Who Is Responsible for My Workplace Injury?

Being injured on the job is an all-too-familiar experience for many of South Carolina’s workers. To be sure, in a single year, there were more than 35,000 non-fatal workplace injuries reported in the state, with an incidence rate of 2.9 per 100 full time workers. These numbers do not include the number of fatal workplace incidents. Being injured on the job is not only scary and shocking, leaving a worker with pain and potential disability, but it can also open the door to a number of questions, too. A hurt work may wonder who is responsible for their workplace injury, how they will pay for damages, and whether or not they have a cause of action for damages against their employer.

At the law offices of Peake & Fowler, our workers’ compensation attorneys can provide you with answers to these questions, and any others that surface during the recovery process.

Workers’ Compensation: A No-Fault System

The majority of workers who are injured on the job in South Carolina will benefit from workers’ compensation insurance. Rather than a traditional tort liability system–where an injured person recovers damages by virtue of proving fault and holding the at-fault party liable for harm–workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that workers neither have to prove fault in order to be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and disability, nor prove that their own actions were not the cause of the injury. In exchange for no-fault benefits, workers are barred from filing personal injury lawsuits in civil court against their employers; employers are protected from liability.

Who Gets Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Workers’ compensation benefits are available to the majority of workers’ in South Carolina, with exceptions for few industries (agriculture, railroad, etc.) and very small businesses. Otherwise, in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits, a worker need only prove that their injury occurred while on the job or while performing a work-related task. Then, they are able to recover compensation for lost wages at a rate of 66 ⅔ percent their average weekly wage, all necessary and reasonable medical expenses, and disability benefits.

Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer

As stated above, workers’ compensation in South Carolina is a no-fault insurance program under which employers are immune from liability, which means that injured employees cannot file a lawsuit directly against their employers. However, in some cases, the right to file suit may be preserved if the employee’s injury was the direct result of an employer’s intentional conduct. For example, an employee may be able to bring forth a suit against an employer if the injuries were caused by an act of employer assault and battery.

Filing a Third Party Liability Suit for Damages

In some cases, a third party other than your employer may be to blame for a workplace accident. For example, consider the following situations, where a third party is clearly at least partially at fault:

  • An injured worker is caught in-between a piece of machinery. Later, it is discovered that the accident occurred because an emergency shut-off function of the machine was defective as a result of manufacturer error.
  • A delivery driver is involved in a car accident. Rather than filing a claim for workers’ compensation despite the fact that the accident occurred while the worker was on the job, the employee files a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver involved in the crash, who was drunk at the time of collision.
  • A worker who is tasked with moving hazardous materials on a daily basis is involved in an explosion. An investigation reveals that the explosion occurred because the hazardous materials were improperly packaged and labeled, and did not contain a warning label explaining the danger of particular storage scenarios, contributing to the explosion.

In a third party liability claim, the injured worker is tasked with proving that their accident and injuries would not have occurred but for the negligent actions of the defendant. In some cases, it is possible to pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a third party liability claim.

Contact Our Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in South Carolina Today

If you are involved in a workplace accident, getting the compensation that you deserve is incredibly important. At the law offices of Peake & Fowler, our South Carolina attorneys have years’ worth of experience handling both workers’ compensation and third party liability claims. We will review your case for free, and provide you with the information and advice you’re looking for. When you hire our law firm, we offer aggressive representation that seeks to get you your full recovery amount. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation please contact us online or by phone today.

Burn Injuries – What You Need to Know

Burn injuries are some of the most painful types of injuries possible. The American Burn Association reports that approximately 486,000 people each year receive hospital and emergency room treatment for burns. This doesn’t take into account the thousands of burn injuries treated in clinics and private medical offices. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also reports that roughly 14,500 people die annually from either burns or burn-related infections.

The people most vulnerable to burn accidents and injuries include young children and older adults. Part of the reason this is true is that their skin is more delicate and sensitive. Another issue with these groups is that they may have less mobility in a fire situation. The fact is that a burn injury can occur in just about any setting, from a home to a business to a crashed car.

