Learning How You Can Recover Compensation in a Car Accident: Personal Injury Lawyers in Greenville Share the Different Ways HERE
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year there are approximately 6.1 million police-report traffic accidents that result in roughly 43,000 fatalities and nearly 2.5 million injuries. Of these figures, South Carolina ranks the worst for traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), with 2.08 deaths per VMT when the nationwide average was 1.37 deaths per VMT. Those who are not wrongfully killed often suffer significant, life-changing, and often catastrophic personal injuries. Unfortunately, our car accident lawyers in Greenville know that most of these car accidents are preventable and completely avoidable. When that happens, victims and their families may be entitled to compensation. However, there are many different ways that a victim can recover compensation in a car accident lawsuit in South Carolina.
That’s why victims and their families should call Hammack Law Firm to learn more about their options. There are many different ways to recover compensation, which have different advantages and disadvantages that victims and their families should be aware of. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters and defense lawyers often put on their evil-thinking hats and try to do whatever they can to minimize your options and compensation. Fight back against the Evil Empire, and hire one of our experienced car accident lawyers in Greenville to fight back.
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What are the Different Ways to Recover Compensation in a Car Accident Case?
Generally speaking, there are four ways to recover compensation in a car accident case – really any type of personal injury case. They all are different and have unique traits which make them applicable in some cases but not others. The facts can also dictate which type of method you should seek.
The four most common ways include the following:
Let’s start where most cases want to go: settlements. A personal injury case that settles means that the parties have come to an agreement to discontinue the lawsuit and resolve the claim in exchange for compensation. That means the parties have control over the outcome instead of a judge or a jury.
A settlement can happen at any time. The cream of the crop is a settlement that occurs pre-action or pre-commencement. That means a victim gets hurt, calls our lawyer, and we work with the insurance adjuster to resolve the claim before filing a lawsuit. This saves everyone time and money and gets cash right to a victim and their family to pay for lost wages and medical bills.
Sometimes, settlements may occur after paper discovery, which is when the parties exchange medical records and accident reports, as well as photographs or videos of the accident or injuries. This is a great time to settle, too, as expenses are usually lower at this stage. Other times, settlements may occur after depositions, after successfully making or defending a motion, right before trial, or even at trial. In fact, some cases will settle after a trial or while a case is being appealed – even after an appeal is decided. This just goes to show that a settlement can happen at any time, although the later into the game it goes, the more it will cost in terms of expenses and legal fees.
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When a case goes to verdict, it means that a jury or judge has heard the testimony and has come to make a final judgment. That judgment is called the verdict and awards liability, causation, and damages. A case that comes to verdict has some advantages over a settlement in that a victim can start to collect interest from the time of the verdict or, in rare instances, from the time of the accident. That means the total verdict can be higher based on interest. It also puts pressure on the defendant to pay up – now!
However, verdicts take time because a case often needs to be fully litigated. Many verdicts are also appealed, meaning a defendant will seek an intermediate court’s review. This can delay payment for a victim and their family. Verdicts are also expensive to get and often mean that victims will have to reimburse more in costs and disbursements than if a case settled pre-action.
That said, a verdict is the ultimate legal win – it is where a trier of fact has heard your case, including liability, causation, and damages, and awards you and your family what you truly deserve. With that judgment, you can also register it against a defendant to ensure that, if the defendant cannot pay what is owed, you may be able to garnish wages or put a lien/alert on any assets the defendant may come into possession in the future – including an inheritance in probate court. When it comes to power, verdicts are the strongest.
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Combining two parts of settlements with one part of verdicts would get you a mediation. This is when both parties come before a mediator who hears the facts and damages and then tries to whittle the case down to a point where the parties can agree to resolve the case. That means shaking down a defendant for money and pushing back on the expectations of a victim. Because of this, it can be a difficult time for victims and defendants, as a good mediator is both very kind but also very disarming – even becoming pushy.
Mediation can be expensive, but it is often cheaper and faster than seeking a verdict. It is also non-binding, meaning that you can always walk away if you do not like how the mediator is handling the case or the proposed resolution by the mediator. One major disadvantage to mediation is that you will often be required to show all of your cards, so to speak, to the mediator and likely the defendant.
Now, taking the inverse of a mediation, let’s take a two-part verdict and one-part settlement – that’s arbitration. This is a binding type of resolution to a case where the parties hire an arbitrator to hear the case, draft a decision, and then issue a verdict. Generally speaking, whatever the arbitrator decides is what will be the end result. It is very hard to appeal or reverse a finding of an arbitrator.
Like mediations, arbitration can be expensive – but not as much as taking a case to verdict, although usually more expensive than mediations. Arbitrations are also faster than taking a case to verdict but slower than settling (in most instances) and slower than a mediation.
One significant advantage to arbitration is that you can find an arbitrator who really focuses or specializes in a certain type of case or injury. For example, if you found a trucking accident arbitrator for a complex rules-violation case, that might be better for both parties than relying on a judge or layperson jury. The same is true if you suffer a traumatic brain injury, which is a very complicated injury, and find an arbitrator who specializes in those types of cases. Therefore, arbitrations can often be fairer to both parties when there are hyper-specific rules or injuries.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident in South Carolina? Call Our Car Accident Lawyer in Greenville to Learn More About the Different Ways to Recover Compensation
If you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident in South Carolina, we have many different tools to help you and your family fight back against a negligent defendant and their insurance carrier. Do not let them try to take advantage of you – fight back by calling Hammack Law Firm and hiring one of our experienced car accident lawyers in Greenville. We offer FREE consultations and case evaluations, and we can also help determine the different ways to recover compensation in a car accident case that fits best with your case. To learn more, contact us today by calling (864) 428-7591 or by sending us a message through our contact us box available here.