When people talk about SC personal injury lawsuits, one of the key words you'll hear is "negligence."
If the other party - for example, the at-fault driver - was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
When someone is determined to be liable for an injury because of negligence, they are being held responsible for their unintentional actions, or for failing to act when appropriate.
But, some personal injury cases have nothing to do with negligence. Sometimes, people get hurt because of the deliberate actions of another.
Negligent Torts in SC
Accidents, by their very definition, almost always involve negligence. Car accidents, boating accidents, slip and fall injuries, and dog attacks rarely involve deliberate action, and personal injury cases involving these kinds of accidents depend on proving negligence.
To prove negligence, you and your attorney must establish:
- The defendant owed you a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to others. Examples of this duty would be the responsibility of a driver to obey the rules of the road, or the duty of a pet owner to control the animal's behavior and prevent attacks.
- The defendant breached this duty in a way that resulted in your injury. A driver who blows through a stop sign has breached their duty; a dog owner who fails to keep their animal leashed has breached their duty.
- The plaintiff must have suffered damages. In a negligent tort case, you must prove that you have suffered harm, such as medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Intentional Torts in SC
Intentional torts are often easier to prove, and include:
- False Imprisonment; and
To prove an intentional tort, you do not have to prove that the defendant deliberately tried to hurt you. You must prove the defendant deliberately engaged in an activity that any reasonable person would have known would result in the injury. If the damage was certain to result from the action, the defendant is treated as if the harm was intended.
If you can prove an intentional tort or even gross negligence, you may be entitled to punitive damages, designed to punish the defendant and deter future similar conduct.
Most Intentional Torts are Also Crimes
Often, the person who committed the intentional tort is also charged with a corresponding crime like:
- Assault and battery;
- Murder or attempted murder;
- Fraud; and
- Felony DUI.
For example, what if, without justification, a bouncer at a club grabs you, punches you, and fractures your arm as he physically throws you out of the back door into an alley. If there was no legal justification for the bouncer's actions, he may be arrested and face criminal charges for assault and battery - and - you may have a civil lawsuit against him and the establishment for money damages.
Wrongful death actions can be based on negligence, or they can be based on the defendant's intentional actions like murder or felony DUI resulting in death.
If the defendant is convicted of a crime based on the same intentional tort that you are suing them for, liability may be established in your civil case based on the conviction - if the defendant does not have other valid defenses, you may only need to establish the amount of damages at trial.
If you have been injured because of another person's negligence or intentional actions, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team today. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form to set up a free initial consultation about your case.