, or some other sort of accident in the Charleston, South Carolina area, where do you turn for help? You have potential legal rights that need to be protected, and you may be owed compensation for your injuries, missed time from work, pain and suffering, and more. The experienced Charleston personal injury lawyers at Mickelsen Dalton are here to help. Our goal is to help our clients get everything they deserve.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
After being injured in an accident, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. One of the most common is “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?” More often than not, you’re going to benefit from consulting with a lawyer. Below are some situations in which you should definitely consider hiring a personal injury lawyer:
The Other Party is Disputing Liability
If the other party involved in your accident is disputing liability, you’ll need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will investigate the accident, collect evidence, and build a strong case to prove that the other party is at fault. Without an attorney, you’ll likely have a difficult time getting what you’re entitled to.
You Have Severe Injuries
If you’ve been in an accident and sustained severe personal injuries — broken bones, traumatic brain injury, disfigurement, or paralysis — you will likely have high medical bills and a long road to recovery ahead of you. In cases like these, it’s in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system and get the compensation you need to cover your expenses.
The Insurance Company is Being Difficult
Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with when it comes to reimbursement for medical bills and other expenses related to an accident. If you’re not getting the answers or assistance you need from your insurance company, it may be time to seek legal counsel. A good personal injury lawyer will know how to work with insurance adjusters and get you the settlement you’re entitled to.
Mickelsen Dalton Handles All Types of Injury & Accident Cases
Here at our law firm, we handle all types of personal injury claims. This includes, but is not limited to, those involving catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. If you don’t see your specific situation on the list below, contact us—we can help.
We routinely handle injury cases involving:
- Car accidents: Car accidents are, unfortunately, an all-too-common occurrence on our roads. They can range from minor fender-benders to severe collisions involving several vehicles. Regardless of the severity, it is essential to understand your rights and responsibilities following an accident. Car accident claims in Charleston typically involve negligence, such as careless or reckless driving, distracted driving, speeding, or failure to yield. In these cases, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages incurred.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcycle accidents generally result in more severe injuries compared to car accidents due to the exposed nature of motorcycle riders. Like car accidents, motorcycle accidents often involve negligent behavior such as failure to check blind spots or recognize a motorcycle’s presence on the road. Injuries sustained can include broken bones, road rash, and spinal cord injuries. With the help of a Charleston motorcycle accident lawyer, victims may be able to recover compensation for medical costs, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.
- Slips and falls: Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere – in stores, on sidewalks, or even in the workplace. These claims fall under the umbrella of premises liability, where the property owner or caretaker is responsible for maintaining a safe environment. Common causes of slip and fall accidents include wet or slippery surfaces, uneven flooring, and poor lighting. Injuries can range from minor bruises to broken bones or head trauma, depending on the circumstances. Compensation awarded can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Truck accidents: Truck accidents can be more catastrophic due to their size and weight. These cases often involve negligence on the part of the truck driver or the trucking companies. Common causes of truck accidents include driver fatigue, improper or inadequate training, and poor maintenance of the vehicle. Victims of truck accidents can suffer from life-altering injuries or even death, and may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages.
- Wrongful death: The loss of a loved one is always a tragic experience, but when their death is caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can be particularly distressing. Wrongful death claims provide an avenue for seeking justice and compensation that eases the financial burdens associated with the loss of a family member. Such cases may arise from incidents like car accidents, defective products, or even medical malpractice. Our experienced team of wrongful death attorneys will work tirelessly to build a strong case on your behalf, ensuring that the responsible party is held accountable for their actions.
These are just a few of the types of cases our law firm handles. We also handle the following:
- Bicycle Accidents
- Boat Accidents
- Brain Injury
- Burn Injury
- Car Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Negligent Security
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Product Liability
- Slip & Fall
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Truck Accidents
- Uber & Lyft Accidents
- Wrongful Death
If you’ve been involved in a type of accident that you don’t see listed here, we may still be able to help. Please contact us so we can help you determine your next steps.
How Mickelson Dalton Can Help After a Personal Injury in Charleston
As personal injury lawyers, we know that the stress of being involved in an accident can be enormous. That’s why we take all of the pressure off of you. We fight for you, letting you focus on recovering, mentally and physically.
When Mickelsen Dalton takes your case, our injury attorneys will:
- Analyze your case, including any evidence you may have, and we listen to what happened.
- Create strategies to help with your case
- Pursue fair compensation, including conducting settlement negotiations
Since opening our doors, we have fought hard for our clients, and we’ll fight hard for you!
What Do I Need to Win My South Carolina Personal Injury Case?
