What Are My Legal Options After a Slip and Fall Accident?

A slip and fall accident can lead to substantial medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering for victims. These types of injuries are extremely common, particularly for older adults who are prone to broken bones. From 2007 through 2016, slip and fall death rates increased 30% for older adults.

Proving Negligence

A slip and fall case is more complicated than most people think. It is not as simple as slipping and falling on someone’s property and getting a payout. In fact, there are several elements that must be proven in a slip and fall case for the other party to be considered liable:

  • There was a duty of care owed to the plaintiff by the defendant
  • The defendant did not fulfill their obligation, either through negligence or omission
  • There were measurable damages that occurred as a result of the breach of duty

Each element must be present for a slip and fall case to be successful. If any element is difficult to prove, then it may be more challenging to negotiate a settlement or win in court. For example, consider a trespasser. It is difficult to prove that a store owner has a duty of care to a person who is not supposed to be on the property.

The Statute of Limitations in South Carolina

Each state has its own statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents. In South Carolina, victims can file a personal injury case within three years of the incident. However, there may be unique circumstances that affect the statute of limitations for your slip and fall case. Always consult with an attorney before making any major decisions about filing deadlines.

Evidence to Keep After a Slip and Fall Accident

Compared to other types of injury cases, a slip and fall accident can be difficult to prove. For example, in a car accident case, there is typically a police report that records the incident and indicates the damage suffered on both sides. There is rarely a police report for a slip and fall, which makes it even more important to collect evidence. A personal injury attorney can help you conduct an investigation of the accident scene. Types of evidence include:

  • Security camera footage, which often needs to be pulled and backed up immediately to prevent intentional or unintentional erasure
  • Pictures of the scene of the accident
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records and reports
  • Incident report filled out by the manager on duty

Explore Your Legal Options by Contacting Our South Carolina Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers

Contacting a lawyer promptly after your fall can help you save necessary evidence and build a strong case against the property owner. For help with your Rock Hill slip and fall accident claim, contact the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. today at (803) 324-7200.

Your Guide to Getting Personal Injury Compensation for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health problem that can affect an individual after a life-threatening incident. Common triggers of PTSD include combat, a car crash, witnessing the death of a loved one, sexual assault, or a natural disaster. While the symptoms of PTSD are common in the aftermath of any traumatic event, if they last for months and do not improve with time, these symptoms may point to PTSD.

If the root cause of your PTSD is an event caused by someone else—for example, a car crash—you may be able to seek damages with a personal injury lawsuit. This is especially helpful for those who are unable to find or maintain employment due to the severity of their PTSD symptoms. Before heading to court, you will need to hire South Carolina personal injury lawyers and consider the following factors in your case.

Evidence Is Key

Every personal injury case relies heavily on evidence, but this is especially true when a mental disorder is the primary injury for which you are seeking compensation. Not only must your legal team be able to prove that you have the disorder in question, they must also demonstrate how it affects your life, prove that the initial accident caused your PTSD, and show how the other party’s action or inaction caused the initial accident. Your legal team may consult with psychiatric experts and researchers to build a solid case on your behalf.

Using Witnesses to Back Up Your Case

Witnesses are an important part of a personal injury case involving PTSD. PTSD is still widely misunderstood by much of the general population, with many still believing that it only affects those who have participated in armed combat. Expert witnesses can testify about the diagnostic requirements of PTSD and how PTSD manifests in individuals. They may also indicate whether the plaintiff’s symptoms would lead to a diagnosis of PTSD.

Your team may also call witnesses who can testify about your behavior after the incident. This does not necessarily mean someone with a background in medicine. Witnesses may simply be people who know you and have seen your PTSD symptoms impact your daily life. However, any mental health professionals you have seen may be able to provide expert testimony and testify that you have exhibited PTSD symptoms.

Determining Damages

For any personal injury case to succeed, a victim must have verifiable damages. Compensatory damages include medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that you can easily put a financial value on. General damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other damages that are harder to quantify. Your legal team must prove that you have verifiable damages as a result of your PTSD diagnosis.

Looking for Help With Your Personal Injury Case?

Choosing the right team of South Carolina personal injury lawyers can help you build the strongest case possible. Reach out to the team at the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. to discuss your potential case. Contact our Rock Hill office at (803) 324-7200.

