FAQs: Settlements in South Carolina

I’ve heard that a lot of cases end in settlement. What does that mean?

When an injured person initiates an action against the responsible negligent parties, it’s with the understanding that their lawyer will do whatever it takes to achieve a fair and just outcome. Sometimes that means taking the case to a jury so they can decide what damages are appropriate. But sometimes it is in the plaintiff’s best interest to accept a monetary settlement offer made by the defendants rather than go through the extended process of a full-blown trial. Additionally, it is not unusual for a defendant to make a last-minute offer to settle, right before the trial is to begin – or even after the trial has commenced but before it goes to the jury.

How common are settlements?

They’re very common, occurring in nearly 95 percent of personal injury cases.

Do I really need a lawyer to negotiate a settlement?

There are many reasons for having an experienced personal injury lawyer represent your interests in settlement negotiations. At the Louthian Law Firm, we know how to gather information about what your long-term expenses are likely to be, and we know what other similar cases have brought. Negotiating a favorable settlement takes skill and hard work. If you’re recovering from an injury, you should focus your energies on getting better and let an experienced lawyer shoulder the burden of proving your case.

When a settlement is agreed upon, where does the money come from?

Typically from an insurance company. If you were injured in a car accident, the company which provided insurance coverage for the other driver, or his employer, will be involved. If the other driver was uninsured, negotiations may be with your own insurer. Doctors, hospitals and other healthcare professionals who may be named in a medical malpractice action will have insurance carriers who vigorously defend their clients. In the case of a severe injury or multi-vehicle accident, there may be several insurance companies involved – another reason why it is best to leave settlement negotiations up to your legal advocate.

Won’t I get more money from a jury?

Whether you would ultimately achieve a winning verdict if your case goes to trial and how much money you would be awarded by a jury are unknowns. There are so many factors involved, it is impossible to predict with absolute certainty. However, the Columbia personal injury attorneys of the Louthian Law Firm are seasoned professionals, able to give you reasoned advice throughout the progress of your case.

How quickly can I get some money in settlement?

The process of negotiating a settlement is time consuming. There may be several offers and counter-offers made over the course of months – or even years. It may not be in your best interest to push for a quick settlement, because symptoms of injury don’t always manifest all at once or immediately after the accident. When a settlement is made and accepted, the claimant must give up the right to file a future lawsuit about the same injury. If you settle too quickly and then find out you were injured more seriously than you thought, you may wish you had not accepted the settlement offer.

Will I get one lump-sum payment in a settlement?

It depends on the terms of the settlement and what you and your attorney agree is to your benefit. In some cases, period payments are appropriate and advisable. We call this a “structured settlement.” Once the total amount of present and future expenses is agreed upon, the defendant insurance company assigns the settlement to a life insurance company to issue an annuity that will provide you with periodic payments over time. Hammering out the details of a structured settlement is another process best handled by an experienced attorney.

Are settlements taxable income?

Most settlement proceeds in personal injury cases are not taxable, but some portions could be. You should consult your tax professional for specific advice.

Does the Louthian Law Firm have a good track record for settling cases?

You can judge that for yourself by reading about some of our Case Results in wrongful death, workplace injury, medical malpractice, car wreck and birth injury cases, as well as many other types. We can’t guarantee a particular conclusion, or even that a settlement is possible in your case, but we listen hard and work harder to achieve the best outcome for every client. A phone call to (803) 454-1200 could be your first step toward justice