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Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases in the Myrtle Beach area

Personal Injury Myrtle Beach

If you are injured in an automobile accident or are injured in another manner due to the negligence of another party or if through tragic circumstances your loved one loses their life, we can help.  Allow us to use our years of experience to negotiate the best possible settlement with the insurance carrier and if it becomes necessary to go to trial, let us fight on your behalf.  Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be stressful and even frightening, but we can help guide you through this very difficult time.

 

 

 

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COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES

1) What kinds of damages are recoverable in personal injury cases?

While all cases differ depending upon the facts and circumstances, in most personal injury cases at least some of the following damages are recoverable: medical expenses, pain and suffering damages, lost wages and/or temporary or permanent loss of earning capacity, rehabilitation expenses, repair costs for property damages, damages for loss of enjoyment of life, damages for disfigurement and emotional distress. If the facts show that the actions of the other party were willful, wanton, reckless or grossly negligent, then punitive damages are available to “punish” the offending party.

 

2) What are my sources of recovery in a personal injury case?

While this is again something that is determined on a case by case basis, commonly in personal injury cases there is some form of liability insurance to pursue to compensate you for the damages you have incurred. In the case of automobile accidents, there can be several potential sources of recovery. The first involves the liability coverage of the person who caused the accident. If the person has no insurance then you may be able to recover under your own uninsured motorist coverage. If the party that caused the injuries has liability insurance but does not have enough to compensate you for your damages, then you can recover under your own underinsured motorist coverage, if you have such coverage. In some circumstances, insurance policies can be “stacked”, which allows recovery from policies for vehicles not involved in the accident. Such “stacking” can only take place under certain situations. Another source of recovery is personal injury protection coverage or PIP coverage that you may have on your own policy. PIP coverage will pay you for medical expenses you incur in an automobile accident, regardless of whether another party was at fault.

Of course, if another party causes you to be injured, whether by automobile accident or otherwise, and they do not have adequate insurance, you can always recover directly from the individual who proximately caused your injuries. In some personal injury cases, if the accident took place while you were on the job, Worker’s Compensation coverage may apply as a source for recovery.

 

3) How do I pay my attorney for handling my personal injury case?
            
At Joye, Nappier, Risher & Hardin, LLC, personal injury cases in Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas, are usually taken on what is known as a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that you will not be charged any attorney’s fees unless we obtain a recovery on your behalf, whether it is through settlement or through a jury verdict. Only when we obtain a recovery on your behalf are we paid any fees and usually those fees are 33 1/3% of what we recover on your behalf. In addition, you will always be responsible for any costs and advances that we may pay on your behalf, however if it does not become necessary to file a lawsuit, these costs are usually minimal.

 

4) If I am involved in a personal injury accident how do I get my medical bills paid?

If you have health insurance, it is all right to allow your health insurance carrier to pay for your medical expenses. Most health insurance carriers have what is known as “subrogation” language in their insurance policies, which will require that they be repaid for any expenses they pay, if you obtain a recovery from the party that is responsible for your injuries. Subrogation also applies to Medicare and Medicaid payments. If you are unable to pay for your medical bills or if your health insurance does not pay all of your medical bills, then we can often give medical providers a letter of protection, in which we give the provider assurances that we will pay their fees from any recovery. Your attorney at Joye, Nappier, Risher & Hardin, LLC cannot advance money for medical expenses or any other purposes.

 

5) How is a personal injury lawsuit filed?  
            
If settlement negotiations are not successful and it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit, Mark Nappier, Esq. will start litigation by filing a Summons and Complaint with the Clerk of Court in the appropriate county. The Defendants are then served with the Summons and Complaint and they have 30 days from the date that they were served to “answer” the Complaint. If an Answer is not filed in 30 days, the Defendants are held in default.

 

6) How long will it take until my personal injury case goes to trial?
            
This will also vary from year to year, but at this time it is not unusual for it to take 18 months from the date that the Complaint is initially filed before a case is reached for trial.


 
7) What is Comparative Negligence?
            
In 1991 comparative negligence became the law in South Carolina, which includes Myrtle Beach and the surrounding Horry and Georgetown Counties. Under comparative negligence, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the damages you have incurred, then you are not entitled to any recovery. Furthermore, if you are found to be at fault at some percentage less than 50%, then any damages to which you are entitled will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to your actions. This total or partial bar to recovery applies only to those injuries that are proximately caused by your negligence.

 

8) What is discovery?
            
The discovery process involves the obtaining of information from the opposing party in a lawsuit. Usually discovery involves Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents, and Request for Admissions and Depositions. Interrogatories are questions that are posed to the other side, which must be responded to within 30 days. Request for Production of Documents is just as the name implies, a request for documents in the possession of the other party that may be relevant to the lawsuit. Request for Admissions is a request that the other side admit particular issues of fact. This allows the parties the opportunity to narrow the issues in controversy, which allows the case to be tried faster. Depositions allow attorneys to question both parties and witnesses under oath regarding their knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding a particular case. The testimony is transcribed by a court reporter and the transcript of the deposition can be used to impeach a witness if his story changes when the case is taken to trial.
 
The entire discovery process exists so that both parties in a lawsuit have the ability to find out what information the other party has so that hopefully the parties can move towards a resolution. The discovery process usually begins shortly after the Complaint and Answer have been filed.

 

9) What is Mediation and Arbitration?
            
Horry County, including Myrtle Beach, Socastee, Surfside Beach, Murrells Inlet, is one of several Counties in which alternative dispute resolution is required. Alternative dispute resolution usually involves either mediation or arbitration. Arbitration is for cases which have damages under $25,000.00, while mediation is used in cases with damages in excess of $25,000.00.
 
In arbitration, the parties have what almost amounts to an informal trial before a licensed arbitrator, who is usually an attorney. The arbitrator will weigh the facts and evidence and then give the parties a decision as to whether the plaintiff should be awarded any damages and how much. However, the arbitrator’s decision is not binding and either party can request that the case proceed to a jury trial.
 
Mediation is a process in which a mediator, again usually an attorney, will listen to the facts as presented by both parties and will then attempt to convince the parties to reach a settlement. Usually this is done by splitting the parties up into separate rooms and then negotiating back and forth between the parties in an effort to push them closer to a settlement figure to which both can agree. Whether the parties agree to settle is completely left in the hands of the parties themselves. However if a mediated settlement is reached, the Court will require the parties to abide by the agreed settlement.

 

Call the Joye, Nappier, Risher & Hardin Law Firm today at 843-357-6454 and let us help you with your personal injury or wrongful death.