Charleston Car Accident Settlement Process
The car accident settlement process in Charleston is similar to the rest of South Carolina. With respect to an adult, either a release is set or something a bit short of the release in the event that there is some underinsured motorist coverage available.
A release is signed by the injured person and their spouse, if they are married, along with other documents as well. This includes the disbursement sheet which outlines the case costs.
The gross settlement check would need to be endorsed by a client. It sits in a trust account for a period of 10 business days, and at the end of those 10 business days, the net settlement funds are dispersed to the client.
To determine the specific elements of your car accident settlement process in Charleston, be sure to consult with an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer immediately.
The Charleston car accident settlement process is different with respect to a minor. A minor’s settlement requires court approval unless the net settlement is less than $2,500.
Often, a minor settlement will be put into a structured settlement where the minor will get their proceeds after they become an adult.
Determining the Amount
The amount included in the Charleston car accident settlement is a negotiated agreement between the attorney representing the client and the adjuster. This applies to cases with a suit that has not yet been filed.
After a suit is filed, the settlement is between an attorney and the defense lawyer who has been hired by the insurance company. The ultimate decision as to whether or not to accept the settlement or not belongs to the client alone.
A settlement is not calculated based upon any formula. A traditional personal injury or an automobile accident settlement is amorphous. The dollar amount is based upon how individuals who have never seen the case may handle it.
An attorney may try and think that if they tried the case one hundred times, what would the average verdict and settlement be. If the other side agrees, then the case would settle. If they cannot agree, then it does not settle and a jury must be picked.
A jury has no direct involvement in how a case is settled. However, depending on the jury makeup, an individual may have a better shot at winning the case. Depending on the nature of the accident, an individual may benefit more from one jury selection than another.
The role of negligence affects the settlement amount significantly. In South Carolina, comparative negligence is used to determine this. A plaintiff can be up to 50% at fault in causing their own accident and still make a recovery.
If an individual tried a case, received a $10,000 verdict, and the jury concluded that the plaintiff was 50% at fault, the individual would only receive a $5,000 judgment. However, if an injured person is 51% at fault in causing their own accident, then that injured person gets nothing.
Whatever percentage of fault that the injured person has, their damages are reduced by that amount.
Elements to Consider
There are many elements to take into account when considering a settlement. The most important element is risk. This can help determine whether a person will be better or worse off at trial if they take the settlement.
Often, however, other things that do not have anything to do with logic are involved. Emotion is often a factor, especially with catastrophic injuries. Sometimes, in abuse cases, a person does not want to get up on the stand and relive the events that took place. That is worth considering as well.
Length of the Process
Typically, once a settlement has been agreed upon, the process of filling out a letter and handing the check to the client is two to three weeks. Ten of those days are for the gross settlement check to sit in a trust account to ensure that it clears. Past that, an individual should be able to receive their settlement check.
The settlement process can sometimes be expedited, especially if the case is pre-suit. Many of the cases that have been in litigation for a while will settle at mediation. An attorney can make as a demand that the case settles, and that the gross settlement check is delivered within, for example, four business days.
That is about as quick as an individual can make this happen. With respect to a minor settlement, there is very little an individual can do to expedite the process. This is because it has to be set for a hearing before a judge.
Even in those cases, sometimes a person can get a judge to squeeze in a minor settlement hearing during a break in a regular trial. Other than that, an individual can rarely expedite a settlement once it has been agreed upon.
Benefit of an Attorney
An attorney should always be consulted before considering settling a car accident claim in Charleston with the liability insurance company.
A person is not required to have a lawyer in South Carolina to settle a personal injury claim, however, a lawyer who handles exclusively personal injury cases is an invaluable resource with respect to value evaluation of the claim itself and what it is worth.
Individuals often do not have the ability to litigate the case themselves if it needs to be litigated, which cements the assistance of an experienced lawyer at the earliest possible time.