Do You Have to Go to Court For a Car Accident?

Car accident cases can be complicated, especially if they involve serious injuries or death. If you’ve been involved in an accident in South Carolina, you may be wondering if you must go to court. The answer to that question depends on the circumstances of the accident, including how cooperative the other side is and whether there’s a dispute surrounding who is at fault. 

South Carolina automobile accidents vary in severity, and a simple “fender bender” probably doesn’t require attorneys or a courtroom. However, if a person has been injured or killed due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness, hiring a personal injury lawyer right away is highly advised. 

Still, it’s important to note that the vast majority of cases involving lawyers settle outside of court – so even if you hire legal counsel, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find yourself sitting in front of a judge. 

In most accident cases, both sides wish to come to an agreement before a lawsuit is filed. This is because trials are expensive and time-consuming, and they’re a gamble for both sides. There’s no predicting what the jury will decide, even if a case seems straightforward. Despite all of this, some South Carolina automobile wreck cases do go to trial because the two sides simply can’t reach an agreement outside of court. 

Here Are Some Reasons Why a Car Wreck Victim Might Need To Go To Court:

  • The other side’s insurance company refuses to settle

Insurance companies have a reputation for doing everything they can to avoid paying a fair sum to car accident victims. The company’s profit is their top priority. It’s common for insurance companies to downplay the victim’s injuries, try to place blame on the innocent party, or offer a low-ball sum which doesn’t even begin to cover the physical and emotional pain inflicted on the victim. Personal injury lawyers will try their best to settle outside of court, but that might not be possible if the other side’s insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair settlement. 

  • The at-fault driver was uninsured

South Carolina motorists are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage, but there are certain instances when a person might find themselves seeking damages directly from the uninsured driver. These cases are particularly complicated and might end up in court as a result. 

  • There’s a dispute about which driver was at fault

Although it is often obvious which driver was at fault in a car wreck, not every collision is straightforward. Cases where the two sides can’t fully agree who is at fault often end up in court, with a jury ultimately deciding who was at fault. It’s important to note that South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state, which means you can recover some damages even if you were partially at fault – as long as your share of the fault was less than 50 percent. 

Hiring a Car Crash Attorney to Represent You in Court

South Carolina personal injury attorneys can help car accident victims throughout the entire legal process, and especially if the case heads to court. A qualified lawyer will fight for your best interests and go head-to-head with the other side’s attorney as they attempt to downplay your injuries and find flaws in your case. You simply can’t expect the defense to be reasonable and fair, which is why you should always hire an attorney to represent you in a serious car accident case. They will have the experience and knowledge needed to build a strong case and will know what to expect from the other side.

A qualified South Carolina personal injury lawyer will ask all the relevant questions, conduct an investigation, review police reports and medical records, and gather witness testimonies. They will also consult with experts and accident reconstructionist when necessary. 

They will negotiate with the other side’s insurance company on your behalf – and if the insurance company isn’t willing to settle for a fair amount, they will take the case to court if it makes sense to do so. 

What Happens in Court?

Your South Carolina car crash attorney will assess your case and determine whether there is any benefit to going to court. One example of when this wouldn’t be beneficial is if the other side’s insurance company is already offering the full policy limit to the car accident victim. 

They will also determine the strength of the case, assessing how easy it will be to prove that the other party’s negligence caused the wreck. They will review your economic and non-economic damages to determine whether they are significant enough to warrant a trial.

If your attorney believes that going to court is your best option, they will argue in front of a jury that the other party was at fault for the accident. As the plaintiff’s attorney, your lawyer will be the first to present evidence in court because they have the “burden of proof.” Throughout the course of the trial, they may call eyewitnesses and medical experts to the stand to help strengthen your case. 

They will ultimately attempt to prove the other party was negligent, stating that they had a duty of care to practice necessary caution for their own safety and the safety of others on the road, and that that duty was breached. They will then attempt to prove that the driver’s breach of duty caused your injuries (known as causation) and argue that you are entitled to a fair amount of compensation for your injuries and losses as a result of the accident. 

Contact McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates Today

The lawyers at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates are highly experienced when it comes to South Carolina car accident cases. We’ve been in the business of helping people for more than 40 years, and our attorneys have an excellent track record of advocating for car wreck victims and achieving great outcomes. 

We approach every case uniquely, determining the best legal strategy and building the strongest case possible for our clients. We assess victims’ economic and non-economic damages resulting from the accident, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Prescription drug costs
  • Medical equipment costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future income
  • Directly related out-of-pocket expenses
  • Funeral costs (in the event of a wrongful death case)
  • Physical pain & suffering 
  • Emotional pain & suffering
  • Mental distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Our South Carolina lawyers fiercely negotiate on behalf of auto accident victims and communicate with them every step of the way. We believe in fighting for what is right, and that’s why we’re committed to helping our clients receive fair compensation. 

McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has seven offices across the Midlands of South Carolina, in AikenCamdenColumbiaLexingtonNewberryOrangeburg, and Sumter.

We are proud to offer free case evaluations to South Carolina car accident victims, so give us a call today at 888-353-5513. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.®