Columbia, SC Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were recently injured and you believe it is someone else’s fault, talk to a lawyer. You might have a personal injury claim, and an attorney can help you get fair compensation for your injuries and expenses.

Personal injury law is quite vast and encompasses a wide array of accidents, injuries, and claims. Some claims handled by our office include but are not limited to, injuries in amusement parks, car crashes, and premises liability claims. Damages in these cases vary based on the nature of the claim. Compensatory damages represent actual injuries, losses, and expenses from the accident. Punitive damages, although rare, may be awarded in cases where the defendant’s behavior is so shocking that it must be punished. The best time to contact a lawyer about your case is now. You have a limited time to file your case before you lose the right to do so. Generally, plaintiffs in injury cases have 3 years to get their claims into court.

For a free, confidential evaluation of your claims, call (803) 219-4906 and talk to our personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.

Common Examples of Personal Injury Claims in Columbia, SC

The legal landscape of personal injury cases is incredibly broad. Claims involving some sort of physical injury are often considered personal injury claims. These claims vary in how they occur, the extent of injuries, and the value of damages. Below are a few, but not all, of the cases our team has handled and is prepared to assist you with.

Amusement Park Accidents

People go to amusement parks to have fun, but fun can quickly become dangerous if the rides and equipment at the park are unsafe. People might sue an amusement park if they were injured in a roller coaster accident or were hurt inside other attractions like a funhouse. People might instead be hurt while playing carnival games.

Many attractions at amusement parks must be carefully constructed and properly maintained to keep them safe. When attractions are not maintained, people get hurt. Amusement parks around Columbia include Waterfall Junction by the Saluda Gardens neighborhood and Frankie’s Fun Park just north of Columbia.

Auto Accidents

Vehicle crashes are extraordinarily common. They happen nearly every day. While some accidents are not so bad, and drivers walk away relatively unscathed, many others are badly hurt. If you are hurt, call an attorney after you have been treated for your injuries. Our personal injury attorneys can review evidence from the scene, like photos you might have taken, and find additional evidence, like security camera videos or witnesses.

Premises Liability

Have you ever been injured in a slip and fall accident? Maybe you were hurt by something like broken glass in a restaurant or a rickety staircase in a neighbor’s house. If you are injured because of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, you can sue the owner of the property for your damages.

Generally, you must have been lawfully present on the property to sue for damages. Unknown trespassers typically do not have a cause of action. Also, the dangerous condition must be something known to the defendant or something that would have been discovered through reasonable inspection.

Potential Damages You Can Claim in a Columbia, SC Personal Injury Case

Your damages reflect your injuries, costs, and pain from the accident. Considering how widely personal injury claims may differ, it is no surprise that damages differ, too. Talk to an attorney about everything you have gone through so they can properly identify and evaluate your damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are meant to make up for what the plaintiff has lost or their painful experiences. Generally, compensatory damages may be divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages cover things like hospital bills, property damage, income you have lost from missing work, and other expenses you incurred as a direct result of the accident. Your economic damages award should place you back in the financial position you were in before your accident.

Non-economic damages are related to more subjective experiences. You can claim damages for physical pain from your injuries, emotional turmoil, psychological trauma, humiliation, and more. Since these damages are not directly connected to money, their value is more subjective.

Punitive Damages

In a select few cases, courts may award punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish defendants for especially shocking behavior by imposing a greater financial penalty.

According to S.C. Code Ann. § § 15-32-520(A)-(E), a bifurcated trial must be held to determine punitive damages. During the first stage of the bifurcated trial, the jury will determine liability for compensatory damages and how much they are worth. Punitive damages may be considered only if there is a finding for some compensatory damages.

In the second stage of the bifurcated trial, the jury may determine if the defendant is liable for punitive damages. The jury may consider several factors, including the severity of the injuries, the defendant’s degree of culpability, whether the defendant was aware their conduct was harmful, and many other factors. The plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that their injuries resulted from the defendant’s willful, wanton, or reckless behavior.

According to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-32-530(A), punitive damages awards may not exceed 3 times the value of compensatory damages or the sum of $500,000, whichever is more.

When is the Best Time to File a Personal Injury Case in Columbia, SC?

Speak to an attorney right away. The statute of limitations under S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530(5) gives plaintiffs only 3 years to file their claims in court. If this time comes and goes with nothing filed, you might lose your right to sue for your injuries.

Under very specific conditions, we might have the statute of limitations tolled, and you might have more time to file the case. Tolling may be available for minors and people with certain disabilities. According to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-40, plaintiffs who were minors when they were injured have 3 years from the day they turn 18 to file.

A person with a disability at the time the cause of action accrued has 3 years from the date the disability is removed. For plaintiffs with disabilities, the deadline cannot be extended by more than 5 years. If and when a disability is removed, the plaintiff must file their case within 1 year.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Columbia, SC

For a free, confidential evaluation of your claims, call (803) 219-4906 and talk to our personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.