If you or a loved one have suffered from a burn injury, these are not only painful, but they also take a long time to heal. Burns that are severe can require treatment that is incredibly complicated and expensive. When those injuries were caused by the carelessness or negligence of another party, you have the right to make a claim for damages. Here are several things that you need to know about burn injuries and filing a burn injury claim.

Common Types of Burn Injuries

A majority of burn injuries are the result of contact with hot steam or flames, but some may also be caused by electricity, extreme cold, harsh chemicals, sunlight and other radiation, and friction. Depending on the extent of the exposure, burns are generally classified as first, second, or third-degree burns.

  • First-degree burns affect just the skin’s top layer, or the epidermis, with little to no further damage.
  • Second-degree burns will affect the entire epidermis as well as deeper layers. There will be significant pain as well as blistering and possible nerve damage. Infection and shock are possibilities with these burns.
  • Third-degree burns are the most serious type of burn that destroys the skin’s layers as well as underlying tissue, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. Because there is nerve damage, there may not be as much pain associated with these burns, but long-term implications will include significant scarring and surgery for skin grafts.

The treatment necessary for burn injuries depends on the nature and location of the injury. For example, a severe burn on a limb could require amputation while other burns may call for extensive plastic or cosmetic surgery.

Who Can File a Burn Injury Claim?

Burn injuries have far-reaching consequences. Not only can the medical care be costly, but a burn victim could be prevented from returning to work and suffer from severe emotional trauma as well. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of another party, you have the right to file a claim for fair and just compensation. Your Columbia, South Carolina burn injury attorney will evaluate your case and speak to you about your legal options.

Typical Sites of Burn Injuries

Where your accident and burn injury took place could determine the direction of your case. For example, many serious burn incidents happen on the job, where there might be explosions, fires, and risk of electrocution. Your right to recovery in these cases would fall under your employer’s workplace accident coverage, and a qualified South Carolina worker’s compensation attorney can help ensure your access to benefits.

Other common sites of burn injuries include public spaces, schools and nurseries, and road accidents. A restaurant could be held liable for spilling a hot beverage on a patron, or a school that doesn’t supervise children closely enough could create unnecessary hazards. Car accidents not only cause serious damage and injuries, but they can also result in fires that leave victims with additional damages.

Protecting Your Rights in a Burn Injury Case

If you or someone you love has suffered a burn injury that was caused by the careless acts or negligent behavior of a third party, you may be able to file a burn injury claim for damages. It’s vital that you not only seek medical attention immediately after the accident but that you also consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can investigate your case and advise you of your options. Contact our Columbia, South Carolina office now at (803) 788-4370 or online to schedule a free consultation.

The Role of an Expert in an Injury Case

An expert witness can play a key role in proving liability and damages in a personal injury case. Experts are people who possess special knowledge, experience, skills, or training that extends beyond that of the general population. When you’ve been injured in an accident, have lost a loved one to wrongful death, or are claiming nursing home abuse, getting the parties responsible for your damages to pay isn’t always a simple matter.

Filing any type of personal injury claim requires that there be an allegation of liability. In essence, who is at fault for your injuries? You not only have to prove negligence but also that those actions, or the failure to act, was the cause of your injuries. In both cases, the testimony of expert witnesses can be used to prove liability as well as testify about the severity of the injury and its far-reaching consequences.

Who Can Qualify as an Expert Witness?

There are several types of witnesses in an injury case. An eyewitness is someone who was present at the time of the accident and has direct knowledge of the events.  An “expert” witness wasn’t an accident witness, but instead is someone who might be hired by your attorney to assist in proving your case.

Experts by their nature are generally professionals who have knowledge, skills, or training that qualifies them to provide testimony or give a reliable opinion on certain issues. For example, a physician may be asked to testify about the severity of your injuries in an auto accident or premises liability case.

The Role of an Expert in an Injury Case

Just because an expert is hired for your injury case, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will see them sitting before a jury giving sworn testimony. These are qualified individuals who will use their specialized knowledge to help prove different elements of your case. The two ways that you might see these experts used are:

  • Consulting Experts. A consulting expert provides support services to your attorney’s legal team. They might assist through reviewing documents, offering advice, and helping with strategy related to financial, medical, and other technical issues.
  • Testifying Experts. A testifying expert may perform some of the above tasks, but they will also be called by your attorney as a witness in your case. Their sworn testimony could help prove fault, explain complicated terms, or make a case for certain damages.