Additional Reading:

Getting the Compensation You Deserve Following a Burn Injury

There are few things more painful than suffering a severe burn injury. Victims that suffer from these injuries can take weeks, months, and sometimes years to recover. Some will never recover fully, and instead suffer from permanent disfigurement. 

Because of the seriousness of burn injuries, those found responsible are required to provide compensation — sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars worth.

However, in many cases, you must prove the defendant was guilty of negligence or recklessness in a court of law before recovering your compensation.

Proving Negligence

A burn injury lawsuit is a specific type of personal injury lawsuit, which is typically filed when the negligence of another person leads to serious injury or wrongful death. 

Proving negligence is, unfortunately, not as simple as giving a sworn testament. You must prove that (1) the defendant owed you a certain duty of care, (2) that duty of care was violated, and (3) that violation led directly to your injuries.

For example, if you were driving on the roadway, other drivers automatically owe you a certain duty of care. That duty of care is violated when another driver causes an accident. If that accident led directly to your burn injury, you can prove negligence in court.

It’s important to note that, in cases where a manufacturer or defective product is responsible for your burn injury, the process is quite different and may not require proof of negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney can help sort through the details and gather information to assist in building your case.

Types of Compensation

Should you win your burn injury lawsuit, there are several types of compensation you may be awarded. These include:

  • Medical Bills — The defendant may be responsible for paying your medical bills, including surgeries, medication, and long-term care. He or she may also be responsible for any future medical bills you incur due to your injury. This number will be estimated, so the court can render a full decision.
  • Loss of Income — When you suffer from a serious injury, you miss work. When you miss work, you lose income necessary to pay your bills. The defendant may be responsible for this missed time.
  • Property Damage — If the fire that caused your burn injuries also led to the destruction of your property, the defendant will likely be held responsible for footing the bill. This includes your home, personal property, equipment, or vehicle.
  • Disfigurement or Disability — Because burn injuries can so often lead to life-long damage, the defendant may be required to compensate for disfigurement or disability. This type of compensation is less tangible, but can amount to thousands of dollars.
  • Pain and Suffering — Much like disfigurement or disability, there is no surefire way to measure the amount of pain and suffering your injury caused. However, the defendant may be required to compensate for the emotional damage that came with your physical injury. Again, this type of compensation can be quite exhaustive, bringing your total to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Contact an Experienced Burn Injury Lawyer for Assistance

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a burn injury caused by a negligent or reckless party? You deserve compensation for your pain and suffering. For representation, contact our team of South Carolina burn injury lawyers at The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Lancaster, or Union by calling (803)-324-7200.

Additional Reading:

AMERICA’S TOP 100 PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS®

Photo of America's Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys

Contact: Kevin Wieser: Membership Director

Telephone: (714) 409-8126

Email: Membership@AmericasTop100Attorneys.com

Website: www.Top100PersonalInjuryAttorneys.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 25, 2019 – Announcing the selection of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr.  among America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys® for 2019. Selection to America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation’s most exceptional litigators for high-value personal injury, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice matters. 

To be considered for selection, an attorney must focus more than 50% of their active legal practice on personal injury, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, product liability, and/or medical malpractice matters. These minimum qualifications are required for initial consideration. Thereafter, candidates are carefully screened through Advanced Data Analytics evaluating a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant personal injury settlements and/or verdicts, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state. 

Only the top 100 qualifying attorneys in each state will receive this honor and be selected for membership among America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys®. With these extremely high standards for selection to America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys®, less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States will receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of attorneys in the community.

Personal Injury Lawyers: Three Most Common Questions Asked

 

Although each personal injury case is unique, the questions that usually get asked have plenty in common – and Craig Wilkerson shares what those three questions are, along with his answers.

Question 1: Do I need a lawyer?

The answer is, of course, it depends. But, if you’ve been in an accident and are thinking you can pursue legal remedies without an attorney, make sure you understand:

  • The difference between uninsured motorists and underinsured motorists
  • What subrogation means in connection with health insurance and how that concept can affect your eligibility for health care coverage
  • The difference between the North Carolina collateral source rule and the South Carolina collateral source rule – because they are mirror opposites of one another
  • The difference between comparative negligence and contributory negligence

If you’re good so far, be sure to also watch this video to find out what else you need to know if you’d like to proceed with your personal injury case without an attorney:

If you can accurately answer all of the questions in the video, then you may not need a lawyer. If you can’t, then you definitely do.

