Many injured victims assume that the only way to obtain compensation for a personal injury is to take the case to court. While taking your case to trial is an excellent way to establish the other party’s fault, it isn’t your only choice to receive compensation. In fact, the vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved outside of the courtroom.

Settling a case before trial saves time, money, and stress for all parties involved. A well-negotiated settlement can expedite the legal process and leave you financially secure. A South Carolina personal injury attorney from Joye Law Firm can discuss your options with you as to whether a trial is best for your case or if settling can help you get the compensation you need for your recovery.

When to Take Your Case to Trial

A lawyer might suggest taking your personal injury case to court if the injury is severe, like one that caused you permanent disability, if the claim against the defendant is for significant negligence, or if neither party can come to a compensation agreement.

While trials take longer, they can lead to higher compensation for victims. However, you might lose your case and receive no money at all. It is up to you to decide which option to take, but working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can ensure you have all the knowledge necessary to make the right decision.

  • You Cannot Come to an Agreement

One of the main reasons cases go to trial is because the parties involved can’t reach a settlement agreement. This is either because the defendant offers too low of an amount or because the injured party needs more compensation to account for medical bills and other damages.

When an agreement cannot be reached, this often means proceeding to trial.

  • You Need to Receive Maximum Compensation

A jury can award you more significant compensation for your damages compared to what the defendant may offer to settle your personal injury lawsuit. The compensation awarded will be based on the facts of your case and your lawyer’s legal strategy.

In some cases, a jury can  include non-economic damages for pain, suffering, and disfigurement as part of your compensation, and order the defendant to pay punitive damages as well.

However, there is a risk in going to trial. South Carolina follows modified comparative negligence. This means you can recover financial compensation only if you are less than 50% responsible for the accident. A judge or jury cannot award monetary compensation if they find you 50% or more at fault, leaving you without any financial compensation.

  • You Want Justice

During a trial, the proceedings are public and recorded. If the defendant is found to be negligent for the accident and injuries, they will be held responsible for the consequences of their actions.

Even though this is not a criminal trial, and no charges will be filed, the defendant is still guilty and will be held legally accountable for their actions. This is important if the defendant did something particularly negligent or still denies fault for the injuries. A common example is when large manufacturers try to get out of responsibility for selling dangerous consumer goods.

However, it’s essential to remember that a case’s outcome is not always final. The defendant can file an appeal with the South Carolina Court of Appeals, which prolongs your case. After hearing an appeal, the Court of Appeals will generally issue a decision within 45 days.

Why Settling Your Case Might Be Best

Negotiating a settlement can reduce your case time and the amount of preparation you would otherwise need for a court appearance. It will also guarantee that you’ll get the amount of money that was agreed to during negotiations. Many injured victims prefer to settle for these reasons.

  • You Calculate Your Own Compensation Demands

This way, all parties can determine what they believe is a fair settlement amount independently and without court intervention. When negotiating a settlement, you can reject offers and make a better deal based on future expenses for medical bills and lost wages. In contrast, during a trial, you must accept the judge’s or jury’s verdict on how much will be awarded.

  • You Will Receive Your Money Sooner

Many cases reach settlements more quickly than it takes to complete a civil trial. This is likely why settlements are achieved in 32% of tort cases, compared to 11% of cases that concluded in trial judgements.

  • It Eliminates the Stress of Court Participation and Preparation

Negotiating a settlement saves all parties from unnecessary financial burdens and burdens on time associated with a civil court case. You do not need to go through a long discovery phase to gather evidence and stand before the court to receive compensation.

A settlement agreement can also include a clause prohibiting all parties from pursuing litigation after accepting it, so you won’t have to worry about further appeals from the defendant.

Find Out if You Need to Settle or Take Your Case to Trial with the Joye Law Firm

It is essential that you hire a South Carolina personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable on handling personal injury cases. An experienced attorney, like the ones at Joye Law Firm can review your case and determine the best course for your situation.

Whichever choice you make, going to trial or taking a settlement, we can help you maximize your compensation. The attorneys at Joye Law Firm work on a contingency fee arrangement, meaning you don’t have to pay anything unless we win your case.

Call our law office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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