Personal Injury Lawyers in Columbia, SC
Adapting to life after a serious injury is challenging and often unpredictable. Coping with the physical, financial and emotional consequences of an accident caused by someone else’s thoughtless actions is an unfair burden that no one deserves – especially you. Contact our Columbia personal injury lawyer today.
If you’ve been hurt in South Carolina, you need a caring and skilled personal injury attorney who will fight to make things right. You need to talk to the Columbia personal injury lawyers at The Jeffcoat Firm.
The Jeffcoat Firm covers all of South Carolina, and from our offices in Columbia and Lexington, we serve all of Richland, Lexington, and Orangeburg Counties and surrounding areas throughout the Midlands. We know how a single moment of negligence can change the course of someone’s life forever. No matter if you’ve been injured in a car accident, at work, or in someone’s backyard, our litigators have the knowledge and power to build a solid case on your behalf.
We take an aggressive legal approach to every case. But we never sacrifice compassion for competence. At The Jeffcoat Firm, we emphasize an open attorney-client relationship from the very beginning. That means you don’t need to worry about unreturned phone calls or emails. You just need to focus on healing. Let us do the rest.
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How Our Columbia Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You
People are often surprised to find how quickly insurance companies come calling after an accident occurs – sometimes when they are still lying in a hospital bed. There’s a strategy behind that prompt phone call. Insurance companies are often eager to reach settlements with injured people quickly because it saves them money. If you’re still in the acute stages of treatment, you have no real idea of how much your current and future medical expenses will be.
For example, symptoms of concussions or soft tissue damage may not emerge until weeks or more after an accident. If an insurance adjuster successfully gets an injured person to accept a lowball offer before the extent of the problems is diagnosed, he or she may collect a few thousand dollars only to find that their medical expenses skyrocket into the tens or hundred-thousand-dollar range.
Contacting our personal injury attorneys right away can prevent that scenario from happening to you. Once you hire The Jeffcoat Firm, we can negotiate directly with the insurance companies for you.
No Upfront Costs for Customized South Carolina Legal Services
Personal injury attorneys, including The Jeffcoat Firm, operate on a contingency fee basis. That means that you don’t pay anything unless we obtain a successful settlement or verdict on your behalf. This arrangement is beneficial for clients who would otherwise pay their lawyers on an hourly basis, which gets expensive fast.
During our first consultation, we will discuss contingency fees and determine what our percentage fee will be for your case. That percent will be deducted from the total settlement amount and other related expenses, with the remainder being disbursed to you once all bills are paid.
Our personal injury attorneys are very selective about the claims we handle. If we accept your case, you can rest assured that we believe that your case has merit. During every meeting or conversation, we will work together to develop a personalized legal strategy that takes all of your unique needs into account. That includes discussing your best chances for the maximum amount of compensation and whether it might best be achieved through a settlement, alternative dispute resolution or trial.
Our Personal Injury Practice Areas
The Jeffcoat Firm handles personal injury claims stemming from a wide variety of South Carolina accidents, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Premises liability/slip and fall
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective products
- Workplace injury/workers’ compensation
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Construction site injuries
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Boating accidents
- Wrongful death
Should You Take Legal Action? Ask our Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer.
Meeting with a lawyer can help verify if you have a valid claim and what legal options you may have. But the final decision about whether to take action always rests with you. You may decide that a lawsuit is not right for you and that you’d rather accept the insurance company’s settlement offer. It’s also possible that you will want to get a second opinion. Whether you hire The Jeffcoat Firm or another personal injury attorney, you should never feel pressured to make a choice either way.
That said, South Carolina does set limits on the amount of time you have to decide to file an injury claim. The statute of limitations for personal injury or wrongful death claims is generally three years from the date of the injury or death. The state’s “discovery rule” means the clock doesn’t start until the date you knew – or reasonably should have known – that an injury occurred and that someone else’s negligence caused it. It’s very important to speak with a lawyer before the deadline expires or you are likely to be barred from seeking any compensation through the court system.
Filing a South Carolina Personal Injury Claim
Our mission in any personal injury claim is simple: to obtain full and fair compensation for our clients’ injuries. To do that, we prepare each case meticulously so that your claim cannot easily be dismissed or diminished.
Our Columbia personal injury attorneys will:
- Provide friendly and detailed legal advice
- Put your interests first
- Conduct an in-depth investigation of the accident
- Review accident reports
- Collect photos of the accident scene, property damage, and injuries
- Order medical records
- Obtain wage loss proof from your employer
- Interview eyewitnesses
- Negotiate with insurance companies and their lawyers
- File all paperwork on time
- Use expert testimony to attest to the severity of your injury or disability
- Help with your immediate needs, such as getting a rental car
- Answer your questions by returning phone calls and emails on the same day
- Do whatever it takes to make the process as stress-free as possible.
