4 Things to Consider Before You File an Injury Lawsuit
The seriousness of an injury depends on the circumstances of the accident in which it occurred. You could experience slight bruising from a fall or be faced with life-altering harm from something like a brain or spinal cord injury. After an accident, an insurance company or at-fault party may immediately take responsibility and compensate you for damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, and more.
However, things are usually much more complicated, and a personal injury claim must be made in order to receive fair compensation after you’ve been injured in an accident. If the at-fault party or their insurance company refuses to offer you compensation, or even worse, threatens a countersuit by claiming you were at fault, you may be confused about whether you should file an injury suit.
Here are some important factors to consider before filing a personal injury lawsuit.
What You Need to Consider
An unsuccessful lawsuit can result in being denied financial compensation for your injuries. Even worse, it can result in you being required to pay the other party’s fees and costs resulting from the suit.
It is already devastating enough to experience injuries from an accident, but having then to pay the opposing party on top of this is the worst possible outcome. That’s why you need to consider these four things before moving forward with filing an injury suit.
Were your injuries work-related?
These injuries can be caused by your employer, a coworker, or any other incidents caused through your employment. Workers’ compensation is a system that doesn’t require proof of fault like an injury lawsuit requires. It is a way to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more without needing to go through the ordeal of filing a lawsuit.
While workers’ comp has many benefits, the number one thing to understand is that you cannot be compensated for pain and suffering from the accident. Depending on the accident and how severe your injuries were, this might not be a very substantial part of your claim.
If your injuries were severe and pain and suffering are an important aspect of your case, it is important to talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer as there are certain cases that would allow you to receive workers’ compensation and file for personal injury damages.
How long ago did your accident occur?
After you experienced an accident, you may have been so overwhelmed by the aftermath of the events that you didn’t instantly make a personal injury claim. If this is the case, and you now want to file a claim, you need to consider how much time has passed since the time of your accident.
Personal injury claims have what’s called a statute of limitations. This means that a lawsuit must be filed within a certain amount of time after an accident. This prevents claims from being allowed to be filed when a significant amount of time has passed.
For South Carolina, the statute of limitations is determined by section 15-3-530, which states that personal injury claims must be made within three (3) years of an accident and subsequent injuries. Filing a lawsuit after this time will result in a dismissal and the requirement mentioned above to pay the other party’s fees and costs that resulted from the action.
What kind of offer did you receive?
You might be one of the rare cases in which an insurance carrier does offer a fair settlement to compensate for the damages you suffered. If you still aren’t confident that this settlement offer will actually cover everything it should, speaking with a lawyer and letting them review your case can ensure that an insurance company does not take advantage of you. A lawyer’s advice might be that the offer is fair based on the evidence and damage sustained and trying to pursue a lawsuit could end poorly.
What are the facts of the case?
Personal injury claims are not purely made up of legal factors but also factual evidence. A lawyer can help you understand what facts will be applied to your case and what the outcome can be based on these facts. Here are just a few of these factors you should consider:
- Does the defendant have insurance? If so, are your injury costs higher than their policy allows? In these cases, a lawsuit might not be the best option.
- Has compensation been offered? Even if the amount is less than you are entitled to, consider if it is worth accepting the offer to avoid further litigation.
- Are there any family dynamics that create other factors and risks?
- Are you capable mentally and physically of handling a trial if it comes to that?
Every personal injury claim is different and all the individual details surrounding them are extremely important to determine how to move forward with your case. Getting the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you understand what all your options are and the best decision to make. Deciding when to file an injury suit should be made after you are informed about the facts of your specific case.