Different Types of Expert Witnesses

Depending on the details of your accident and what areas may be disputed, different types of experts may be used in an injury case. Some of those include:

  • Medical Professionals. Medical professionals such as physicians, medical examiners, and rehabilitation specialists are often called as expert witnesses to provide testimony about the seriousness of an injury, its cause, and the need for future care.
  • Accident Reconstruction Specialists. An accident reconstruction specialist might be hired to help prove negligence in a variety of personal injury cases. When there is an auto or truck accident case, these specialists can testify about vehicle safety, speed, right-of-way, and other errors that could have caused the accident and injuries.
  • Financial Specialists. If your damages include lost income and permanent impairment, a financial expert could be called to help prove the severity of your financial losses.
  • Maintenance Specialists. When a mechanical failure either caused or contributed to an accident, a maintenance specialist can provide valuable testimony that describes vehicle upkeep and the ways that a failure to maintain a vehicle created a hazard.
  • Phone Records Specialist. Because so many auto accidents now involve distracted driving, your attorney may hire a phone records specialist to prove that the other driver was texting or using their cell phone when the accident took place.

Expert witnesses can often make a significant difference in an injury case, particularly if there is a question of fault or the seriousness of damages. The experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Peake & Fowler often use the services of these valuable experts to help prove our client’s case. If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury, contact our Columbia, South Carolina office today at (803) 788-4370 or online for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Motorcycle Digest – Be sure you get the loss of use/rental value you are entitled to be paid!

We Ride……We Understand……

From Peake and Fowler Law Firm, P.A.

By Thomas K. Fowler, Jr.

Be sure you get the loss of use/rental value you are entitled to be paid!

If you’ve been in an accident on your bike in South Carolina, and the accident was not your fault, there is a good possibility that you will have to work with the at fault driver’s insurance company. Don’t let an insurance adjuster talk you into taking less for the lost use of your bike, while it is being fixed after a wreck, than South Carolina law allows.  If your bike is damaged in a wreck due someone else’s fault, their liability insurance carrier (or your own company if the at-fault driver did not have insurance) owes you for three (3) things:

  • cost of repairs;
  • loss of use; and,
  • depreciation

Loss of use under South Carolina law means that you are due the fair market rental value.  Not what the insurance company wants to pay you, but what it actually costs to rent a bike like yours, while your bike is being fixed.  Most of the time, insurance adjusters try to persuade you to accept much less than what you are actually entitled to be paid.  They do this by convincing you to compromise and take what they can get a rental car for through some rental agency with which they have some discount deal.

Usually, adjusters will offer to pay you $20 to $25 per day or rent a car for you.  Do not fall for this!

The fair market rental cost for a motorcycle is best determined by what dealers charge to rent bikes.  Based on local dealer rates that can range between $45 to $125 per day depending on make and model.  Even if you do not actually rent a bike, you are still entitled to the fair market rental value!

Contact our South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys

So, don’t accept the rental car value the adjuster wants to pay you.  It is the adjuster’s job to save the insurance company money, not meet your needs or demands.  Don’t be fooled, you are most likely entitled to more, so don’t hesitate to demand what they owe you.  At Peake & Fowler we ride and we understand the needs of those who ride.  If we can be of any assistance, please call us at (803) 788-4370 or contact us through our website contact form.

Ride safe!

Tommy Fowler
Principal
Peake & Fowler

Motorcycle Digest – Who is at fault for my accident?

We Ride……We Understand……

From Peake and Fowler Law Firm, P.A.

By Thomas K. Fowler, Jr.

Who is at fault for my motorcycle accident?

Typically, that is the first question we hear when discussing a wreck with a client.  If you were involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle and you have the same or similar questions, we hope some of the pointers in this article will help answer them to your benefit.

It is possible that you lose even though you were hit from behind! 

