Car accidents are a common occurrence in South Carolina. However, many car accident victims might be discouraged from filing a lawsuit for their injuries since most people are unfamiliar with a car accident claim timeline.
Fortunately, an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer can be helpful, as there are several critical steps in any car accident case. Investigating the accident will help obtain the important evidence used to evaluate your claim. After your lawsuit is filed, attorneys have certain rights to question the parties involved, which can significantly impact whether a case settles or proceeds to trial.
If you were injured in a car accident, our South Carolina car accident lawyers can explain the timeline for recovering compensation. Contact Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000 for a free case evaluation.
What’s the Timeline for a South Carolina Car Accident Injury Claim?
Filing a lawsuit after a car accident can seem monumental if you are unfamiliar with the legal process. There is no way to tell how long a particular car accident case will take since each one is unique, and compensation will turn on the facts of the case. However, car accident claims tend to follow a set process that can be helpful to know as you move your case forward.
Hiring a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is arguably the most important step in any car accident claim. Recovering compensation can be extremely challenging for a victim who is likely also treating their injuries simultaneously. Your Columbia car accident lawyer can take much of that pressure off you as they will investigate your accident and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
When choosing a car accident attorney, feel free to ask about the firm’s history, how they litigate cases, and the successful verdicts they have won for past clients. Having the right legal counsel on your side to negotiate with insurance adjusters often results in cases being resolved quickly and for higher compensation than a victim might secure on their own.
Investigating the Car Accident
Once a South Carolina car accident lawyer represents you, they will begin an investigation process to determine your case’s chances of success and value. During the investigation, your lawyer will collect police reports and speak to witnesses of your accident. Your lawyer will also need access to your medical records that pertain to the injuries you sustained in your accident. This includes emergency room records, physical therapy reports, reports for specialists, and invoices for treatment.
You will also be required to provide certain documentation to help accurately evaluate your car accident claim. If you have missed time at work because of your accident, you must provide your lawyer with employee records showing the wages you lost. You must also give your lawyer any property damage bills, estimates, and other records showing out-of-pocket expenses related to treating your injuries. Investigating a car accident can take months but is often worth the effort, as the evidence collected can significantly impact the compensation you receive.
Filing a Car Accident Claim
After collecting the necessary evidence, your lawyer will move forward with litigation. This means preparing a complaint detailing your accident, the person that caused it, and the injuries you sustained. The court charges a filing fee for each lawsuit, usually included in the final attorneys’ fees charged to a client if they win their case. Once the defendant in the case has been notified of the impending litigation, the lawsuit package can be filed. Our Sumter car accident lawyers are ready to help you get your car accident case started so that your compensation is not unnecessarily delayed.
Evidence Gathering Processes for Car Accident Injury Claims in South Carolina
After a car accident lawsuit is filed, the court will provide notice that the complaint was received and include the date the trial is set to take place. The period following this in the car accident claim process is known as discovery.
Discovery is usually the longest part of a car accident case. During this time, each side collects evidence that will be used to support their arguments in the trial. Much of the evidence previously mentioned will be used in the discovery process as it helps lawyers obtain further evidence and identify potential witnesses. Other sources of evidence will also be collected during this time, like photos of the scene, property damage estimates, and medical records for continuing treatment.
During the discovery period, each side’s lawyer will conduct what is known as depositions. This is an extremely important part of the process since attorneys are given the right to question the parties involved in the case while under oath. The statements made during discovery can provide much more information regarding how an accident occurred. During depositions, the negligence of the other driver often becomes clear.
If a lawyer does it well, most insurance companies will be more willing to settle for a fair amount rather than take their chances in court. However, you will also be questioned by the negligent driver’s lawyer during depositions. Our Lexington car accident lawyers can prepare the questions to get to the truth of your accident and prepare you for your deposition.
Should I Settle My Car Accident Claim Early or Go to Trial?
Whether you should settle your claim or go to trial becomes easier to answer after depositions are taken. Suppose evidence gathered during discovery shows that the cause of the car accident was relatively straightforward. In that case, an insurance company will likely be more willing to negotiate a settlement amount compensating victims for the full range of damages they have suffered. In this situation, there might be no financial gain to proceeding to trial, and the settlement will conclude the case.
However, if the cause of a victim’s injuries is less clear even after taking depositions, the settlement amount might be lower. When that happens, all the evidence collected throughout the case will be prepared to prove your case in court. Our South Carolina personal injury lawyers can help you ensure that your receive the compensation you deserve regardless of the route needed to procure it.
Our South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you have been injured in a car accident, our Columbia personal injury lawyers are here to provide you with your free case review. Call Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000.