Legal Information on South Carolina Law

What is the Average Value of a Personal Injury Settlement?

If you were injured and are curious about personal injury settlements, this question is probably at the top of your list. The short answer is it depends on the type of injury, and if the person intended to injure you.

In this article you will learn:

  • The requirements of a personal injury claim
  • The value of compensation you may recover if you win
  • The different types of compensation you may be able to receive
  • The limits of a personal injury settlement if any

How much money could I make off my personal injury case?

The exact amount can’t be guessed from the outset, but there are a few factors that can give an indication of the type of settlement you could receive.

Your lawyer will ask you three questions when assessing this:

  1. Did someone else injure you?
  2. Did that person intend to hurt you?
  3. How badly are you hurt?

The basic rules:

  1. For minor injuries the damages are in the thousands.
  2. For major injuries the damages are in the millions.

As a practicing lawyer the basic rule is — if the damage is severe enough to go to the hospital then you should expect greater than $20,000 in damages if someone else was at fault. $20,000 is the low range and it can go upwards of 20 million if you suffered a horrible injury and there was particularly bad conduct on the part of the defendant.

“The goal is to make you whole again as if the damage never happened. Damages can range from thousands to millions depending on how badly you were harmed.”

Caps on Personal Injury Awards

There are limits to non-economic damages in South Carolina. In general, if you are not injured in a hospital there are no caps for non-economic damages.

However, if we bring the case as a medical malpractice case, those caps increase every year. In 2019 they are ­462,070 dollars for non-economic damages. If multiple providers are involved, then the cap in 2019 becomes 1,386,205 million. These caps are adjusted each year based on the consumer price index.

Charities, Nonprofits and Governmental Entities

The South Carolina legislature has determined that there are caps that can be applied for charities, non-profits, and governmental entities. Such caps are defined by the “Tort Claims Act” or SC Code § 15-78-10. The basic cap for damages against government non-physician employees is $300,000 per occurrence.

There are provisions protecting hospitals as charities, which reduce the damages you can recover for acts of physicians from them to 1,200,000 million per instance adjusted with the consumer price index.

There are several instances where the caps don’t apply. If someone acted intentionally, grossly negligent, or recklessly then the caps on damages don’t apply.

Compensation for Non-Economic Damages

There are data sources available to your lawyer which will allow the lawyer to know the fair value for your case. This usually is the amount of damages you have sustained: psychological, emotional, and physical. However, there are caps for non-economic damages.
How much can I recover if I am hurt for my injury other than for non-economic damages?

Generally, the damages include lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and medical bills. There are many other elements of damages which your injury lawyer will explore.

Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity

The amount of damages depends on you and your profession. If you are a professional athlete your damages may be more for an injured knee than if you are a computer programmer because your body is how you earn your livelihood. If you are an actor and are disfigured, then your damages will be higher than if you are a professor because your face is your livelihood and your loss of earnings will be greater.

The basic questions you must ask:

  1. How does the injury impair your life on a daily basis?
  2. How does the injury harm your ability to earn your livelihood?

If your life is significantly impaired the damages will be greater than if the injury doesn’t change your life very much. If the injury harms your livelihood the damages will be greater than if it doesn’t. Please think of all aspects of how the injury affects your life and livelihood and tell us.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

A personal injury lawyer will speak to an economist and life care planner to assess the damages done to you from the injury.

The economist will provide estimates which takes into consideration your injury, the impairment of your ability to work, your medical bills, and any necessary additional needs you may have such as nursing care or help. The goal is to make it seem as though the injury never happened by returning you to whole.

One of the best aspects of our lawyers is we consider psychological and emotional damages as well. The South Carolina law on non-economic damages is under SC Code § 15-32-200.

Our lawyer will ask you to assess your damages and will ask you several questions about your injury, including:

  1. Were you in pain?
  2. Did you suffer?
  3. Was your ability to perform your daily functions impaired?
  4. Do you now have physical limitations?
  5. Have you suffered a horrible injury and been disfigured?
  6. Were you emotionally or psychologically affected from the events?
  7. Did you lose the companionship of your spouse or loved one?
  8. Did you suffer an injury to your reputation or were you humiliated?

If you are in pain and suffering due to the negligence of another you deserve to be compensated for having to suffer that horrible agony. How much you can recover depends on how badly you suffered. If there is ongoing suffering the damages typically will be higher. If you suffered even briefly there can still be very high damages depending on the nature of your injury.

Please schedule your free in-person no obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney to figure out how much you may be entitled to receive.

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