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Will My Tractor-Trailer Case Go To Trial, Or Will I Get A Settlement?

settlement or trial

Tractor-trailer accidents represent some of the most catastrophic and complex legal scenarios on our roads, often resulting in devastating injuries, significant property damage, and profound emotional trauma. In the wake of such a traumatic event, individuals and their families not only endure physical and emotional suffering but also must navigate the intricate legal terrain to seek justice and fair compensation. 

At McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates, we recognize the daunting challenges faced by accident victims. In this comprehensive guide, we delve deeply into the intricacies of tractor-trailer accident cases, offering an in-depth analysis of the factors that influence the decision between getting a fair settlement out of court and proceeding to trial.

Understanding the Process

Tractor-trailer accident cases are characterized by their complexity and the myriad of legal intricacies involved. When clients approach our firm seeking assistance, they are met with a dedicated team of legal professionals who embark on a meticulous journey of case evaluation and preparation. This process begins with a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the truck crash, including the collection of crucial evidence such as police reports, witness statements, accident reconstruction analyses, and medical records. 

Our seasoned attorneys leave no stone unturned in building a robust case on behalf of our clients, meticulously piecing together the facts and evidence to construct a compelling narrative that highlights the negligence of the at-fault party.

Following this initial phase, negotiations with the auto insurance company representing the liable party commence. These negotiations are aimed at achieving a fair and just settlement that adequately compensates the victim for the myriad of damages incurred as a result of the accident. From medical expenses and lost wages to pain and suffering and long-term rehabilitation costs, our South Carolina attorneys advocate tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the full measure of compensation to which they are entitled.

Factors Influencing the Decision

Strength of Evidence

  • The strength and credibility of the evidence collected serve as the cornerstone of any successful negotiation or trial strategy. Clear documentation of the accident scene, corroborated witness testimonies, comprehensive medical records, and expert opinions are instrumental in bolstering the victim’s claims and compelling the opposing party to acknowledge the severity of the damages incurred. Our personal injury attorneys meticulously analyze and present this evidence in a compelling manner to effectively advocate for our clients’ rights and interests.

Insurance Coverage

  • The extent of insurance coverage held by the parties involved plays a pivotal role in shaping the negotiation process and ultimately determining the feasibility of reaching a settlement. Adequate insurance coverage increases the likelihood of securing a favorable settlement without the need for protracted litigation. However, inadequate coverage or disputes over policy limits may complicate negotiations and necessitate alternative avenues for seeking compensation, such as pursuing claims against additional parties or exploring other sources of recovery.

Severity of Injuries

  • The nature and severity of injuries sustained in a tractor-trailer accident have a profound impact on the negotiation dynamics and the potential for reaching a settlement. Severe bodily injuries resulting in significant medical expenses, long-term rehabilitation, and permanent disability often command higher settlement demands, reflecting the extensive physical, emotional, and financial toll exacted on the victim and their family. Our attorneys work tirelessly to ensure that our clients’ severe injuries are accurately assessed and that their compensation reflects the full extent of their damages.

Liability Determination

  • The determination of liability, or fault, in a tractor-trailer accident case is a crucial factor that can significantly influence the negotiation process and the likelihood of reaching a settlement. Clarity regarding liability, where fault is unequivocally attributed to the other party, simplifies negotiations and increases the prospects of securing a favorable outcome. Conversely, disputes over liability or allegations of comparative negligence may prolong negotiations and ultimately necessitate trial proceedings to resolve contentious issues.

Duration of the Process

The duration of South Carolina tractor-trailer accident cases can vary widely depending on a multitude of factors, including the complexity of the case, the severity of injuries, the level of cooperation among the involved parties, and the intricacies of the legal process. Settlement negotiations typically span several months to a year, as both parties engage in back-and-forth discussions aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable resolution. In contrast, trials entail a lengthier and more arduous process, often extending over one to two years or more, depending on court availability, procedural requirements, and the intricacies of the case. Throughout this process, our trucking accident attorneys provide unwavering support and guidance to our clients, ensuring that their rights are protected and their interests are advanced.

Settlement vs. Trial: Making the Decision

The decision between settling outside of court and proceeding to trial is a critical juncture in any tractor-trailer accident case and requires careful consideration of numerous factors. Settlements offer the advantage of expedited resolution, providing certainty and closure to the victim while avoiding the uncertainties and expenses associated with trial proceedings. However, settlements may entail compromises on compensation, as parties seek to reach a middle ground acceptable to both sides. On the other hand, trials afford the opportunity to present evidence before a judge or jury, allowing for a more thorough examination of the case and potentially securing higher compensation for the victim. Trials also serve as a platform for holding negligent parties accountable and setting legal precedents that may benefit future claimants. However, trials are inherently more time-consuming, costly, and unpredictable, with outcomes subject to the discretion of the court. 

Our South Carolina attorneys work closely with our clients to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option and make informed decisions based on their individual circumstances and priorities.


Tractor-trailer accident cases represent some of the most complex and challenging legal scenarios, demanding skilled navigation and unwavering advocacy. Whether a case ultimately proceeds to trial or is resolved through settlement depends on a myriad of factors, including the strength of evidence, insurance coverage, severity of injuries, and liability determination. 

At McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates, our dedicated team is committed to providing legal counsel and compassionate support to our clients throughout every stage of the legal process. We leverage our extensive experience, resources, and strategic acumen to secure the best possible outcome for our clients, ensuring that their rights are protected and justice is served.

Our law firm has seven offices across the Midlands of South Carolina, and our experienced attorneys are highly skilled at handling personal injury lawsuits including tractor-trailer accidents. We typically settle cases outside of court, but we’re always willing to bring the matter to trial if needed. We always work extremely hard to achieve compensation for injury victims, going up against difficult insurance companies to fight for maximum compensation for our clients. 

The South Carolina personal injury lawyers at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates offer free case evaluations to tractor-trailer accident victims, and there’s absolutely no obligation to hire us after speaking to us. Give our truck accident lawyers a call today at 803-592-9850 for a free, no-obligation consultation. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.®