Question 2: How long will my case take?

Craig suggests that you reframe that question to “How long will it take for me to get well?” Think about what events have transpired to bring you to this point and what it will take to remedy that situation.

Question 3: How much is my case worth?

First, the simple answer. Craig says, “I can’t tell you.” He compares that to knowing how much it would take to build a house without seeing the plans for the house. What he can tell you: that he and his firm of personal injury lawyers provide excellent, aggressive representation with a proven track record of success, including in the South Carolina Supreme Court. Find more information about those court cases.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today

Our law firm provides representation in the following areas of service:

Our offices are located in Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Lancaster, and we primarily represent clients in three counties: York, Chester and Lancaster – but are available for representation through the state of South Carolina.

You can find more information about our personal injury lawyers here.

Contact us online for a free case evaluation from our personal injury attorneys or call 803-324-7200 today.

Troubling News About Traffic Accidents in South Carolina

Traffic Accidents In South Carolina

(Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash)

According to the 2015 South Carolina Crash Statistics Clock, there is a traffic collision:

  • taking place in our state every 3.9 minutes
  • causing injuries every 13.9 minutes in South Carolina, with someone being injured every 9 minutes
  • damaging property in South Carolina every 5.5 minutes
  • leading to at least one fatality every 9.6 hours, with someone being killed once every 8.9 hours

Here are additional concerning collision statistics from the same source:

  • Someone is killed in a DUI accident (.08+) every 29.1 hours
  • A teen driver is involved in a fatal or injury collision every 1.3 hours
  • One unrestrained motor vehicle occupant is killed every 27.5 hours
  • One bicyclist is killed every 22.8 days
  • One motorcyclist is killed every 2.6 days
  • One pedestrian is killed every 2.9 days
  • One child under the age of six is seriously injured or killed every 7 days

Increasing Numbers of Accidents

(Photo by Eric Welch on Unsplash)

Traffic fatalities increased from 823 in 2014 to 979 in 2015, which is a 19 percent increase. Plus, by looking at fatalities in another way, via the death rate by mileage, this also increased: from 1.65 deaths per million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 to 1.89 in 2015.

Traffic-related injuries also increased, with 58,604 in 2015, a 10.5 percent increase from the previous year.

Traffic collisions are the cause of economic loss in South Carolina, as well, measuring in the billions of dollars every year. This is because of associated medical costs, lost productivity and property damage, which doesn’t even begin to factor in the intangibles such as grief and suffering.

The economic impact is also increasing in our state: $4.12 billion in 2015, up by 15 percent from 2014.

Why South Carolina?

Traffic Accidents In South Carolina

(Photo by Alexandre Godreau on Unsplash)

“Rural roadways, speeding and careless driving could be making South Carolina among the deadliest states in the nation for drivers.” (PostAndCourier.com)

This 2016 article cites a study that uses National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data – one that ranks South Carolina drivers as the third worst in the nation. This is the fifth year for this study, and South Carolina has landed in the five top worst spots for the past four years. Even more troubling, our state ranked first for the vehicular fatality rate when using the most recent data available. Drunk driving? Tenth. Speeding and careless driving? Seventh.

Another report shows that, by August 2016, every county in South Carolina already had one or more traffic fatalities for the year to date.

Rock Hill Auto Accident Attorneys

Attorneys at the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson are dedicated to helping injury victims. Insurance companies already have people looking out for their interests – so, shouldn’t you? And, if the worst happens, and you lose a loved one through a traffic fatality, we are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Let’s talk. You can request a free case evaluation with an experienced car accident attorney or call the number for the office closest to you:

Our firm represents clients in York County, Chester County and Lancaster County in South Carolina, as well as statewide. When necessary, we’ve taken cases all the way to the South Carolina Supreme Court, so you can be assured that we don’t back down from the toughest cases – including yours.

Importance of a Free Case Evaluation

free case evaluation

When choosing a personal injury attorney, one of the most important steps is meeting with your potential lawyer for a consultation. This initial meeting is your chance to ask questions about your case, learn about fees and expenses, and get to know the attorney. Here are some tips to help your case evaluation run smoothly.

Before the consultation

First, does the attorney offer a free case evaluation? Make sure you’re clear about that.

