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Personal injury claims are commonly associated with accidents, such as car crashes, slip and fall incidents, or workplace mishaps. However, in South Carolina, personal injury claims are not limited to accidents alone.

Individuals who have suffered harm due to someone else’s intentional actions, such as road rage incidents or assault, also have the right to pursue compensation through personal injury claims.

A South Carolina personal injury lawyer from Joye Law Firm can help you understand your legal options and hold the responsible party liable for the damages they cause.

Civil vs. Criminal Charges for Intentional Harm

If someone has intentionally harmed you, you may be able to pursue both civil and criminal charges against them. These two charges differ in their objectives and the evidence needed to prove them.

Aspect Criminal Charges Civil Case
Legal Representation State provides a prosecutor. The defendant has the right to an attorney; a public defender is appointed if they cannot afford one. Both parties usually hire their own attorneys. For example, you would hire a personal injury firm to handle your case.
Purpose Punish the offender and protect society. Compensate the victim for harm suffered.
Standard of Proof Proof beyond a reasonable doubt (very high standard). This may include evidence, witness testimony, and police reports. Preponderance of the evidence (meaning, more likely than not). Relies on documentation of damages and similar types of evidence as criminal cases.
Jury Trial Defendant has a constitutional right to a jury trial. Jury trials are less common and can be waived.
Impact on Victim Victim is a witness, does not control proceedings or outcome. Victim controls many aspects of the case, including decisions to settle or go to trial.
Possible Outcomes Fines, probation, community service, and/or incarceration for defendant. Damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc., paid to the victim.
Appeal Process Both the defendant and the state can appeal under limited circumstances. Both the plaintiff and defendant have the right to appeal.


Civil Case for Intentional Harm

A civil case for intentional harm typically proceeds through several stages, similar to personal injury claims arising from accidents. The process includes the following:

  • Consultation with an attorney: The injured party consults with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling cases involving intentional harm. Your attorney will assess the facts of the case, determine the claim’s viability, and advise you on your legal rights and options.
  • Filing a complaint: Your attorney will file a complaint on your behalf against the alleged wrongdoer. The complaint outlines the allegations of the incident, the damages suffered, and the legal basis for the claim.
  • Discovery: Each side participates in a discovery phase, sharing relevant case information and evidence. This may include interrogatories (written questions), document requests, depositions (oral testimony under oath), and expert witness reports.
  • Settlement negotiations: Parties often negotiate to resolve the case before going to trial. Settlement negotiations may result in an agreement where the defendant compensates you for damages without admitting fault.
  • Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, you can choose to have the case proceed to civil trial. Both sides present their evidence, witnesses, and arguments to a judge or jury during the civil trial. The judge or jury determines liability and assesses damages if the defendant is found liable.
  • Judgment and compensation: If you win your case at civil trial, the court will enter a judgment in your favor. The defendant may be ordered to pay damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and potentially punitive damages in cases of intentional harm.
  • Appeal (if applicable): Either party may appeal the verdict if they believe there was an error in the trial or the outcome. The appeals process could prolong the case.

File an Intentional Injury Claim with Joye Law Firm

Personal injury claims are not limited to accidents; they also extend to intentional harm cases, such as road rage incidents and assaults. While criminal charges address the wrongdoer’s punishment and societal protection, civil charges in the form of personal injury claims can compensate you for related losses.

Our personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm have the experience and legal skills to help you win damages in an intentional injury claim. Contact our compassionate, qualified attorneys today for a free consultation. We can listen to your story, discuss possible approaches to your case, and help you get a fair settlement for your damages.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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