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The Injury Claim Process: How Does It Work?

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When you’ve been injured as a result of another person’s actions, there’s always a strong need for justice. After all, why should you bear the burden of the costs associated with your injury when it’s someone else’s negligence that caused it?

The personal injury claims process is complicated and includes hiring an experienced attorney to:

  • Determine if you have a valid claim
  • Investigate the incident
  • Review medical treatment and records
  • Send a demand package
  • Negotiate with Insurance Company
  • Negotiation medical liens
  • File a lawsuit if necessary

While you can certainly file an insurance claim on your own without a lawyer, hiring a professional legal team will be incredibly beneficial. Not only will you have to do less of the legal legwork yourself, but personal injury victims ultimately tend to get bigger settlements in the end.

Your personal injury lawyer will likely handle the bulk of the work on your behalf, but it’s important to understand the injury claim process as your attorney is moving through it so that you can play your part adequately.

What Is A Claim For An Injury?

The first thing you need to understand is what an injury claim is. A claim is defined as a formal proclamation that you, the plaintiff, are owed compensation for the loss. A personal injury claim asserts your right to be paid back for damages incurred as a result of an injury caused by another – the defendant.

Common Types Of Personal Injury Cases

What You Need To Do Before Meeting With A Personal Injury Lawyer

So, you feel that you have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the party you feel is responsible for your injury. Before any official legal action can be taken, there are some things you need to collect or sort out.

Bring these items with you to your initial consultation:

  • Medical records associated with the injury in question
  • Any documents or photos collected at the scene of the incident
  • Police reports regarding the incident
  • Any other relevant evidence related to your claim

Having these items compiled and organized in preparation for your first meeting with a personal injury attorney will ensure a speedy process, saving you time and money.

The 5 Steps In The Personal Injury Claim Process

1. Consultation With A Greenville Personal Injury Lawyer

At your first meeting with the attorney, you’ll explain the injury incident and why you feel the other party is responsible. Fault will be determined based on documentation and the legal knowledge of your lawyer, and they will decide whether your claim is valid and will likely result in settlement.

2. Send A Demand Package

Next, your lawyer will send a letter of demand to the defendant’s insurance provider. This letter is a formal request for financial compensation on the injured party’s behalf.

The demand letter will detail:

  • A summarization of the injuries incurred during the incident
  • A specific description of medical care that was provided as well as overall medical costs
  • Other damages incurred due to the injury, including lost income, property damage, as well as pain and suffering
  • Reasons the defendant is liable for the injury
  • A demand for a settlement of a specific amount

The demand package that your lawyer will send to the at-fault party will include:

  • The demand letter
  • Medical bills detailing medical expenses incurred
  • Police reports or other official reports detailing the incident
  • Documentation of lost wages
  • Any other supporting documentation or photos of the incident

Once the demand package is received by the insurance company, they’ll determine a course of action and will either pay the settlement, present a counteroffer, or decline to pay the settlement at all. At this point, your lawyer may progress into settlement negotiations with the insurance carrier, or they’ll move forward with a formal lawsuit.

3. File A Personal Injury Complaint

When no settlement can be agreed on (or the insurance company declines to pay the settlement at all), a personal injury complaint will be submitted. A complaint is a formal notice to the court that you are filing a lawsuit against the defendant and the insurance company.

Once filed, the complaint needs to be officially served to the defendant within a set period.

4. The Discovery Process

Once the complaint has been filed and served to the defendant, your lawyer (and the defendant’s lawyer) will enter a period where investigations are performed, witnesses are interviewed, and evidence is gathered.

5. Go To Trial (If A Settlement Isn’t Reached)

Most personal injury cases are settled before they get to the point of a trial. Trials are expensive, and most insurance companies avoid the cost of court fees by eventually settling on a compensation agreement.

However, should your claim be denied by the insurance carrier, your lawyer may take your case to trial. The court will hear both sides of the case, and either a jury or a judge will provide judgment on the case. The defendant will either be held liable and ordered to pay the damages, or the defendant will be deemed not liable, and the case will be dismissed.

How Long Do Most Personal Injury Claims Take?

It often takes a while for a lawsuit to be brought before the court in South Carolina. Particularly when it comes to personal injury lawsuits, insurance companies are known to intentionally delay the process to gain more time to build their case against you.