Believe it or not, it is possible that even though you were hit from behind, you may not win your case, because South Carolina is what is known as a “comparative negligence” state meaning that when weighing the fault of an accident, a jury is allowed to compare the fault of all parties. Unfortunately, that includes your actions if you were the driver of your bike.  Worse yet, if the jury finds you 51% or more at fault, you lose and will not be able collect any damages.

For example, suppose your rear tire goes flat and causes you to stop without much warning in your lane of travel and the car behind you cannot stop in time….crash!.  You later discover that, had you simply checked your tire before you left, you would have seen a big nail sticking out the side which resulted in your having to stop and getting hit from behind.  A jury could easily find you at fault for operating with faulty equipment more so than the driver who hit you from behind. If that happens, you recover nothing.

So, how do you avoid being held more at fault in a wreck in this scenario?  Very simple……T-CLOCK.  This is a safety check reminder published by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and means checking for any problems with your bike’s:

T – tires and wheels

C – controls

L – lights

O – oil

C – chassis

K – kickstand

(check out http://msf-usa.org)

Sounds pretty simple, right?  Recently I was in a deposition with someone who had been riding all his life and he had no idea what T-CLOCK meant.   Lesson learned – if you had done what you could to inspect for safety in our example above, the likelihood you will be held at greater fault is reduced significantly. Not to mention, of course, you would have been considerably less likely to be involved in an accident caused by equipment failure or malfunction.

Why is this important?  Simply because these are standards by which a rider’s conduct may be judged in a case to see what portion of the fault in causing the accident was his/hers.  Not using “reasonable care” could cost you dearly.

I do not like to lose the cases I take on, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to lose your case, so pay attention and use care so you won’t be accused of being at fault.

Contact our South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys

At Peake & Fowler we ride and we understand the needs of those who ride.  We are experienced and skilled South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys. If we can be of any assistance, please call us at (803) 788-4370 or contact us through our website contact form.

Ride safe.

Tommy Fowler
Principal
Peake & Fowler

Should I Have Personal Injury Protection?

In addition to the injuries and property damage that you may sustain in a car accident, another complicated element of a crash is determining who will pay for your damages. While South Carolina is an at-fault car insurance state, meaning that drivers are required to hold liability coverage that helps to pay for the accidents that they cause, recouping damages may still prove difficult, especially within a timely manner.

One way that you may be able to mitigate the hassle of determining fault, at least initially, and recovering damages for your losses as swiftly as possible, is by carrying personal injury protection coverage. Also called PIP coverage or medical payments (medpay) coverage, personal injury protection insurance can be an important part of protecting yourself should you be injured in a crash.

Understanding Personal Injury Protection Insurance

The state of South Carolina only requires its drivers to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance is broken down into three insurance types: liability insurance for bodily injury, liability insurance for property damage, and underinsured/uninsured motorists’ coverage. The first two types are designed to pay for injuries and damages to others that the policyholder causes; the second is to pay for damages in the event that the at-fault party does not have, or does not have enough, insurance. As a note, while insurance companies are required to offer drivers uninsured/underinsured coverage, drivers can reject it if they so choose.

Drivers also have the option of purchasing a variety of other insurance types, including collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, which pays for damages to one’s own vehicle. Personal injury protection coverage is also available, although as found in South Carolina’s Code of Laws, this type of insurance is not mandated.

PIP coverage helps to pay for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses that you or any of your passengers incur in an accident up to your policy limit regardless of fault. Depending upon your insurance policy, PIP coverage may also cover (in addition to reasonable medical expenses) lost wages and expenses for essential services, such as the costs of care and maintenance.

The Benefits of PIP Coverage

Because personal injury protection coverage is not required, you need to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of purchasing this coverage type and make an informed decision on your own. The biggest–and perhaps the only–drawback is that PIP coverage can be relatively expensive to maintain, adding to the costs of your monthly/yearly premiums. For this reason, many people choose to risk not carrying this insurance type in order to save money up front.

In the end, however, the benefits of PIP coverage often outweigh the risks. These benefits include:

  • Your medical expenses will be covered even if you are at fault for an accident;
  • The injuries of your passengers/family members will be covered even if you are at fault for an accident;
  • You will be able to seek benefits whether or not the other driver can be located (i.e. hit and run situation);
  • You will be able to seek benefits whether or not the other driver has insurance or enough insurance to pay for your injuries; and
  • You will not have to wait for the insurance companies to determine fault before benefits will be paid.