Next, bring all documents you have relating to your case to the meeting, such as medical records, medical bills, and correspondence with the insurance company. Ideally, you should make multiple copies of all your documents so that you can give one set to your lawyer and keep one or more at home.

Before the meeting, write down your legal problem in detail. To best represent you, your lawyer will need a full understanding of your case.

Take some time to write down a list of questions to ask during the consultation. You may want to ask how many years of experience the lawyer has and whether he or she has worked on cases similar to yours.

Bring material to take notes during the consultation, such as a pen and paper, laptop, tablet, or even a cell phone.

If the lawyer sends you any questionnaires before the meeting, be sure to fill them out completely.

During the consultation

When speaking with the attorney, be completely honest about your case. Everything you tell the lawyer during the meeting is confidential, even if you do not hire him or her after the initial consultation. It is in your best interest to give your attorney all relevant information.

Ask about fees, costs, and payment plans. When you come to an agreement, make sure you write it down and keep a copy. If you and your lawyer determine that your legal expenses will be more than $1,000, then the attorney must give you a copy of your fee agreement in writing.

Read documents before signing and make sure you understand them. If necessary, ask your lawyer to fully explain everything in a document before you sign it.

Make copies of all letters and documents the lawyer gives you for your own files, and keep them with the fee agreement between you and your lawyer.

Ask which method of communication your attorney prefers: e-mail, phone, fax or something else.

After the consultation

Your attorney will most likely ask you to send additional documents about your case to review in detail.

He or she may also give you advice on how to proceed with your case.

Here’s more information about how to choose a personal injury attorney.

Do you need to hire a personal injury lawyer?

To schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced personal injury attorney in South Carolina, contact the Law Office of F. Craig Wilkerson. Contact us online or call us at the phone numbers below:

 

Benefits of Choosing Us as Your Personal Injury Attorneys

searching for a personal injury lawyer

If you are looking for a South Carolina personal injury lawyer in Rock Hill, Lancaster or Fort Mill – or the surrounding areas – then we invite you to contact us for a free case evaluation. Our professional team of attorneys has significant experience in a wide range of personal injury areas and has even gone to the South Carolina Supreme Court when necessary. We are willing to take on the toughest cases.

Here’s more about our law firm.

South Carolina Personal Injury Representation

Our South Carolina attorneys are the experienced, professional choice and we aggressively represent people with personal injury cases. Here are just a few areas where we have expertise:

Attorney F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr.

Craig Wilkerson, personal injury lawyer

Craig has dozens of years of experience as a civil litigator and is licensed in South Carolina and the U.S. District Court. He focuses primarily on trial work in common pleas jury trials but has also taken cases to the South Carolina Court of Appeals and the South Carolina Supreme Court.

He is a native of Rock Hill and proudly served in the Marine Corps as a JAG officer, reaching the rank of captain. Craig also has experience as an assistant U.S. attorney and prosecutor. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina School of Law.

He takes on cases, statewide, and works out of the Rock Hill and Fort Mill offices of the law firm. You can reach him at 803-324-7200 for Rock Hill or 803-396-5200 for Fort Mill, or via email at fcwilkerson@aol.com.

Attorney Brandon Nobles

Brandon Nobles, personal injury lawyer

Brandon is also a South Carolina native and currently resides in Rock Hill. He practices civil litigation law with a focus on personal injury, typically taking on cases where people are injured in car and motorcycle accidents, serious falls or dog bites, or when there are insurance disputes, including bad faith claims and fire claims.

He earned an undergraduate degree in business administration and finance from Coastal Carolina University and then graduated with honors from the Charlotte School of Law.

Brandon also takes on cases, statewide, and works primarily out of the Rock Hill office. For an appointment with Brandon, please call 803-324-7200, or via email at bgnobles@fcwlaw.com.

Attorney Luke Knight

Luke Wright, personal injury attorney

Luke is a native of South Carolina, as well, from Lancaster County – and he also practices civil litigation. A graduate of the Florida Coastal School of Law, he interned at the State Attorney’s office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Jacksonville, Florida before returning to South Carolina. He gained valuable experience at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department as their staff attorney and also as the prosecutor for the Solicitor’s Office.

Luke Knight handles cases throughout the state. To schedule an appointment with Luke, please contact him at 803-324-7200 or 803-289-7202. He is also accessible through email at lknight@fcwlaw.com.

Contact us for a free case evaluation today!

