In the aftermath of a South Carolina car crash or other personal injury accident, hesitation can be costly. Delaying in seeking medical treatment, for instance, can result in minor and easily-treatable injuries developing complications and requiring much more aggressive treatment. Similarly, hesitating in retaining the services of a South Carolina personal injury lawyer to represent your interests can be harmful to your legal interests and your ability to recover compensation from the person responsible for causing your crash.
Top Reasons to Hire a South Carolina Plaintiff’s Attorney as Soon as Possible
You may have heard advertisements or friends and family members recommend hiring an attorney as quickly as possible after a personal injury or car accident. There is good reason for this advice: generally speaking, the sooner you are able to retain an attorney, the better the outcome you can expect in your case. Some of the more compelling reasons to seek out legal counsel sooner rather than later include:
- The statute of limitations: By far, one of the most compelling reasons to retain an attorney soon after your South Carolina injury accident is to avoid complications caused by the statute of limitations. South Carolina’s statute of limitations prevents injury victims from bringing lawsuits based upon personal injury incidents that occurred more than three years in the past. For example, a person injured in a car accident on January 1, 2017 would have until January 1, 2020 to file a case and seek compensation for his or her injuries. While three years may seem like a significant amount of time (indeed, some states have statutes of limitations that only provide plaintiffs with one year!), it must be remembered that during this time you must take care of your health and your family’s wellbeing; determine if you have a viable claim by researching the relevant and applicable laws, speaking with witnesses, and reviewing evidence; preparing the proper documents to initiate your lawsuit; and ensure the allegedly-negligent party or parties are properly served with notice of your lawsuit.
- The quality of an investigation: Before filing a personal injury case, you and your attorney will need to conduct an investigation to determine what witnesses and/or evidence is available to support your claim. Most injury victims are not trained to conduct this sort of investigation in a timely manner or with the requisite thoroughness – which is why many injury victims seek out the assistance of an attorney. Once important evidence and/or witnesses are located, protective measures can be taken to ensure this evidence is preserved and/or witnesses are able to be located later in the event your case proceeds to trial – but only if a case has been or is about to be filed. When you wait to hire an attorney, witnesses can go missing (or their memories can fade) and important evidence can be lost.
- Your peace of mind: In prosecuting a claim for compensation following a personal injury, there are a multitude of tasks that must be completed according to strict deadlines. As your case progresses through the judicial system, you will be busy keeping doctors’ appointments, participating in therapy, returning to work, and attempting to get your family’s finances back on track. You will be happier (and experience less stress, thereby experiencing a quicker recovery) knowing your South Carolina personal injury attorney is busy protecting your legal interests while you heal.
Is It Ever Too Late to Hire a South Carolina Attorney and File a Claim?
Generally speaking, once the three-year statute of limitations expires you are not able to file a claim for compensation, regardless of whether you hire an attorney. However, the statute of limitations contains a few exceptions. For example, if no reasonable person in your situation would have had reason to suspect he or she suffered an injury or loss, then the statute of limitations may not begin to run until such time as a reasonable person in your situation would have or should have discovered the injury and loss. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney is best able to determine if an exception to the statute of limitations applies in your case, so do not delay is seeking legal counsel.
If you or a loved one has been injured in Charleston, Columbia, or elsewhere in South Carolina, the Joye Law Firm is your South Carolina personal injury law firm and is available to assist you in pursuing a claim for compensation. Call our firm, or contact us online, and let us put our combined legal experience to work for you and your family.