There are laws in place regarding personal injury cases in South Carolina. To prove you have a case, you must prove that your injuries result from negligence. State law dictates that you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit from the date of the accident.
Negligence has four main elements:
Duty: The first element you must prove is that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act in a certain way to avoid causing you harm. The type of duty owed will depend on the relationship between you and the defendant. For example, drivers owe other drivers on the road a duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. Doctors owe their patients a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care.
Breach: The second element you must prove is that the defendant breached their duty by failing to act in the required way. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits another car, they have breached their duty to drive safely. If a doctor fails to diagnose an obvious condition, they may have breached their duty to provide a reasonable standard of care.
Causation: You must also prove causation. Causation means that but for the defendant’s breach, you would not have been injured. In other words, your injury must have been caused by the defendant’s failure to live up to their legal obligation. If you cannot prove causation, then you will not be successful in your negligence claim.
Damages: Finally, you must prove damages. This means that you suffered some type of harm as a result of the defendant’s breach. The type of harm can be physical, emotional, or financial. If you cannot show that you suffered some type of harm, then you will not be able to recover damages from the defendant and your negligence claim will fail.
To win your case, we must show negligence caused your injuries. We can help you prove it and fight for you if you believe you have a case.
South Carolina’s Comparative Negligence Law
In South Carolina, if you are injured in an accident that was partially your fault, you may still be able to recover damages. This is because of the state’s comparative negligence law. Under this law, as long as you are less than 51% responsible for an accident, you can recover damages from the other party or parties involved.
How does this work in practice? Let’s say that you are involved in a car accident. It is determined that your percentage of responsibility is 49%. Under South Carolina’s comparative negligence law, you would still be able to recover damages from the other driver since you are less than 51% at fault.
However, any damages that you do recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if you are awarded $10,000 in damages, but are found to be 49% at fault, your recovery will be reduced to $4,900.
What Should I Do After Getting Injured in South Carolina?
If you are a victim of a personal injury case, here are some steps to help you:
Report the Accident
If you’ve been involved in an accident, the first thing you should do is report it—even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. This is important because insurance companies often require that accidents be reported as soon as possible after they occur. Furthermore, reporting the accident will create a paper trail that may come in handy later on if you decide to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If you have been injured in an accident, it’s important to begin gathering evidence as soon as possible. This can include taking pictures of the accident scene, getting contact information from witnesses, and saving any documents related to the accident, such as a police report or medical records.
Get Medical Treatment
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s important to seek medical treatment right away—even if your injuries seem minor. This is because some injuries (such as internal bleeding) may not be immediately apparent but can still be very serious. Furthermore, getting prompt medical treatment will create a record of your injuries that will be helpful if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit at a later date.
Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
After an accident, one of the best things you can do is speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can answer your questions, explain your legal rights and options, and help you navigate the legal process. Call Mickelsen Dalton to schedule your free consultation.
These steps can help us prove your case. They can help show that you were not at fault for the injuries that you sustained.
How Long Do I Have To File a Personal Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you were under 18 when you sustained the injury, you may have additional time to file a lawsuit. It’s always best to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible so you don’t miss the deadline.
Recovering Compensation After an Charleston Accident
When you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages. Damages are designed to make you “whole again” by placing a monetary value on the losses you suffered. There are two primary types that might be available: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are those that are quantifiable in monetary terms. They include things like:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages (present and future)
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages include losses that are more difficult to quantify than economic damages. They include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
There is no set standard for calculating non-economic damages—each case is unique. To help determine an appropriate amount for non-economic damages, most injury attorneys will consider factors like the severity of your injuries, how long you were in pain, whether your injuries resulted in any long-term effects or disability, and whether your relationships with family or friends were affected by your injuries.
Punitive damages, in contrast to compensatory damages, are not meant to reimburse the injured party for their losses. Instead, the purpose of punitive damages is twofold:
- Punish the defendant: Punitive damages act as a financial penalty for the defendant, ensuring they are held accountable for their actions.
- Deter future misconduct: By imposing a monetary penalty, punitive damages deter both the specific defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
Punitive damages are not available in all personal injury cases. They are reserved for situations where the defendant’s conduct is clearly beyond negligence — the defendant must have displayed willful, wanton, or reckless behavior.
South Carolina Personal Injury FAQs
Below we address some of the frequently asked questions we receive about personal injury claims.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
When it comes to hiring a lawyer, there are different types of fee arrangements. Mickelsen Dalton LLC use what’s called a “contingency fee.” Here’s how they work.
