Our Personal Injury and Child Abuse FAQs
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How do I know if I have a valid personal injury claim?
Personal injury claims are civil actions allowing individuals to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering when they’ve suffered injuries caused by another party’s negligence. However, these cases have specific legal requirements you must meet.
Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
In order to have a personal injury claim, there must be a responsible negligent party. This means you must be able to prove another person is liable for you or your loved one’s pain and suffering.
There are four elements to winning your case:
- Duty. The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- Breach of Duty. The defendant’s actions failed to uphold the required duty of care.
- Causation. Your damages are caused solely by the defendant’s actions and not attributed to some other cause.
- Damages. Breach of duty caused you specific harm, such as medical costs and lost wages.
These elements are the same in every type of personal injury claim, including car accidents, slip and fall cases, and dog bite injuries. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a different standard of proof for a civil personal injury case compared to a criminal charge.
To win your personal injury claim, you don’t need to prove fault beyond a reasonable doubt. You must only prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is responsible. This means that it’s more likely than not that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries.
Evidence in a Personal Injury Claim
Types of evidence you might use to support your personal injury claim include:
- Photographs from the accident scene
- Surveillance video
- Testimony from witnesses
- Police reports
- Expert testimony
You’ll also need to document your damages by providing proof of financial harm you’ve suffered. This includes copies of medical bills and pay stubs showing lost wages.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
Hite and Stone’s legal team is committed to protecting the rights of South Carolina residents who’ve been injured due to the negligence of others. If you are unsure whether your injuries qualify for compensation, our South Carolina personal injury attorneys are available for free consultations today.
I am unable to work after suffering an injury at work. Can I obtain compensation for my injuries?
Under South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries you suffered at work due to your employer’s, a co-worker’s, or even your own negligence. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in our state, which means that you could receive benefits regardless of the cause of your accident. Here, we explain the types of workers’ compensation benefits that you may receive.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in South Carolina
Although workers’ compensation is not based on fault, this does not mean that your employer’s insurance company will voluntarily pay you the benefits that you are entitled to. It is important to understand the types of benefits that you can receive to protect your rights and receive what you are owed.
Types of benefits you may deserve include:
- Medical care. Your employer or its insurance company must pay for all necessary medical care for your injuries, such as surgery, doctor visits, physical therapy, and prescriptions. However, your employer has the right to pick the doctor that treats you, and you would not be entitled to medical benefits if you did not use this doctor.
- Temporary disability benefits. If you must take off work for more than seven days, you could be entitled to temporary disability benefits. This is a weekly payment that reimburses you for two-thirds of your wages up to a maximum amount set each January. The maximum weekly benefit in 2018 is $838.21, and you can find this information on the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission website.
- Permanent total disability benefits. If you suffer a permanent total disability, you may be entitled to additional total disability benefits of two-thirds of your wages. Generally, you would be entitled to this for a maximum of 500 weeks. In addition, you only would be entitled to this if you suffered a narrowly defined list of serious injuries, like loss of both hands, arms, feet, legs, eyes, or a combination of two of these losses.
- Partial total disability benefits. If you suffered a partial permanent impairment, you may also receive additional weekly benefits up to a set maximum number of weeks. The benefits can be a scheduled award, which is a list of certain disability with a set benefit amount, unscheduled award, which is a disability not on the scheduled list, or for disfigurement.
- Travel expenses. You may be entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses to receive needed medical care.
- Vocational rehabilitation. If you are unable to return to your former job due to your injuries, you may be able to receive vocational rehabilitation services to help you identify a new career and help you find a new job.
- Death benefits. If a loved one died in a workplace accident, you may be entitled to death benefits if you were his spouse, children, or another dependent.
- Funeral expenses. A family can receive up to $2,500 to pay for funeral and burial expenses for a worker killed in an accident.
At Hite & Stone, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping our injured clients fight for the workers’ compensation benefits that they deserved. We are a family-oriented law firm that believes in fighting hard for our clients’ rights no matter how serious their injury was. To learn how we can help you, call our office to schedule your free consultation today.
How do I file a workers’ compensation claim?
When you suffer an injury in a workplace accident or develop an illness due to your job, you may be entitled to benefits under South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws. The workers' compensation program is a no-fault system which would pay you benefits regardless of who was at fault for causing your accident. However, you must follow the state’s laws on how and when to file a claim. It can feel overwhelming to figure out what you must do when you are in pain and coping with your injuries. Here, we explain the basics of how to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Reporting Your Injury Is the First Step in Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim
Your first concern should be obtaining the immediate medical care that you need for your injuries. Your next step should be to notify your employer of your injury or occupational illness. Under South Carolina law, you are required to report this to your employer within 90 days of your injury or development of an illness. However, it would be best to notify your employer as soon as possible after your accident. While it is acceptable to tell your employer orally, you should also notify your employer in writing and keep a copy of the notice for your records.