Your Right to Seek Your Full Damages Amount

It is important to understand that regardless of the type of insurance coverage that you carry, you have the right to seek your full damages amount. This means that if another driver caused your accident, you can seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and other economic losses as well as noneconomic losses, such as the value of your pain and suffering. If a settlement cannot be reached with the insurance company, you have the right to bring forth a car accident personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Contact the Law Offices of Peake & Fowler if You’re in a South Carolina Car Accident

Even if you have personal injury protection (PIP) and other coverage types, reaching a settlement with your insurance company that compensates you for the full value of your losses can be difficult. At the law offices of Peake & Fowler, our skilled South Carolina car accident attorneys have experience investigating car accidents, determining and proving fault, negotiating with insurance adjusters, and taking claims to court. For legal assistance you can count on if you are involved in a crash, please contact our law offices today at (803) 788-4370 or through our website contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Motorcycle Digest – Getting the depreciation you deserve

We Ride……We Understand……

From Peake and Fowler Law Firm, P.A.

By Thomas K. Fowler, Jr.

Be sure you get the depreciation you are entitled to be paid!

Don’t let an insurance adjuster talk you into taking less for the depreciation or loss in value your bike has suffered due to being damaged in a wreck.  Even though your bike has been fixed, the law recognizes it may not be worth as much as before the accident.  This is called depreciation.

 You will need to get an expert, i.e. a dealer, to give you an opinion of the value of your bike before and after the repairs.  The “before” value can come from a publication that we are all familiar with, but the “after” value is better left to an expert.

Oftentimes, adjusters want only to offer 10% of the costs of the repairs as depreciation.  This is why a dealer can help because when you go to trade your bike in and have to disclose the prior damage it is highly likely your trade value will be less due to your bike having been wrecked.

So, get an estimate of an expert in valuation of your bike.  It can make a huge difference in how much you are paid for depreciation.

 Again, you don’t have to accept the value the adjuster wants to pay you.  It is the adjuster’s job to save the insurance company money.  Don’t be fooled, you may well be entitled to more!

Contact our South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys

At Peake & Fowler we ride and we understand the needs of those who ride.  If we can be of any assistance, please call us at (803) 788-4370 or contact us through our website contact form.

Ride safe!

Tommy Fowler
Principal
Peake & Fowler

Dangers of Speeding Trucks on South Carolina Highways

It’s not a distinction any state wants, but a 2012 survey by Car Insurance Comparison indicated that South Carolina has the most dangerous highways in the nation. Researchers based each state’s danger rating on the following factors:

  • Fatalities attributed to interstate speeding for each mile of interstate
  • Percentage of drivers who do not use seatbelts
  • Number of highway bridges deemed deficient or obsolete
  • Highway fatalities in the state for every 1,000 highway miles traveled
  • Dollar amount of federal funding
  • Death rates posted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

To make matters worse, South Carolina ranked in the bottom half of every category in the survey. The second and third-worst states for driving safety, Florida and Alabama, were nearly 40 points ahead of South Carolina. Unfortunately, little has changed in the last five years. One reason for this is that truck drivers still tend to speed on state highways.

The Dangers of Speeding for Commercial Truck Drivers

Any driver who chooses to speed puts everyone else on the road at risk. However, a commercial truck driver who exceeds the posted speed limit can be especially dangerous. The sheer size of one of these vehicles makes it difficult to control if the driver needs to stop, swerve, or turn quickly. This can easily lead to a rollover situation, a runaway truck, a jackknife accident, or several other types of serious or potentially deadly crashes.

Many states, including South Carolina, have set separate speed limits for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. This is to address the inherent danger in operating an 18-wheel vehicle that weighs several tons. Currently, the speed limit for commercial trucks on rural and urban interstates is 70 miles per hour and 55 miles per hour on other limited access roads. Unfortunately, some truckers choose to travel at the same speed as drivers operating a private vehicle.