From the time a complaint is filed with the court, it can take anywhere between one and two years for the case to finally be called before a judge. The good news is that the trial itself often takes only a week or so before a judgment is reached.

What’s The Statute Of Limitations For South Carolina Personal Injury Claims?

A statute of limitations refers to how long after the incident the plaintiff has to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. When it comes to the South Carolina statute of limitations for personal injury, you have three years to file your lawsuit – two years if the responsible party is a government entity.

After the time period has elapsed, you will not be able to legally seek compensation for the damages you incurred due to the incident.

How Do I Know If I Have A Personal Injury Case?

You have a valid personal injury claim if you’re able to prove that:

What Is A Personal Injury Claim?

When you file a personal injury claim, you are declaring that someone else’s actions or negligence physically harmed you. This claim starts a legal court process by which you attempt to gain financial restitution for the damages that the injury event caused you.

Is A Personal Injury Claim A Civil Case?

There are two types of cases: criminal and civil. A criminal case is brought against someone by the state, which involves determining whether the defendant committed a crime. A civil case is brought against the defendant by the plaintiff. The plaintiff is the party that has been allegedly harmed—physically, emotionally, or financially—and is seeking compensation for those severe injuries. A personal injury lawsuit falls under the category of a civil case and seeks restitution from the at-fault party and their insurance company.

The Most Common Personal Injury Cases

Injury can happen anywhere, but specific categories of personal injuries most commonly result in compensation.

Car Accidents

The most common personal injury cases are those that result from car crashes. The at-fault party’s insurance company typically pays compensation for damages incurred.


Assault doesn’t result from a party’s negligence but someone’s willful harm to another person. You can seek compensation from your attacker for physical injuries and other damages.

Medical Malpractice

When health care providers make mistakes, they can be catastrophic. Injuries from medical errors can often leave patients with substantial injuries and life-long health problems. Doctors and other healthcare practitioners can also be held accountable for their negligence.

Workplace Injuries

Employees could file personal injury claims against an employer if they sustained an injury at work due to faulty equipment, lack of training, or otherwise unsafe conditions in the workplace.

Product Liability

If you purchased a product that was defective in some way and it caused bodily injury, you may be able to seek compensation from the company that made or sold the product.

Premises Liability

Premises liability cases claim that an injury occurred on the defendant’s property and happened due to the defendant’s negligence.


Injuries aren’t always of a physical nature. There are some instances where a person’s words are equally harmful to you. If someone damages your reputation through untruthful verbal or written words and you can prove that the statements made were untrue, you could be entitled to compensation.

Compensation For Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury victims may be entitled to a settlement that covers a range of damages, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other direct losses

Can You Sue For Emotional Distress In South Carolina?

Yes. You can file a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina based on emotional distress caused by negligence. Emotional distress is considered a non-economic damage.

Types Of Personal Injury Evidence

The most frequently used evidence in successful personal injury claims are medical bills and records that prove the injury occurred and show how much it cost you. However, other evidence could be used to support your personal injury claim.

Evidence Of The Injuring Event

  • Police reports
  • Incident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Videos or photographs
  • Medical records

Evidence That The Injury Caused Harm

  • Medical bills
  • Insurance paperwork
  • Financial records
  • Proof of lost wages (check stubs, employer statements, etc.)

Comparative Negligence In South Carolina Law

While you want to be compensated for every cent you incurred in a personal injury lawsuit, remember that South Carolina personal injury law uses a comparative negligence model for determining fault. Fault can be shared between multiple parties. For example, if it’s determined that you are 40% liable for a car accident, the other party will only be responsible for paying 60% of the proposed settlement.

How Long Do I Have To File My Personal Injury Claim In SC?

A statute of limitations gives you a deadline for when you can file a lawsuit against an at-fault party. In South Carolina, the personal injury statute of limitations is three years from the date of the injuring event.

Enlist The Help Of A Greenville Personal Injury Attorney For Your Claim

When you’ve experienced physical hardships, financial loss, and emotional trauma as a result of an injury, it’s important to pursue legal action against the responsible party as soon as possible. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you’ll get the fair settlement you deserve without the headaches of having to do the legal legwork yourself.

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