A contingency fee is a type of fee arrangement commonly used in civil cases, particularly in personal injury and certain other types of lawsuits. In this arrangement, the lawyer’s payment is contingent upon the outcome of the case. In other words, the lawyer only gets paid if they are successful in obtaining a favorable result for the client, such as a settlement or a judgment in the client’s favor.
When you hire a lawyer on a contingency fee basis, you typically do not have to pay any upfront fees or retainers. Instead, the lawyer will agree to represent you and cover the costs of the case, such as court filing fees, expert witness fees, and other expenses. These costs are often deducted from the final settlement or judgment if the case is successful.
If the lawyer is successful in securing compensation or a favorable outcome, they will take a percentage of the recovered amount as their fee. The percentage agreed upon is usually outlined in a written contingency fee agreement signed by both the lawyer and the client before the representation begins.
Contingency fees can be advantageous for clients who may not have the financial means to pay an attorney’s hourly rate or retainer. It allows individuals to seek legal representation without any upfront costs. Additionally, since the lawyer’s payment is tied to the case’s success, it incentivizes them to work diligently to obtain the best possible outcome for the client.
It’s important to consider that the percentage taken by the lawyer from the recovery can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the level of risk involved, and the customary practices in the specific area of law. Before entering into a contingency fee agreement, it is essential to discuss the terms and understand the lawyer’s fee structure fully.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster?
It is generally not advisable to talk to the insurance adjuster after an accident without a lawyer present, especially if you are not familiar with the legal process and your rights. Here’s why:
- Protecting Your Interests: Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, and their primary goal is to protect the interests of the company, not necessarily your best interests. Anything you say to the adjuster could potentially be used against you to minimize your claim or deny compensation.
- Complex Legalities: Personal injury claims involve legal complexities, and insurance adjusters are trained to navigate the process in a way that benefits the insurance company. Without legal representation, you might not fully understand your rights or the true value of your claim.
- Premature Settlement Offers: Insurance adjusters may try to offer a quick settlement before you fully understand the extent of your injuries and damages. Accepting such an offer could leave you with inadequate compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
- Missing Important Information: After an accident, you might not be aware of all the injuries or damages you sustained. Speaking with an insurance adjuster without complete information could result in undervaluing your claim.
- Recorded Statements: Insurance adjusters may ask you to provide a recorded statement about the accident. This statement can be used against you later if there are any inconsistencies or if you inadvertently say something that harms your claim.
- Legal Tactics: Insurance companies may use various tactics to reduce or deny claims, and without legal representation, you may not be able to effectively navigate or challenge these tactics.
It is in your best interest to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer before speaking to the insurance adjuster. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. They can negotiate with the insurance company and handle all communications, so you don’t inadvertently jeopardize your claim. If you have been injured in an accident, consider seeking legal counsel before engaging with the insurance adjuster.
How Much is My Case Worth?
The value of a personal injury case can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Some of the factors that can affect the value of a personal injury case include:
- The severity of the injuries. The more severe the injuries, the higher the value of the case.
- The long-term effects of the injuries. If the injuries are likely to have long-term effects, such as disability or pain, the value of the case will be higher.
- The impact of the injuries on the victim’s life. If the injuries have had a significant impact on the victim’s life, such as loss of income or ability to work, the value of the case will be higher.
- The fault of the other party. If the other party was clearly at fault for the accident, the value of the case will be higher.
- The availability of insurance. If the other party has insurance, the value of the case will be higher.
It is important to note that these are just some of the factors that can affect the value of a personal injury case. The actual value of a case will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case.
What Evidence Will Be Used in My Case?
The evidence that may be used in your personal injury case will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. However, some common types of evidence that may be used in personal injury cases include:
- Medical records. Medical records can show the extent of your injuries and the cost of your medical treatment.
- Witness statements. Witness statements can provide evidence of the accident and the injuries you sustained.
- Police reports. Police reports can provide evidence of the accident and the circumstances surrounding it.
- Expert testimony. Expert testimony can provide evidence about the nature and extent of your injuries, the cost of your medical treatment, and the impact of your injuries on your life.
- Photographs or videos. Photographs or videos can provide evidence of the accident and the injuries you sustained.
In addition to these common types of evidence, there may be other types of evidence that are relevant to your case. For example, if your case involves a product liability claim, you may need to provide evidence about the design or manufacture of the product that caused your injuries.
Our Experienced Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers Are Ready to Help
Mickelsen Dalton are trial lawyers who are ready to help you with your claim. We can promise to fight for the compensation owed to you, and we will not settle for less than you deserve. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with our Charleston personal injury attorneys. You can schedule online or call our law firm at (843)804-0428. We serve clients throughout South Carolina and across the United States.