If you fail to inform your employer of your injury within this 90-day time period, you could waive your right to benefits. However, there may be exceptions to this deadline, so it is best to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on whether you can still report your injury.
How Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Filed
Your employer is required to file your workers’ compensation claim within 10 days of the date that you inform them of your injury or illness. You may need to file your own claim in these situations:
- Your employer fails to file your claim within 10 days.
- Your employer denies responsibility for paying your workers’ comp benefits.
- You do not believe that you are receiving the benefits that you deserve.
You must file your claim within two years of your workplace accident or two years of the diagnosis of a work-related illness. However, like with reporting your accident, you strengthen your claim by filing your claim as soon as possible if this is necessary. You would do so by filing a Form 50 with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Do you need to file a workers’ comp claim in South Carolina? Let our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys take over the burden of filing your claim and negotiating your settlement so that you receive what you are entitled to. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation today.
What are the most common slip and fall injuries?
Unfortunately, many people are injured or killed in slip and fall accidents every year, and the dangers of one of these preventable accidents are everywhere. Failing to clean up spills, repair worn carpet or flooring, or repair parking lot cracks and potholes are just some of the ways that business and property owners create unsafe conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents. If you suffered injuries in a fall due to negligence, you may be able to hold the business or property owner responsible for compensating you for your injuries—with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Common Injuries That You Could Suffer in a Slip and Fall Accident
Many people are under the misconception that slip and fall accidents are not that serious—until one happens to them. However, the reality is that slip and fall victims suffer debilitating injuries that can require months or longer of medical treatments before they recover—if that is even possible. Some of the most common injuries victims suffer include:
- Head injuries. A victim could suffer a concussion, skull fracture, hemorrhage, or traumatic brain injury (TBI) if his head hits a hard floor or other surface in a fall. A TBI is probably the most serious brain injury caused by these accidents. It can cause devastating permanent changes to a person’s hearing, vision, mobility, reasoning, emotions, memory, and much more. People who suffer with a TBI may not be able to return to work, and even day-to-day activities may be challenging without assistance.
- Hip fractures. A victim who suffers a hip fracture in a fall may need surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation period to recover from his injury. When the victim is elderly, the risk is greater that he will not make a full recovery and that he will suffer complications—possibly resulting in his death.
- Back and spinal cord injuries. If the spinal cord is injured, a victim could suffer partial or complete paralysis and need life-long medical care and assistance with his basic daily needs. Broken vertebrae, slipped or herniated disks, or muscle or tendon strains and tears can cause a victim to suffer with chronic pain and limitations in movement while he undergoes surgery, physical therapy, and other treatments for his injuries.
- Shoulder injuries. A common shoulder injury caused in a slip and fall accident is a shoulder dislocation, which is also known as a brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus are the nerves that connect the spinal cord to a person’s shoulder, arm, and hand. Surgery and physical therapy are often required to treat this very painful injury.
- Sprains, tears, and fractures. A person can suffer muscle and tendon tears and sprains in his knee, ankle, wrist, or other body parts that can cause pain and limitations of movement during the months or longer of medical care. Fractures are also common, and serious ones may require multiple surgeries to repair the damage.
Let Us Help You Fight for the Compensation That You Deserve
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the negligent business or property owner. Let our experienced slip and fall attorneys take over the burden of filing your claim and negotiating the settlement that you are entitled to so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. We are a family-owned firm that takes pride in putting our client’s interests first. To learn how we can help you, call our office today.
What are the most common causes of car accidents?
Car accidents are extremely common in the United States, with an estimated five to six million police-reported crashes occurring each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The leading causes of car accidents fall into one of two broad categories: human error or choice, and anything—and everything—else.
Human error is the most common cause of vehicle collisions, playing a role in more than 94 percent of crashes. Examples of accident causes attributed to driver error include:
- Distracted driving. In 2015 alone, approximately 391,000 people were injured—and 3,477 were killed—in accidents caused by distracted driving behaviors such as talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, drinking, or using an in-vehicle entertainment or navigation system.
- Drunk driving. More than 10,000 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2015, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic-related fatalities.
- Reckless driving. Driver behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, weaving, making improper lane changes, and ignoring traffic signs and signals result in thousands of accidents and injuries each year.
- Drowsy driving. In 2013, fatigued drivers caused approximately 72,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths, according to NHTSA estimates.
Some of the most common causes of the remaining six percent of accidents include:
- Vehicle design defects
- Poorly designed roads
- Inadequate road maintenance
- Inclement weather conditions
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered serious injuries or other losses in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Hite & Stone, Attorneys at Law, have been protecting the rights of injured victims since 1982. Our knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorneys can help you explore your legal rights. Contact Hite & Stone today to schedule an appointment for a free initial review of your car accident case.