AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYER IN CHARLESTON, SC
If you have recently suffered an auto accident that resulted in an injury, there are several questions that you may like to have answered before consulting with a personal injury attorney. If that's the case, I have taken this opportunity to answer as many questions as I can in an effort to ease some of your concerns. As a solo practitioner, I pride myself on the personal relationships I build with my clients. I know your name . . . I know what is important to you. That's how it is done at The McMillian Law Firm!
I never charge for the initial consultation and case evaluation. If I win, all of my legal fees are taken out of the awarded amount. If it turns out that I'm not able to reach a settlement or secure compensation, you don't owe me a single thing . . . as simple as it gets!
WHAT ARE CONTINGENCY FEES?
Contingency fees are legal fees that are based upon a percentage of any compensation that is obtained on your behalf by your lawyer. In most areas of the law, lawyers require an upfront retainer fee. The retainer is basically a down payment that the lawyer then charges against an hourly as he or she does work for you. Therefore, if your lawyer charges you a $3000.00 retainer fee and charges at $300.00 per hour, then you basically have prepaid, in theory, for 10 hours of work. This does not include any expenses that the lawyer may have to pay on your behalf. Once the retainer is exhausted, the lawyer will most likely ask you to pay into it again. It is easy to see how the legal fees begin to get astronomical!
Contingency fees prevent you, the client, from having to pay anything up front. In return, the lawyer agrees to take his fee from any recovery that is received on the back end of the case (from settlement or jury award). The standard amount of the contingency fee is 1/3rd of the total recovery, or 33%.
The distinct advantages of contingency fee arrangements in personal injury cases are:
- I will not take cases that have no chance of success while billing out ridiculous legal fees to the client
- I am encouraged to work more efficiently for the client since there is no hourly billing
- You won't end up in worse financial shape than when you began.
WHEN CAN I FILE A CLAIM FOR INJURIES SUFFERED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT?
The basic requirement to seek compensation for an injury caused by another is negligence. First of all, negligence requires that you are owed a legal duty of care by another. Secondly, the other party has breached that duty of care. Finally, as a result of that breach, you have been injured. Careless or negligent behavior must have been the cause of the injury for it to be possible to win compensation.
The idea is simple . . . that someone else's behavior is to blame for an injury that you would not have suffered otherwise. The most obvious example of a legal duty of care is operation of a motor vehicle. Driving a car also means that the driver agrees by law to operate the car in a safe manner, being properly insured, sober, and properly licensed. A breach of any of these duties that leads to a direct and proximate injury is negligence.
CAN I RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR MY INJURIES AS A RESULT OF AN AUTO ACCIDENT?
I apologize but you are about to get the most lawyerly of all answers . . . it depends. If you have a case supported by strong evidence (proof of fault of the other party, witnesses, medical reports, medical bills, etc.) then of course I am likely to accept your case. A strong evidentiary foundation is the key ingredient in any determination by a lawyer to accept a personal injury case. It's as basic as this - the stronger the proof, the stronger the case.
In addition, my experience has dictated that stronger cases actually are resolved much faster. Therefore, the stronger the case then the faster I can get you compensated.
WHAT WILL THE AWARDED COMPENSATION COVER?
In general, a personal injury award as a result of an auto accident is intended to cover all medical expenses incurred while treating your injury, any wages or future wages that were lost due to the injury, and pain and suffering that occurred because of the injury.
In cases that include wrongful death, this monetary award can go toward funeral and burial expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, lost financial security, and loss of companionship.
Punitive damages may be awarded as well in specific cases where the actions of the negligent party were reckless, wanton, or intentional. Punitive damages have no basis in the amount of your compensable injuries. Punitive damages are specifically designed to punish the wrong-doer for the most egregious of acts. For example, by statute South Carolina will allow for additional punitive damages when an injury is the result of the negligent operation of an automobile by a drunk driver.
WHY CHOOSE THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM FOR MY AUTO ACCIDENT CASE?
I am a solo practitioner, and being so I consider several so called "disadvantages" to actually be advantages for clients that allow me to offer them legal counsel.
First and most importantly, I am able to offer a high level of personalized client care. By limiting the number of cases I take on, I insure that I have the time and energy to sufficiently service each client. I like being able to know my client's names, who their children are, what they do for a living. It makes me more than your lawyer. It makes me your neighbor and your friend.
I'm not running an auto accident litigation mill. I don't have time to make the corny commercials. My firm belief is that I rather service 50 clients to the best of my ability than have 200 who I give a half-cocked effort. You choose me! Not the other way around.
Second, I am available to meet with clients during the week and on weekends. I can come to you if you're not able to make it to my Charleston office. I can meet in my office, your home, or even at the hospital.