When you file a lawsuit, it’s important to know whether certain details will be kept private. If you go to trial in South Carolina, your lawsuit may become public information.
Most parts of a South Carolina personal injury lawsuit will become part of the public record if it goes to trial. A South Carolina judge might seal certain sensitive information if prompted, although that is not guaranteed. This is why many victims choose to settle a personal injury claim instead of going to trial. The information from your lawsuit, if not sealed, may be available to anyone who wishes to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. In some cases, a settlement can be kept confidential if it best serves all involved parties.
Filing a lawsuit can be difficult for South Carolina victims, which is why our attorneys are dedicated to providing you with the support you need to pursue litigation. For a free case evaluation with the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, call today at (803) 451-4000.
Will My South Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit Become Public Information?
Most documents will be available to the public when you file a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina. As a victim, this might be concerning at first, learning that private information regarding your injuries and damages may become accessible to the public. To better understand how this might impact you, it’s important to learn which parts of your South Carolina lawsuit will be public information.
Generally speaking, unless a special court order seals specific documents, all aspects of your South Carolina personal injury lawsuit may be public information if it goes to trial. This includes the initial filings, which name a defendant and a plaintiff’s damages. Documents from a trial, including evidence and testimony, may also be available to the public.
If your South Carolina personal injury lawsuit does not go to trial, certain things may not make it into the public record. Suppose you choose to enter an alternative resolution method instead of a lawsuit, and a mediator is involved in settlement negotiations. In that case, certain information will likely be available through a Freedom of Information Act request. However, if negotiations are less formal, the conversations between your South Carolina personal injury lawyer and a defendant’s counsel may not become part of the public record.
When you go to trial, most, if not all, aspects of your South Carolina personal injury lawsuit may become part of the public record. If that worries you and you wish for your experience to remain more private, speak to an experienced Sumter personal injury lawyer. Your attorney may be able to get you a sufficient settlement without having to go to trial.
Who Can Access Public Information About a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Once information from your South Carolina personal injury lawsuit has become part of the public record, virtually anyone can access it. Any curious person or invested individual can submit a Freedom of Information Act request and gain access to the information they wish to know.
When South Carolina lawsuits become part of the public record, a FOIA request is all that stands in an interested party’s way. This can present serious issues for victims who wish to keep the details of a lawsuit private. South Carolina victims deal with a wide range of emotions and struggles after an accident. The thought of being re-traumatized by others who have gained information regarding a lawsuit can feel like too much to bear.
It is important for South Carolina victims to understand that essentially anyone, from friends and family to employers and acquaintances, can submit a FOIA request and access information from a trial that victims would prefer to remain private. Sometimes, a judge might seal certain court documents, although this is rare for personal injury claims. However, if the content of your lawsuit is particularly sensitive, your Columbia personal injury lawyer can argue that certain court documents be sealed from the public.
Can I Keep a Personal Injury Settlement Confidential in South Carolina?
In some cases, South Carolina victims can request that personal injury settlement remains confidential. This can ensure that certain personal and private details from a South Carolina personal injury lawsuit are inaccessible to the public. For many victims, this is an ideal option. In order to keep a personal injury settlement confidential in South Carolina, victims should hire an experienced attorney.
Often, it benefits both victims and defendants to keep a settlement confidential. Victims often want their experiences to remain private, not to be picked apart by the public. Defendants rarely want the public to learn about the settlement amounts they have paid to a victim on the chance that that might inspire others to come forward seeking payment as well. If you wish for the world to know about the damages you have sustained, you may want your settlement to be public information. However, if you want a personal injury settlement to remain confidential, that may be an option.
If you choose to settle a personal injury case out of court entirely, your settlement may be confidential. Often, settlements are reached during litigation, which means a South Carolina judge may be involved. If you wish to accept a settlement and keep that information confidential, your South Carolina personal injury lawyer can petition the court. A judge will then consider how disclosing a settlement might negatively impact both a victim and a defendant and if keeping a settlement confidential is best for the public interest. If your personal injury claim involves a government entity, the resulting settlement cannot be kept confidential in South Carolina.
Call Our South Carolina Lawyers About Your Personal Injury Claim Today
If you’ve recently been injured in South Carolina and require compensation, our attorneys can help. For a free case evaluation with the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, call today at (803) 451-4000.