Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are arguably some of the worst injuries that can be sustained, and there are unfortunately many different ways to incur one through personal injury. The manner in which you are injured will affect your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries.
South Carolina is a state that, thankfully, sees fewer natural disasters than many. However, they do happen – hurricanes and tropical storms are the most common, bringing flooding and widespread destruction. October 2015 saw a FEMA disaster declaration due to severe storms. These disasters cause injuries, and some of them are severe. The average individual might think that such injuries are not compensable, but in some situations, they are.
One of the main reasons that employees and independent contractors are differentiated is because it affects the question of who may receive benefits, such as workers’ compensation. Generally, one must be an employee to be eligible for benefits, but as the economy in the United States changes and evolves, this is no longer as cut and dried a question as it once might have been. You may be entitled to compensation, or at the very least, to redress for injuries you may have suffered.
Accidents do happen. As South Carolinians age, more and more of those accidents are turning out to be of the slip and fall variety. Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the United States, especially for older adults – approximately one in three experiences a fall each year – and if someone else is responsible for your injury, you have the right to bring suit against them.
Very frequently, in South Carolina law, one comes across the term “strict liability.” It is a legal theory that assigns liability even if one had no intent to injure or cause other harm. Because it does not actually require proof of malice or negligence, there are many misconceptions about when the theory applies. Acquiring a better understanding can help make the difference between a successful lawsuit and one dismissed with prejudice.
Car accidents occur for a multitude of reasons, most of them attributable to driver error. However, there are instances when an accident is not foreseeable, or when who or what exactly caused the accident is in dispute. It can be difficult to determine what actually caused the crash, but if causation cannot be proven, it is near impossible to mount a successful personal injury case.
Actual vs. “Proximate” Cause
In South Carolina negligence law, causation is one of the elements that must be proven in order to show that a defendant was negligent. However, actually proving it can be quite complex, because in many cases causation has two aspects. Accidents have an actual cause, also known as cause in fact, and many have what is referred to as a proximate cause.
Proximate cause is defined as an act from which foreseeable consequences stem, without any superseding or intervening action from another actor. For example, if A hits a stop sign in her car, which then falls over and crushes B’s leg, A’s actions are the actual cause of B’s injuries, but because it is not generally foreseeable that a sign would fall and cause significant harm, they are not the proximate cause.
Sometimes, actual and proximate causation stem from the same action – for example, if a semi-truck driver strikes a car due to poor driving from lack of sleep, the truck driver’s actions are both the actual cause, and the proximate cause, because no other actor intervened.
The key factor that you as a plaintiff should be aware of is the question of unforeseeability. If the actions that caused your injury were not foreseeable for one reason or another, you may be unable to collect compensation. It is good public policy not to penalize someone for actions they could not foresee.
If a defendant’s actions cause harm, but the harm is not foreseeable, they will not be found liable. The most common reasons for this are twofold. First, in situations when the defendant’s actions might be the proximate cause of harm, the harm suffered may be so extraordinary that it could not have been foreseen. This is the category into which “force majeure” actions fall – for example, if a defendant negligently left wood and hay lying next to a gas-powered farm machine, one might assume reasonably that fire is a foreseeable risk. However, if a fire starts due to a lightning strike, the defendant would not be liable, because it would have been impossible to predict lightning striking in that exact place.
The second is when foreseeable harm happens, but it is to an unforeseen extent or of an unforeseen type. For example, if a truck hauling explosive materials is struck by a car, the car’s driver would be liable for the injuries the trucker sustained in the car accident itself, but likely not for any injuries related to the cargo exploding.
The exception to this statement is the so-called “eggshell plaintiff” rule, which states that a defendant must take his plaintiff as he finds him. The case of Raino v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (1992) states explicitly that if a plaintiff has a pre-existing condition, and it is made worse, they are entitled to recover for those injuries, regardless of whether or not they were foreseeable.
Seek Experienced Legal Assistance
The legal niceties inherent in determining whether or not you have a case can confuse even the most intelligent person. A skilled auto accident lawyer can help cut through the confusion, and guide you through the lawsuit process toward what can hopefully be a favorable outcome. The dedicated North Charleston car accident attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse have many years of experience with these cases, and will do our best to help you. Contact us for an appointment today.
Some people complain that our society has become too litigious in recent years, with people threatening suit for every little hurt, both real and imagined. However, there are others who live with potentially dangerous conditions that can be triggered by someone’s negligence. If this does occur, it is only right that the negligent person be held liable for any injuries they cause. Food allergies have become a very real concern for many families in the United States, becoming the leading cause of potentially deadly anaphylactic shock outside of hospitals according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you or a loved one experiences harm due to an allergy, you have the right to bring suit.
When you are injured on the job, your first instinct is to visit a medical professional. However, there is someone besides yourself and your family who may get a say in which medical professionals you receive treatment from – your employer. If you sustain a work-related injury in South Carolina, your employer has at least some say in who treats it.
When someone dies due to the wrongful or negligent conduct of another person, their surviving family may bring an action for wrongful death. It is especially agonizing when the deceased is a child. In South Carolina, however, there are certain rules over what you as parents may or may not bring suit for. Some damages are only recoverable by the estate, and some by the family. It is important to understand the interplay between the legal niceties, to ensure that you and your family have the best chance possible to receive appropriate compensation.
When you are the victim of an accident, you can sustain any number of varied injuries, though some are more common than others. One of the most common injuries sustained in accidents is traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is primarily due to blunt trauma. If you or a loved one has sustained a TBI, you may be entitled to compensation, especially if your injuries were the result of negligence.