Can I file a lawsuit for spinal cord injury in Columbia?
You could file a lawsuit against the negligent party responsible for your spinal cord injury, but many cases are ultimately resolved through settlements. In the end, most insurance companies will decide it is better to settle a case than take it to trial and risk a jury award.
When an insurer refuses to make a fair and equitable offer to compensate you for the harm you’ve suffered and the impact the injury has had on your life, you may be forced to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit will typically begin with you filing a complaint that is then served to the defendant, often triggering another round of negotiations.
Many cases are settled before trial. Before a case goes to trial, the court may require the parties to engage in mandatory mediation. If your case ultimately does go to trial, your attorney will demonstrate how the other party’s negligence directly caused your spinal cord injury and will show how that injury has negatively impacted your life.
Do I have legal rights to a spinal cord injury compensation?
If you have suffered a severe spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another person or party, have the right to seek compensation under South Carolina law. Damages that could be available to you include:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and loss of future earnings (if disabled)
- Costs of ongoing care
- Home modifications
- Specialized medical devices and mobility devices
- Travel companions and assistance with needs while traveling
- Pain, suffering, and emotional anguish
Your attorney will seek a settlement or verdict that accounts for all of these direct and hidden costs, as well as the physical and emotional hardship you are forced to endure.
You only have three years from the date of the spinal cord injury to file a lawsuit. South Carolina is considered a modified comparative fault state, which means that a plaintiff cannot recover damages for an accident in which their negligence exceeded that of the defendant’s.
Even when your own negligence does not bar you from filing a lawsuit, it can still result in your jury award being reduced. For example, a person who is awarded $100,000 in a spinal cord injury lawsuit for which they are determined to have been 25 percent at fault will have their award reduced by $25,000 and ultimately receive $75,000.
South Carolina places limits (often referred to as “caps”) on specific damages. For example, noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases specifically are limited to $350,000 per defendant, and $1.05 million overall (regardless of the number of defendants). Punitive damages, which are relatively rare and awarded more to punish defendants for flagrant or egregious conduct, are limited to the greater of three times the actual damages or $500,000.