Truck drivers may also drive too fast for the current conditions, even though they may not be speeding. The following are common examples of when it may be difficult for a commercial driver to control his or her vehicle even when driving at or below the posted speed limit:

  • Adverse weather conditions, including fog, heavy rain, and freezing rain
  • Congested traffic
  • Obstacles in the road
  • Sharp curves
  • Slow traffic
  • Steep hills
  • Uneven pavement
  • Other road hazards

Sadly, a passenger car is no match for an 18-wheel commercial truck and the consequences of a crash can be devastating.

Challenges of Bringing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Commercial Truck Driver

Any motor vehicle accident is stressful, especially if you suffer from injuries because of it. However, it is much easier to collect damages in a timely manner when you get into an accident with another driver of a private vehicle. That is because you know who caused the accident and who is ultimately responsible for your injuries. Things aren’t as straightforward when you crash with a commercial trucker. While it might seem obvious to you that he or she should take the blame, unfortunately that isn’t always the case. Several other parties may also share responsibility, including:

  • The truck driver’s employer who required him or her to drive on little sleep or with knowledge of another condition that could negatively impact safety
  • The people responsible for the maintenance of the commercial truck who may have ignored needed repairs or acted in another negligent manner
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle
  • The loader or shipper of the truck’s cargo if faulty loading played a role in the accident

At Peake & Fowler, our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys will use every resource at their disposal to determine liability in your accident case. Because cases like this can become quite complex, we recommend that you engage the services of a South Carolina personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Under South Carolina Code section 15-3-530, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim (two years if the defendant is a government agency) for personal injury or property damage. If you’re filing a wrongful death case on behalf of a family member, the clock starts from the date of death.

Contact Peake & Fowler to Schedule a Free Consultation

At Peake & Fowler we are pleased to offer a free consultation for all new clients. We will review your case and recommend whether you should file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible for your injuries. Peake & Fowler is located in Columbia, South Carolina, and we serve all surrounding communities. Our skilled South Carolina accident injury attorneys can be reached at (803) 788-4370 or online.

 

Store Liability in a Slip and Fall Accident in South Carolina

Retail stores have an obligation to their customers, vendors, and anyone else who comes on the property to maintain a safe environment. Unfortunately, store staff may get so busy that they neglect this duty or simply forget to remove potential hazards. Neither is a valid reason to put other people in harm’s way.

The following are common types of slip and fall injuries in grocery and retail stores in South Carolina:

  • Fall due to slipping on a recently mopped floor, liquids spilled by other customers, or tracked-in rain water
  • Items left in a walkway such as a pallet of food at a grocery store or tools and equipment used to set up a display in a retail store
  • Merchandise or debris falling from a shelf and striking a customer
  • Improper design, installation, and repair of elevators and escalators
  • Poor lighting in the store or its parking lot causing a fall

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in a South Carolina store, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, you must do so within the three-year statute of limitations. The clock for filing a lawsuit begins from the day of your injury.

Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Accidents in South Carolina

These types of accidents fall under the general category of premises liability, which means that the owner of the property has a legal obligation to keep it safe. Even so, proving the store owner’s liability can be much more challenging than you might think. The store owner might deny that you sustained an injury on his or her property or claim that you caused your own injuries by not paying attention to your surroundings. It can quickly become a legal game of “he said, she said”. To evaluate a slip and fall case properly, South Carolina judges consider the following two rules carefully:

  1. The obligation to keep the property safe lies with the store owner, not the visitor. That means he or she must remove or warn of potential hazards for all visitors, including customers, tenants, personal visitors, and vendors. As an example, the owner of a grocery store must instruct employees to put up a “Slippery When Wet” sign after mopping the floor and a retail manager would be negligent to use shelving known to break.
  2. The store visitor must use the property as intended or a judge could deem him or her responsible for the slip and fall accident. For example, someone visiting the store for the sole purpose of holding it up may have a difficult time finding a judge sympathetic to his or her case if injured.

An important thing to keep in mind with a slip and fall accident at a store is that tracking down the owner of the property could prove challenging. That person could live across the country or even across the world and rent out the property to a local store manager. This is when you need an experienced South Carolina injury law firm like Peake & Fowler working for you.

