Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers
The pain of a serious injury can be very difficult to go through, and that includes the mental anguish that can accompany the physical trauma. When someone else may be at fault, it can be difficult to focus on the important legal details that are necessary to secure a fair settlement. That’s where personal injury lawyers in Columbia, SC come in. At Mann Blake & Jackson we take that legal burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on your recovery.
Mann Blake & Jackson has a demonstrated track record of success, winning personal injury verdicts as high as $60 million. We’re relentless in our legal approach and we don't back down from insurance companies. Call today at (803) 525-1645 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
4 Elements of Negligence in South Carolina Law
To win a personal injury case in South Carolina requires the plaintiff (the injured party and their attorney) to demonstrate negligence on the part of the defendant. Negligence is composed of four elements and all four must be present for the plaintiff to win their legal case.
Duty of Care
The first thing that must be demonstrated is the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. In a car accident case, this will likely be self-evident. All drivers owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road. Medical malpractice cases are another area where duty of care will probably be apparent on its face, so long as there is a formal doctor-patient relationship.
Not all duty of care obligations are cut-and-dried, however. Let’s take a dog bite injury. Where was the plaintiff when they encountered the defendant’s dog and what were the circumstances of the bite? In a burn injury case, how did the plaintiff come to encounter the fire? Every case has its own nuance, and our lawyers are alert and observant of relevant details.
Breach of Duty
This second part of negligence is where a good deal of legal dispute may be involved, and it involves demonstrating the defendant breached the duty of care that they owed. The reason this can be a hotly contested issue is because the simple fact of an injury and the existence of duty of care, does not mean the defendant is at fault. Instead, South Carolina law requires that defendants observe a reasonable standard of care in their actions. That is, did they do what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances. A personal injury attorney in Columbia, SC has the task of demonstrating the defendant did not act with reasonable care.
Let’s consider a slip and fall case where the plaintiff was injured because the aisle in a grocery store was wet. If a spill was there for hours, then the store may well be considered negligent. If the spill was there for ten minutes, the court may not consider it reasonable for the defendant to have acted that quickly. If the defendant put up a “Wet Floor” sign after cleaning, they may well have acted reasonably. If warnings did not exist, and customers just walked over a damp floor, the duty of care may have been breached.
The underlying question of what is reasonable is something that is in the eyes of the beholder–in this case, that beholder being the court. That makes the skill and presentation of the plaintiff’s case even more important. Mann Blake & Jackson’s experience in winning big personal injury cases bears witness to our ability to present a case in the best possible light.
Even if it's proven that a defendant breached their duty of care ,it still has to be shown that the breach is what caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This might seem obvious, and in some instances it probably will be. But other cases are more nuanced.
As an example, let’s say the injured person in a slip and fall case already had back and neck problems. The defendant–or, more precisely, the lawyers for the insurance company who covers the defendant–can argue that the injuries were the result of pre-existing conditions.
Plaintiffs can feel reasonably “confident” that insurance companies will go through medical records in an attempt to sever the connection between the breach of duty and the injuries. Plaintiffs need to be even more confident that their own personal injury lawyers in Columbia, SC will be ready, not back down and know how to fight the insurance company. At Mann Blake & Jackson, we do.
The last step is proving that the plaintiff was indeed damaged by all of the above elements and establishing what the scope of the damages would be.
In a catastrophic injury case, understanding the scope of the damages can require the experience of having been through similar cases. It’s more than just the medical bills and the rehab. It’s even more than the pain and suffering.
Damages in cases like this also include the lost opportunities for career advancement, the possible need to revamp one’s current home or to move to a different one. It involves projecting out and understanding all the potential ways a plaintiff’s life has been altered by the accident. Our past experience in winning lucrative damage settlements can be invaluable for clients.
As a part of calculating damages, South Carolina law also offers the courts the flexibility of assigning percentages of blame to each party. So long as a plaintiff’s share of fault does not exceed 50 percent, they can collect in the appropriate proportion.
For example, let’s say a plaintiff is awarded $25 million in damages for catastrophic injuries following a car accident. However, the jury did decide the plaintiff bore 10 percent of the responsibility for the crash. Under South Carolina law, the plaintiff collects 90 percent of the damages–in this case, that would be $22.5 million.
This is called modified comparative negligence and it underscores the importance of an attorney who takes every last detail of a personal injury case seriously. In big cases, the movement of a single percentage point can cost a plaintiff a lot of money. In the example above, reducing the plaintiff’s fault from 10 percent to 9 percent, would have netted the plaintiff an additional $250,000. And our lawyers have led cases where the damages were more than twice that of this example.
Mann Blake & Jackson knows that when you’ve been injured, you’re relying on us to fight for your financial future. We take that responsibility with the utmost of seriousness and it’s why we’re relentless in pressing for an advantage on all facets of a personal injury case.
We've Fought and Beaten Government Agencies
We've recovered over $100M in verdicts, settlements, and awards for our clients, much of that against government agencies. We know what you're facing, and we're the team to help you win.
These Cases Are Close to Home For Us
Not only are we North and South Carolina attorneys, but our families, friends, and neighbors have fallen victim to the injustices at Camp Lejeune. We'll fight vigorously for you and your family not just because it's the right thing to do, but because we've been hurt by this too.
We Know How to Protect and Service Our ClientsWe've fought for whistleblowers. We've fought for catastrophic injury victims. We know this can feel like a daunting road, but we have the experience and know what it takes to provide you the justice you deserve.
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