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The Settlement Process: What to Expect in Your Car Accident Lawsuit

car accident lawsuit

The settlement process for a car accident case can be difficult to understand, especially if you’ve never gone through it before. In this article, we will explain the basics of car accident settlements in South Carolina, and what you can expect if you find yourself filing a claim. 

In South Carolina, the process typically begins with the injured party’s attorney drafting a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This letter outlines the details of the accident, the injuries sustained, and the amount of compensation being sought.

After the demand letter is sent, the negotiation process begins. Both parties will exchange offers and counteroffers in an attempt to reach a fair settlement. If an agreement is reached, the case is resolved without going to trial.

The key to a successful settlement in a car accident lawsuit in South Carolina is thorough documentation and negotiation skills. It is essential to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate the legal process and advocate for fair compensation.

Factors That Affect Car Accident Settlements

When it comes to car accident settlements in South Carolina, there are several factors that can affect the amount of compensation a person may receive. Understanding these factors is crucial for both victims and insurance companies in determining a fair and just settlement.

Liability Laws

In South Carolina, the state operates under a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that if a person is found to be 51% or more responsible for the car accident, they are not eligible to receive any compensation. Understanding how liability laws apply to each case is essential in determining the settlement amount.

Severity of Injuries

The extent and severity of the injuries sustained in a car accident can significantly impact the settlement amount. Factors such as medical expenses, long-term care, and loss of income due to the injuries are all taken into consideration when determining compensation.

Financial Loss

Financial loss in a South Carolina car accident settlement can include various components such as vehicle damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. The extent of financial loss significantly impacts the typical car accident settlement amounts, with higher losses leading to larger settlements. The settlement is designed to make the victim whole for the losses caused by the collision, taking into account all the financial and non-financial damages suffered.

Substantial losses, such as missed work, medical bills, and extensive property damage, should be reflected in the settlement to ensure that the victim is adequately compensated. In South Carolina, car accident settlements aim to cover all financial losses incurred by the victim as a result of the accident, including property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and other substantial losses. They are calculated to ensure that the victim is not left with a significant financial burden due to the accident and can recover from the financial impact of the collision.

Insurance Coverage

The insurance coverage of both parties involved in the car accident plays a crucial role in determining the settlement amount. Understanding the different types of coverage and policy limits can greatly impact the outcome of the settlement.

Evidence and Documentation

Collecting and presenting evidence such as police reports, witness statements, medical records, and photographs from the accident scene can greatly impact the settlement amount. It is important to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim.

How long do most car accident settlements take?

The duration of car accident settlements in South Carolina can vary based on several factors. Firstly, the evidence of fault plays a crucial role – the more evidence available to prove liability, the quicker the settlement process may be. Additionally, the extent of injuries sustained in the accident can impact the timeline. More severe injuries often require longer periods for treatment, assessments, and negotiations.

The willingness of the insurance company to make a fair offer also influences the duration of the settlement. If the insurance company is cooperative and willing to negotiate, the process can be expedited. However, if they are reluctant to offer a fair settlement, it can significantly prolong the timeline.

What is the average car accident settlement in South Carolina?

Car accident settlements in South Carolina can be influenced by various factors, including the severity of injuries sustained in the accident, the extent of damage to vehicles and property, and the number of people injured. Settlement amounts are typically higher for accidents involving severe injuries and extensive property damage. However, each case is different, so it’s important to consult with a legal professional who can advise you on your individual situation. 

Why do lawyers take so long to settle a case?

Personal injury lawyers in South Carolina often take a significant amount of time to settle a case due to the complexity involved. Cases with multiple parties, extensive injuries, or complicated legal issues require thorough investigation and evaluation. This process can be time-consuming as lawyers gather evidence, interview witnesses, and assess the full impact of the injuries on their clients.

Additionally, the negotiation process with insurance companies or opposing counsel can also contribute to the length of time it takes to settle a case. Attorneys strive to secure a fair settlement that fully compensates their clients for their losses, which may involve multiple rounds of negotiation and legal maneuvering.

Throughout this process, personal injury attorneys work tirelessly to protect their clients’ rights and advocate for their best interests. They are dedicated to securing the maximum compensation possible and may need time to build a strong case and navigate the complexities of the legal system. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve a fair settlement for their clients while ensuring that their rights are fully protected.

What if the Insurance Company Won’t Agree to a Settlement?

Mediation Meeting

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that can be used to resolve car accident claims in South Carolina. In this process, a neutral third party, called a mediator, facilitates negotiations between the parties involved in the accident. The benefits of mediation include a quicker resolution, lower costs, and a more amicable outcome. However, the limitations of mediation are that it may not always result in a settlement and the parties involved may still need to pursue other legal avenues.

In a mediation meeting for a car accident claim in South Carolina, the parties, including their personal injury attorneys, will meet with representatives of the insurance company to discuss the details of the accident and negotiate a settlement amount. The experienced attorney will play a crucial role in representing your interests and ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. It’s important to remember that you have the right to negotiate for a fair settlement and to not settle for less than you deserve.

After reaching an agreement, the parties will sign a “release of liability” form, finalizing the settlement. Working with a qualified personal injury attorney is essential to navigate the mediation process effectively and protect your rights during negotiations.

Filing a Lawsuit

When an insurance company refuses to agree to a settlement in South Carolina, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with the laws and regulations in the state can be beneficial in determining the best course of action. The attorney can negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, take the case to trial to seek fair compensation for your injuries.

Remember that South Carolina has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, so it’s important to act quickly if the insurance company refuses to cooperate. Seeking legal guidance can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Under the Official Code of South Carolina Annotated § 15-3-530, you have three years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit.

Contact McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates Today

If you’ve been injured in a South Carolina car accident that wasn’t your fault, we would be happy to provide you with a free case evaluation. We will listen to your situation and advise you on your next steps – and there’s absolutely no obligation to hire us after speaking to us. 

McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has been representing South Carolina car accident victims for more than four decades, working hard to achieve the best outcomes. We build the strongest cases possible for all of our clients, and we aren’t afraid to go head-to-head with the other side’s insurance company at the negotiation table. Most of our cases end in settlements, but we’re always prepared to argue in front of a judge and jury if a settlement can’t be reached. 

We are also proud to represent those who have tragically lost loved ones due to the recklessness or negligence of other drivers. Although no amount of money can erase the pain caused by the death of a family member, we do everything we can to recover monetary compensation which can lessen the financial burden that often comes with funeral expenses and other end-of-life costs. 

McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has seven offices across the Midlands of South Carolina, in AikenCamdenColumbiaLexingtonNewberryOrangeburg, and Sumter. Give us a call today at 888-353-5513. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.®