Potential Compensation from Your Personal Injury Case

When you retain Peake & Fowler for your personal injury case, we first determine who is liable for your injuries and then try to settle the case with that person or organization’s insurance company. Unfortunately, people often fail to take responsibility for their actions or even blame the injured person for the accident, so we are fully prepared to take your case to trial if it gets to that point. Our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys work hard to prove the other party’s negligence so you can obtain the financial compensation you deserve. You may receive some or all of the following types of compensation if you win the case:

  • Payment for all medical expenses associated with the accident, including future costs
  • Payment for time missed from work
  • Payment for decreased earning power or permanent disability, if applicable
  • Payment for damage to personal property, if applicable
  • Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish

Contact an Experienced South Carolina Attorney at Peake & Fowler

At Peake & Fowler, we don’t recover a fee unless we win a personal injury settlement or jury verdict on your behalf. We also offer all new clients a free consultation. If you’re suffering due to someone else’s negligence, we encourage you to contact us immediately for a confidential case review. Contact our compassionate South Carolina slip and fall attorneys today at (803) 788-4370 or online.

Time Limit in South Carolina on Filing an Injury Claim

If you have been injured in an accident or have an insurance claim in South Carolina, there are some state laws that could impact the outcome of your case. One of the most important laws relates to how long you have to file an injury claim after an accident. This could depend on the circumstances of your accident and the type of injury claim that you have.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A time limit to file an injury claim is often referred to in legal terms as the “statute of limitations.” This is a legal rule that defines the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit. If you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run, your claim will be barred, and the defendant will automatically win the case. The purpose of the state’s statute of limitations is to limit the number of cases brought before the courts and help defendants with potentially frivolous lawsuits.

Each state has its own statute of limitations for various types of lawsuits, including different types of personal injury cases. A statute of limitations doesn’t necessarily start to run at the moment an accident or injury takes place. Instead, the statute of limitations will begin at the time a person knows or should have known that they suffered from harm as well as the nature of that harm.

Some circumstances may also allow for the statute of limitations to be extended. This is particularly true in accidents involving minors. For example, an injured minor will typically not have their statute of limitations clock begin until they reach the age of 18. Also, if someone was incapacitated or suffered from a severe mental illness, their statute of limitations might be extended due to disability.

How Long You Have to File an Injury Claim in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing any type of personal injury claim is three years, unless the defendant is a government entity, then it is two years, unless a “statement of claim” has been filed within the first year. This time limit is set in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 15 Chapter 3. For cases that allege false arrest, slander, libel, false imprisonment, and defamation, the time limit is two years. The statute of limitations is fairly clear cut in most personal injury cases, such as car and truck accidents.

In many cases, South Carolina uses the “discovery rule,” which could extend the time period allowed to file an injury claim. Under the discovery rule, the statute doesn’t begin until the date that an injury party both knows of an injury and that there is the existence of a cause of action against another party.

Time Limits for South Carolina Work-Related Accident Claims

The time limits to report and file suit on a work-related injury are different than those for a personal injury case. These are governed by the state’s workers’ compensation code. For example, employees have just 90 days to report a work-related accident or injury. In the case of an occupational disease, the “accident” date is the time that the employee either becomes aware of the condition or becomes disabled.

There is another time limit for work-related injuries that applies to the formal filing of a workers’ compensation claim. An injured worker has just two years from the date of injury to file a worker’s compensation claim with the state Commission.

South Carolina Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in South Carolina is the same as that of a personal injury claim. That means that if you have lost a loved one in a car accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, products liability or premises liability case, you only have three years to file a lawsuit (two years if the Defendant is a government entity). The discovery date rule also applies here, which means that the statute of limitations won’t begin to run until the date that you were aware that negligence was the cause of a loved one’s death.

Get Help With Your South Carolina Injury Case

Letting your case go past the legal time limits to file an injury claim is one sure way to ensure that your case is dismissed. This is why it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced South Carolina accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Giving yourself plenty of time to heal, gather evidence, and build your case is the best way to work towards collecting the compensation you deserve. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Peake & Fowler at (803) 788-4370 now to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.