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What Defines Personal Injury?

People may tell you to file a personal injury claim if you get hurt. That’s where you blame and sue someone and get lots of money, right? Not exactly. The cause of your injury must qualify, and there’s no guarantee you will suddenly become rich. However, a competent personal injury attorney from Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers can help with your claim and seek the maximum compensation you deserve.

What Defines Personal Injury?

What Is a Personal Injury?

Injuries account for approximately 35% of the 140 million emergency room visits in the U.S. every year, but only some of these patients qualify to file a personal injury claim.

Cause of Injury

Legally, another party must cause your wounds to have a valid personal injury claim. Common causes include:

Blaming someone else for your accident is not the same as having proof of their wrongdoing. To hold another party liable for compensation, you must justify your claim. Your lawyer can investigate your accident and gather supporting evidence.


Negligence is the grounds for the majority of personal injury claims. Negligent behavior is an action or lack of action that does not match the level of care reasonable people would take in the same situation. To prove negligence, your personal injury lawyer must show that:

  1. Someone owed you a duty of care.
  2. That party breached their duty of care.
  3. The breach caused an accident.
  4. You sustained injury or other damages directly resulting from the accident.

A distracted driver who collides with your car and injures you is an example of negligence.

Intentional Wrongs

Unfortunately, some people set out to cause harm intentionally. Examples include:

  • Assault or battery
  • Issuing threats or other methods of causing emotional distress
  • False imprisonment
  • Trespassing or damaging property
  • Invasion of privacy

Slandering someone’s reputation is also an intentional wrong.

Strict Liability

Manufacturers and other parties in supply chains are liable for the goods they produce or sell. Defective products like toys that present a choking hazard and drugs that don’t work correctly are common examples.

Type of Injury

Although you probably associate physical wounds with a personal injury, others apply. Emotional or mental trauma and reputational damage often give you grounds to file a claim.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

If the cause and type of your injuries qualify, you can file a claim seeking compensation from the guilty parties. Insurance claims are usually the first step, not a lawsuit. In fact, a settlement agreement, rather than a trial, resolves most personal injury claims.

While filing an insurance claim and waiting for a check may sound easy, it’s not. Insurance companies don’t like paying claims and often knowingly present meager settlement offers.

Once you sign a settlement agreement, you lose your right to seek compensation for the same damages in the future. Accepting the initial offer usually means your payout is significantly less than it should be.

You can file a personal injury claim on your own, but people who hire an attorney typically obtain much more compensation than those without legal representation. That’s because we understand the potential legal pitfalls, how insurance companies operate and how to protect your rights.

What Can Complicate Your Personal Injury Claim?

Every accident, injury and case is different. However, many claimants in South Carolina may face similar challenges.

Multiple At-Fault Parties

Many times, more than one person contributes to causing an accident. Each state has laws that address this possibility. South Carolina uses modified comparative negligence with a 51% bar to determine who can seek compensation and how much they can receive.

In any claim, each party receives an assigned percentage of fault. In South Carolina, if you are more than 50% to blame, you cannot recover damages. If you do qualify, your degree of assigned fault reduces possible payouts.

Suppose your claim value is $100,000, and you are 25% responsible for causing your accident. The most compensation you can receive is $75,000.

Opposing insurance companies often blame victims unfairly to reduce their monetary liability. Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers ensures that your assigned fault is accurate and fair.

Statutes of Limitations

For most personal injury cases in South Carolina, you have a three-year deadline to file a claim. However, some exceptions apply to this rule. If you miss the applicable deadline, you typically lose your right to file a claim.

Government Involvement

If a government agency contributes in any way to causing your accident, strict rules, protocols and deadlines apply. Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers can jump through these hoops for you.

Making Unintentional Mistakes

Several things you do or don’t do can damage your case, such as:

  • Admitting fault
  • Failing to seek a medical assessment or continue recommended treatments
  • Falsifying your injuries and their impact on your life
  • Allowing insurance companies to record conversations
  • Discussing your accident, injury or claim on social media

Your attorney will advise you about specific do’s and don’ts.

Proving the Accident Caused Your Injuries

Insurance companies may say you didn’t receive your injuries from the accident or that they aren’t as serious as you claim. They often attack your credibility, especially if you seek compensation for non-economic damages.

Are There Different Kinds of Damages?

The goal of a personal injury claim is to obtain compensation for your damages. The value of each case is unique, but Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers can tell you how much yours is worth.

Economic Damages

You may receive monetary reimbursement for accident- and injury-related expenses, such as:

  • Medical treatments
  • Lost wages
  • Replacement services
  • Property damage

Economic damages match the amount of eligible costs, so keep invoices and receipts. In some cases, you may qualify to obtain future medical expenses and lost wages. Ask your Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers legal team if you are eligible.

Non-Economic Damages

Many injuries produce effects that linger long after physical wounds heal. You might obtain compensation for eligible conditions, including:

  • Anxiety, depression and PTSD
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Personal relationship damages

These conditions are difficult to quantify, so insurance companies often object to paying these damages fairly. The severity and duration affect how much you can receive. The more these conditions impact your life, the higher your payout will likely be.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

A personal injury attorney’s job is to advocate for your right to fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries. Everything we do is to protect your best interests. We understand you need to recover, so let us handle things like:

  • Providing case-specific information and advice
  • Administrative tasks
  • Investigating your accident
  • Communicating with insurance company representatives
  • Negotiating a favorable settlement or taking your case to trial

Insurance companies typically employ teams of lawyers. Can you afford not to hire one of your own?

Why Hire Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers?

Since 1999, Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers has helped injured victims in South Carolina pursue many types of personal injury claims. Our awards, high ratings and the millions of dollars we have won for our clients demonstrate our ability to handle your claim successfully.

The first step is requesting your free, no-obligation case evaluation. We will assess your case and tell you how we can help. Contact Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers today by calling (803) 200-2000, via live chat or by submitting our online contact form.

Contact Us Today!


It's free to speak with us about your case, and if you hire us, we don't get paid unless we win.

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Our Locations

Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers

1333 Main St #510,
Columbia, SC 29201

(803) 373-1668

Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers

5465 Sunset Blvd Suite B,
Lexington, SC 29072

(803) 373-1302

Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers

161 Elliott St SE Suite B,
Orangeburg, SC 29115

(803) 373-7593

Jeffcoat Injury and Car Accident Lawyers

749-2 University Village Dr,
Blythewood, SC 29016

(803) 592-6553

! NOTICE ! No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues or problems.

Files are primarily handled in our main office in Columbia.

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