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5 Common Mistakes in a Personal Injury Case in South Carolina

5 Common Mistakes in a Personal Injury Case in South Carolina 1

If you’ve suffered harm from an accident or injury and somebody else may be legally responsible for that harm, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Your first step to getting that compensation is filing a personal injury claim. 

Personal injury is the legal term used to describe any case that involves injury to your body, mind, or emotions — and if you’re the plaintiff, you may be able to recover compensatory damages, either economic or non-economic, for what you’ve endured. 

However, in order to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, it’s important that you follow all the right steps and avoid making mistakes before or during the claim filing process. To cue you in on what you should be aware of, here are five common mistakes to avoid while filing your personal injury case in South Carolina. 

5 Common Mistakes in a Personal Injury Case in South Carolina

Personal injury lawsuits are meant to protect you and your future — but if you miss any key components in the process, you may risk not getting the compensation you deserve. Here’s a list of five common mistakes you should avoid during your personal injury case in South Carolina. 

1. Not Calling the Police or Obtaining a Police Report

Whether you end up in court or at a settlement table, the truth of your case only matters to the extent in which you can prove it — and obtaining a police report is the critical first step in doing so. 

People’s viewpoints on the accident can change once they’ve had time to reflect or be advised on the situation. This is why it’s important to have a police officer document the situation right away. The evidence found in that report will help you prove your case. So don’t forget to call or choose not to call the police, and don’t let the defendant talk you out of it either. 

2. Not Speaking to Witnesses

As time goes by, witnesses’ memories fade and change. In fact, the mere passage of time can be used to discredit a witness’s testimony in court, even if they can still recount it all perfectly. On top of that, sometimes witnesses will move out of town or be difficult to locate. 

The bottom line here? Speak to witnesses and get their statements as soon as possible. Their testimonies can help preserve and prove the important details of your claim, further ensuring that you receive the amount of compensation you’re entitled to. 

3. Not Going to the Doctor or Following Doctor’s Recommendations

When it comes to going to the doctor to treat your injury, there are a few mistakes that can be made. 

  1. The first, of course, is not going to the doctor at all. 
  2. The second is lying to your doctor and exaggerating symptoms to get more compensation. 
  3. And the third is failing to follow up on appointments or your doctor’s recommendations. 

In a personal injury case, your doctor’s diagnosis, treatment plan, and recommendations are just as important as the police report. You need to get an honest and professional medical evaluation, obtain documentation of what’s wrong and what it will take to heal, and follow through with it all. Otherwise, your credibility can suffer and the value of your claim can drop significantly. 

4. Posting on Social Media

While you’re in the midst of a personal injury claim, insurance companies will do everything they can to discredit your claim — even monitor your social media profiles. If you post anything that could affect the credibility of your testimony and claim, they can and will use it against you. 

Say, for instance, you were injured in a car accident, and two days later you post a photo of yourself drinking alcohol at a party. Even if the party occurred long before or long after your accident, they could find a way to use it against you and deny or discredit your claim. Therefore, it’s best to refrain from any type of posting while your case is pending. 

5. Waiting Too Long to File

If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina, you need to do it as quickly as possible. The sooner, the better. 

There’s a time limit in every state to file, known as the statute of limitations. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations is generally two to three years — with the clock starting on the day of your incident. And since it can take time to gather documentation and prepare your case, it’s better to start the process early. 

How a Columbia, SC Lawyer Can Help You in Your Personal Injury Case

Those five mistakes can significantly reduce your ability to get full compensation for what you’ve suffered — but perhaps the biggest mistake of all is not working with a Columbia, SC lawyer. 

While you can choose to legally represent yourself, the process will go much smoother if you have a lawyer to help you. Working with an experienced lawyer in Columbia, SC gives you a knowledgeable professional to advocate for your needs and maximize your compensation. And they’ll make sure you don’t commit any of these five common personal injury case mistakes. 
Ready to pursue your personal injury suit? Trust Bernstein & Berstein to help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. We’re experienced in claims just like yours and are ready to earn you the peace and relief you need after your experience. Contact our firm today.

Can I Be My Own Lawyer in Columbia, SC?

Can I Be My Own Lawyer in Columbia, SC? 2

No matter what kind of charge you’re facing or claim you’re filing, you’re going to need legal representation — but that representation can come in a variety of forms. In this article, we’ll answer one of the most common questions we get about the legal process: “Can I be my own lawyer?”

Do You Need a Lawyer in Columbia, SC?

No, generally you are not required to hire a lawyer in Columbia, SC. All adult citizens have the constitutional right to represent themselves in court. If you represent yourself, you’re called a “pro se,” “pro per,” or “self-represented” litigant — all of which mean you’re acting as your own attorney. 

However, being your own lawyer isn’t recommended. You’ll rarely achieve better results than you would if you worked with a licensed and experienced attorney — if you receive any results in your favor at all. Licensed, experienced professionals know the complex laws and processes specific to Columbia, SC so well that it’s difficult to proceed without them. 

Some believe that there are benefits to self-representation. In most cases, these are false benefits. Let’s take a look at a few of them: 

Myth #1: You’ll Save Money by Representing Yourself

While you may save money on lawyer fees by choosing to represent yourself, you’ll likely sacrifice a lot of money you could have earned with better representation. In most cases, the outcome you receive by representing yourself is less than ideal. Depending on the situation, you’ll either receive much less compensation than you deserve, or you’ll end up spending a lot more in fines that the judge imposes on you.

Myth #2: You Can Represent Yourself Best Because You Know Your Situation Best

Many people follow the thought process of “I know my situation best, so I can represent myself best.” While it’s true that you were the one who experienced the details of your case first-hand, it’s not always true that you can represent yourself best. Your familiarity with the circumstances doesn’t mean you are familiar with the legal system. You need someone who knows the details of laws and how they apply to your case. 

What You Need to Be Your Own Lawyer in Columbia, SC

If you do decide to be your own lawyer in Columbia, SC, you’ll need to prepare yourself properly for court. To do so, you’ll want to follow these guidelines:

  • Read about the law and how it applies to your case
  • Prepare the evidence that you will use in your case
  • Understand and follow all court rules and procedures
  • Keep track of all documents and deadlines
  • Know where your courtroom is located
  • Act and dress professionally in the courtroom
  • Be realistic about what the judge or jury can and cannot do

5 Main Reasons to Hire a Columbia, SC Lawyer for Legal Help

Being your own lawyer can be overwhelming, and it can often lead to less-than-ideal legal outcomes. In most cases, it’s much more beneficial to hire a Columbia, SC lawyer to represent you. Here are a few main reasons hiring a lawyer is often better than representing yourself: 

  1. The law is complicated and always changing. A licensed lawyer will be informed and up-to-date on it. 
  2. Lawyers know how to leverage evidence. While you may have evidence, they’ll know how to present it most effectively. 
  3. Lawyers are trained in negotiation. They’ll always work to get you the best outcome, whether that be minimized consequences or maximized compensation. 
  4. Lawyers have access to witnesses and experts you need on your side. They’ll know where to go, who to talk to, how to subpoena necessary witnesses, and how to prepare them for a court appearance that works in your favor. 
  5. The other party probably has legal representation. This would give them a big advantage if you chose to represent yourself. 

Looking for some legal help? Talk to our team at Bernstein & Bernstein. We’ll listen to you and make recommendations that best suit your needs. To get started working with one of our Columbia, SC lawyers, give our firm a call or contact us online