How Do You Win a Personal Injury Case?
Prevailing in a personal injury case means that you must prove negligence. You must be able to show that:
- The at-fault party had a duty to exercise reasonable care towards you under the circumstances.
- The duty was breached.
- The defendant’s breach caused your injuries.
- You suffered actual damages as a result of the accident.
Take a car accident as an example. Let’s say that you were driving on the road when another motorist ran a red light and slammed into your car. The car is totaled and you suffered whiplash and broken bones. Using the elements of negligence, it can be shown that:
- By law, the driver who ran the light had a duty to protect you and every other motorist from harm.
- He or she breached that duty by running the light.
- That breach resulted in your injuries. Put another way, you would not have been injured but for the careless actions of the other driver.
- As a result, you sustained damages that can be compensated. This could include the damage to your car, medical bills, physical therapy, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
How Shared Fault Makes a Difference
Most accident cases are complex. Careful analysis may reveal that more than one party was at fault for the incident that injured you – including yourself. In cases where the fault is shared, South Carolina uses a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence to sort out how to award damages.
States handle comparative negligence differently. In South Carolina, it means that you can still recover compensation as long as you were not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you are barred from recovering any money at all.
Consider this example:
A jury found that you were 30 percent responsible for a slip and fall accident at your apartment complex. Your percentage of fault would be subtracted from the total possible award. In other words, you could only collect 70 percent of the compensation to account for your share of the negligence.
Our goal as attorneys is to minimize any negligence that may be attributed to our clients.
How Long Does It Take to Win an SC Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Every claim is different. Some may be resolved in a matter of months. Others take years. The timeframe can be impacted by several factors, such as:
- Delays during the investigative process (accessing records, conducting depositions, exchanging information, etc.)
- Stalling from insurance companies
- Unexpected developments (identifying a new defendant, a change in your medical condition, locating a witness who moved away, etc.)
- Back-and-forth attempts to negotiate a settlement
- A busy court calendar
During our many years of practice, we know that most clients want a swift resolution to their claims. That’s why lawyers at The Jeffcoat Firm always push for a settlement first. Trials are costly and time-consuming, so it is in everyone’s best interest to come to an agreement outside of the courtroom if possible.
What Types of Damages Could I Get?
South Carolina allows injured people to obtain compensation for several different kinds of damages:
- Economic: Money to cover expenses such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, prescription costs, rehabilitation, any adaptive equipment or pay for round-the-clock nursing care.
- Non-economic: Compensation for pain and suffering, inconvenience, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of companionship, mental anguish, humiliation and injury to reputation.
- Punitive damages: Punish the at-fault party for especially egregious misconduct in rare cases. South Carolina caps punitive damages in personal injury cases at $500,000 or three times the actual damages, whichever is greater.
What Can I Do to Help My Personal Injury Case?
The great thing about working with The Jeffcoat Firm is that we will do most of the legwork for you. However, there are several things that you can do to help your case:
- Seek medical treatment. Even if you feel fine, you should be examined by a doctor to make sure you don’t have any hidden injuries.
- Do not admit fault. Even if you believe you may be partly to blame for the accident, never say that to a police officer or anyone else.
- Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance company. Talk to our lawyers first.
- Go to all of your appointments. Missing follow-up visits to your physician or therapists can give insurance companies an incentive to dispute the severity of your injuries.
- Keep all of your bills. Most accident-related bills can be obtained if you lose them. But it can be useful to have as many as possible when you come to your initial consultation so that our attorneys understand the scope of your losses.
- Obtain your medical and employment records. Proof of your injuries and missed work will be critical components of your personal injury claim. But there can be a lengthy delay when lawyers request records. You may be able to expedite the process by getting them yourself.
- Keep a journal. We want to know your memories of the accident and of your experiences after the injury.
- Take photographs of your injuries. Documenting the healing process from start to finish can be a dramatic piece of evidence.
- Be careful what you say. It is really best not to talk about your pending personal injury claim with anyone except your attorney, therapist, or a trusted friend or family member.
Contact Our Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer Today!
Our Columbia personal injury attorneys and support staff answer calls 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. If you’ve been injured, we can put you on the path toward a secure financial future. Reach out to The Jeffcoat Firm today. Call us or contact us online now for a free confidential consultation that comes with no strings attached.