Does A Car Accident Settlement Take Long In SC?

Written by John D. Hawkins on . Posted in .

A car accident can happen to anyone at any time, and when one does happen, accident victims can have an awful time getting their insurance claim paid. It is not uncommon to wonder about the amount of time it takes to get an auto accident settlement amount. You have suffered serious injuries and you are facing increasing medical bills every day. The insurance company seems to be going to any length to avoid a settlement. The insurance adjuster is growing increasingly intimidating, and it seems like no one wants to help you.

That is where an experienced car accident attorney comes into the picture. An experienced car accident lawyer at HawkLaw, P.A. can stand up for your rights, provide legal advice, negotiate your personal injury claim, and fight to get the compensation you deserve after your South Carolina auto accident. HawkLaw fights to win!

What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina?

A statute of limitations is a time limit that every state places on lawsuits and injury claims. In South Carolina, the time frame to file a personal injury case is three years from the date of the accident. It is important to contact a personal injury attorney right away to make sure you do not miss important deadlines. 

Why Should You Try to Settle Before Going to Court?

It is almost never beneficial to pursue a court case. Court is time-consuming, expensive, and an all-or-nothing affair. Settling will generally get you your auto accident settlement faster. If, however, the car accident lawyer for the at-fault party refuses to settle, sometimes a trial is necessary. 

What Are the Steps Involved in the Settlement Process for a Car Accident Case?

While each case is different, the steps involved follow a general path: 

  1. Filing an insurance claim
  2. Hiring an attorney
  3. Collecting evidence
  4. Waiting for maximum medical improvement
  5. Negotiation
  6. Lawsuit 

Filing an Insurance Claim

The first step is to report the injury and file an insurance claim. South Carolina follows a fault model, so you will file with the car insurance company of the at-fault driver. You should still report the injury to your insurance company. Do not editorialize or try to put a spin on the events that occurred. Just stick to the facts and file your claim. There will be time to tell your side of the story later. 

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Calling a personal injury lawyer gives you the best shot at getting full, fair compensation. They can deal with the insurance coverage, negotiate a settlement offer, and fight for your rights so you can focus on medical treatment and recovery. The insurance adjuster will likely come back to you with a very lowball offer, and if you refuse it, they can turn unpleasant. 

Still, do not sign anything, and do not agree to anything without speaking to an attorney. Having a lawyer in your corner allows you to focus on recovery while they take on the stress of fighting to get you the payment you deserve. 

Collecting Evidence

The legal team from your injury law firm will gather evidence to build a case for you. This is important because South Carolina law has a concept of comparative negligence, which uses shared fault rules that state that your award can be reduced by the amount of fault you hold, and if you hold more than 50% of the blame, you cannot get a settlement at all. 

Evidence can include checking out the scene of the accident to review the damage, looking at photos, and collecting your medical records and even your journals to show how the injuries have affected you. It involves speaking with witnesses, and a wide range of legal research. 

Waiting Until Maximum Medical Improvement

Maximum medical improvement, or MMI, means the point where you will not recover any further. It can take some time to get to this point, but it is important to get the maximum possible settlement for your injuries. This is because after you have reached maximum medical improvement, we know for certain how bad your injuries were and how much it cost to get you to this point, and it becomes easier to estimate how much you will need to continue care in the future. 

Negotiation

After you have reached MMI, your lawyer will work with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to negotiate a settlement for your injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering. This is a back-and-forth process that can take some time, but with patience, many cases reach a satisfactory agreement for both sides. In many cases, this represents the end of the process. 

Lawsuit

Sometimes, negotiations fail. In these cases, it becomes necessary to go to court. A lawsuit can be expensive and time-consuming, but it can sometimes end up with you getting a larger settlement. Be assured that however long it takes, your personal injury lawyer from HawkLaw, P.A. will stand up for your rights every step of the way. 

What Affects the Length of a Car Accident Claim?

Every car accident claim is unique, but several factors can affect the amount of time it takes to get a settlement. These factors can include evidence, the drivers involved, the length of a trial, how long it takes to reach MMI, and the insurance company disputing the claim. 

Evidence

The greater the evidence we have that holds the other driver responsible, the better chance we have of securing a quick and fair settlement. It can take time to gather this evidence and build a strong case. The earlier you contact an attorney, the better off you will be, as some evidence can become outdated quickly. 

Drivers Involved

The number of drivers and parties involved can have a big effect. Especially in truck accidents, many parties can be involved, from the truck driver to the trucking company to the manufacturers of faulty parts. Determining who was at fault for various parts of the accident can be time-consuming. 

Trial

If we have to go to trial, it will likely take longer before a settlement is reached. Trials can take quite some time to resolve. 

Recovery to MMI

Everyone’s injuries take a different amount of time to heal. Waiting until you reach MMI is important, however, to apply the right value to the settlement. 

Insurance Disputing the Claim

In a perfect world, the insurance company will accept the claim and pay out. More often than not, however, they dispute the claim, and that is what makes the entire process necessary. 

How Are Car Accident Settlements Paid?

The insurance company writes the check to your attorney, who deposits it into an escrow account. After that, any liens are paid, and attorney fees are taken. You then get the rest. 

What Are the Two Options for Receiving a Settlement Payment?

The two options for settlement are lump sum or structured. Most people take a lump sum, where you get all the money at once. Sometimes you can negotiate a structured settlement where you get regular payments until it is all paid out. 

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for Your South Carolina Car Accident?

After your case review, the right SC attorney will help collect evidence and build a strong case for you. They will negotiate with the insurance company and take the case to court if needed. They will level the playing field against the lawyers on the other side and work to get you significant compensation for your injuries. 

How Long Is Too Long to Wait for Your South Carolina Car Accident Settlement?

Every case is unique, but having a lawyer can work to your benefit. HawkLaw represents clients across South Carolina, from Charleston to Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, and beyond. We take pride in making sure that our law office is accessible to all South Carolina car accident victims. Call our toll-free phone number at 888-HAWKLAW or complete our online contact form to see if you are eligible for a free consultation* and case review today.

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Written By John D. Hawkins


John David Hawkins is the Founder and Owner of HawkLaw. He has been licensed to practice law in South Carolina since his graduation in 1994 from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Focusing on litigation, Mr. Hawkins is experienced handling Worker’s Compensation, Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Administrative Law, and Criminal Law matters.

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