Suffering injuries as the result of another person’s negligence is a terrible and painful experience. Even if you are exercising complete caution and doing your best to avoid harm, sometimes it is impossible to avoid becoming the victim of a motor vehicle accident or another preventable event. Spartanburg attorney Patrick E. Knie has over 40 years of experience investigating, litigating, and taking personal injury cases to trial. We understand just how daunting the legal process can be to victims and strive to give each client the personal attention and compassion that they deserve during this difficult and trying time.Pursuing Compensation for Your Injuries Under South Carolina Law
The law recognizes a broad range of situations in which a careless individual or entity may be required to pay compensation to a victim for his or her harm. In any personal injury case, South Carolina law requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was acting negligently at the time of the accident and that this negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. There are four elements in a negligence action: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
The first and second elements require the plaintiff to provide evidence showing that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care and that the defendant failed to act according to that standard. In general, each of us owes a duty to act with the same care and skill that a reasonably prudent person would use in the same situation or under similar circumstances. This standard may differ in some specialized contexts involving professional negligence, such as medical malpractice.
A common type of personal injury lawsuit is a car accident case. In the context of a motor vehicle collision, the duty of care requires each driver to operate his or her car with the same amount of care and skill that a reasonably prudent person would use in a similar situation. The relevant facts involved at the time of the accident help inform the standard of care and the inquiry into whether the defendant breached that standard. For example, if it were rainy and dark when the collision occurred, the duty of care would require a reasonably prudent driver to drive at a safe speed while using his or her windshield wipers and headlights. If the defendant had a broken headlight and was driving excessively fast when the accident occurred, the defendant most likely breached the standard of care.
After establishing duty and breach, the plaintiff must prove that he or she would not have been injured if the defendant had not acted negligently. This element is known as causation and frequently requires testimony from an expert witness. In a car accident case, the most common type of expert witness is an accident reconstructionist, while physicians and medical professionals typically provide expert testimony in nursing home negligence cases.
The final element of a negligence claim requires the plaintiff to provide evidence of the damages that he or she suffered. This often includes property damage, medical bills, physical therapy expenses, medication, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. If you have been involved in an accident, it is critical to document all of your expenses in relation to your injuries.Contact a Greenville & Spartanburg Attorney to Assert a Negligence Claim
If you or someone you know has been a victim in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Spartanburg lawyer Patrick E. Knie is knowledgeable in personal injury and workers’ compensation claims arising from car accidents, nursing home abuse, defective products, medical malpractice, and other types of harm. We cam fight aggressively for your rights along every step of the way. Our firm also helps accident victims throughout Cherokee, Union, Laurens, and Greenville Counties. Call (864) 582-5118 or contact us online to set up a free, confidential consultation.