 

How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Attorney

personal injury attorney consultation

So, you’ve decided you need to seek legal assistance for your personal injury case. What are your next steps? How do you choose the right attorney?

First, do your research. Look for lawyers by asking friends and family members for recommendations and investigate the reputation of law practices by reading reviews and contacting your state bar association to determine which lawyers are in good standing.

Look for an attorney who focuses on personal injury cases. When you choose an experienced attorney, it is far more likely that he or she has dealt with cases like yours and will therefore handle your case properly.

Try to find a personal injury attorney in your geographical area because you’ll want to meet with him or her in person. Relying solely on phone calls and e-mail can make communication difficult and that may ultimately harm your case. Location becomes especially important if your case goes to court.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a few lawyers, schedule consultations with your top choices. When you go to these consultations, be sure to bring all documents you have relating to your claim, including police reports, medical records and bills, income loss information, and all correspondence with the insurance company.

While at the consultation, ask whatever questions you have. You’ll want to make sure your personal injury attorney has experience, specifically with cases like yours. Also ask how many cases he or she expects to work on at the same time. It’s normal for attorneys to work on multiple cases at once, but you don’t want him or her to juggle too many cases while working on yours.

Be sure to discuss fees and talk about your settlement goal. Do you care more about getting as large a settlement as possible, no matter how long it takes? Or do you just want to get within a certain range as quickly and with as little hassle as possible? An experienced attorney will not be able to tell you precisely what settlement you might get, but he or she will have a sense about whether your expectations are reasonable or not.

The consultation is also a great time to get to know the personality of the attorney. Is he or she a careful listener? Do you feel comfortable talking to the attorney and asking questions? Does he or she seem to genuinely care about your case? These are important considerations when choosing an attorney.

South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

If you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer in South Carolina, attorney Craig Wilkerson has decades of experience in personal injury and civil litigation. Our law firm focuses on a variety of personal injury cases, including (but not limited to) car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, workers’ compensation, and medical malpractice. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact us online or call us at:

 

When Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

medical expenses

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s actions or negligence, you face more challenges than just your injury. You also have medical bills and insurance claims to deal with, lost wages and more. So, when can you deal with these issues on your own – and under what circumstances do you need an attorney?

For minor injuries, such as short-term sprains or soft-tissue injuries, you may not need to hire one. For very small claims, legal assistance may raise your settlement only marginally, and the attorney’s fee may lower the amount you receive overall. However, a lawyer may be able to increase the value of your claim drastically if your injuries are more serious or if your situation is more complicated.

According to the National Law Review, “[i]f your injury necessitated hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, chiropractic work, cosmetic surgery or orthopedics, you likely need to have your case evaluated by an injury lawyer. When claims involve substantial past and future medical expenses, their value can be significantly increased when you have good legal representation.” The Insurance Research Council reports that the average person receives a 3.5 times’ larger settlement with legal assistance than without it.

For more complicated or high-stakes situations, an attorney’s specialized skills become much more valuable. Attorneys have a deep knowledge of the law that you may not have, as well as extensive experience working with insurance companies and their lawyers. If you do not feel confident in your knowledge of statutory and case law, or you do not have the time to dedicate to research, hiring an attorney may be your best option.

Important Caution

You may decide to file a claim on your own because, when your injury seems relatively minor and straightforward, you’re ready to settle the matter quickly. But in a percentage of those types of cases, seemingly simple legal situations become complicated – quickly – and in those situations, it’s in the insurance company’s best interests, not yours, to settle quickly. So, proceed with care.

In other scenarios, the insurance company could refuse to pay the claim, offer an unreasonably low amount or dispute liability. In these situations, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Insurers can also take more insidious routes to avoid paying claims. They will likely contact you to ask for a statement about the injury and may ask for your medical records and other personal information. Once they have your information, they may use it to harm your case, such as blaming the injury on a pre-existing condition. The National Law Review therefore recommends that you speak to a lawyer before giving any statement or personal information to the insurance company.

Ultimately, the decision to hire a personal injury attorney is your own, and depends upon the severity of your injuries, your medical costs, the complexity of your case, and your own legal knowledge. As the above examples illustrate, though, it can be more prudent to call a personal injury attorney before your situation becomes complicated and before insurance companies have evidence they can use to fight your claims.

If you are ready to hire a personal injury attorney – or you just want to explore your options – contact us online for a free case evaluation. Or call us at: