In a broad sense, personal injury governs injuries that occur due to someone else’s failure to do something they were supposed to do. The action may be against an individual, an employer, a company, or owner, depending on the circumstances. An injured person may have a personal injury claim when they are injured due to the intentional or negligent acts of another.
What is Personal Injury Law?
A “negligent act” is an action taken (or not taken) by someone that breached an existing duty of care to others. This may arise, for example, in a premises liability case where someone is injured at a store because of a failure to clean up a spill; similarly, this may arise in a car accident where the other person was not paying attention to the road, which resulted in the crash. In those scenarios, the store owner has a legal duty to keep customers safe from preventable harms and the driver has a duty to use the utmost care and precaution when driving. The injured party can then bring a civil legal action against the negligent person, who may be required to pay monetary damages.
Types of Monetary Damages in Personal Injury Cases
When a person failures to act in a manner consistent with their obligations, they may be liable for the injured party’s personal injuries. If found liable by a judge or a jury, the liable party may have to pay sums of money to the injured individual. Though a court can choose to award an injured individual with many types of damages, there are generally two main categories: actual and punitive.
Actual damages are, as the name suggests, what types of money has “actually” been spent as a result of the injury. This can include things such as property damage, medical expenses, future medical expenses or long-term care, or lost wages from a loss of ability to work. These damages generally need to be proven to a judge or jury through definitive measures such as by bills, receipts, and medical proof of long-term injury or disability.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing. These damages are often seen in cases resulting in long-term debilitating injury, or in cases involving corporations, and are awarded so they will be deterred from engaging in further unlawful conduct. Some states, including South Carolina, place a limit on the amount of punitive damages that can be recovered. South Carolina caps punitive damage awards at three times whatever the compensatory damages award is. Despite this limitation, the damages award can still be quite significant, and may be awarded when the defendant’s actions were truly egregious.
Injured in South Carolina?
At Solomon Law Group, we understand how challenging it can be to juggle recovery, financial expenses, and the possibility of a lawsuit. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to by law. We are always available to hear the circumstances of your case and urge you to contact our Columbia, South Carolina-based attorneys so we can help you understand your legal rights.