Resolving A Catastrophic Injury Case In South Carolina
If possible, most attorneys would rather settle most wrongful death and catastrophic (life-threatening) injury claims out of court. For reasons that aren’t quite clear, the plaintiff’s trial winning percentage has dropped since the 1990s. Additionally, out-of-court settlements end cases sooner, allowing victims and survivors to move on with their lives sooner. However, as outlined below, the road to a fair settlement is usually winding and bumpy.
Despite the obstacles that inevitably pop up, many attorneys look for a quick settlement and an easy way out. But a good Columbia catastrophic injury attorney is in it for the long haul. Even if a settlement resolves a case, an attorney must prepare a negligence or other claim as if it will go to trial. This slow and steady approach ensures maximum compensation for your serious injuries. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Setting the Settlement Value
A new car’s sticker price is usually the starting point for purchase negotiations. Likewise, a lawsuit’s settlement value is the starting point for settlement negotiations. During new car price negotiations, there is some give and take, but the dealer does most of the taking. During personal injury claim settlement negotiations, a Columbia personal injury attorney sees to it that the giving and taking is much more evenly distributed.
The settlement value starts with medical bills. So, meaningful settlement negotiations cannot begin until medical treatment is at least substantially complete. If the injured victim didn’t survive the accident, meaningful settlement talks cannot begin until outside experts, like accountants and psychologists, weigh in on what constitutes a reasonable amount of compensation. More on these informal talks below.
To determine noneconomic losses, like emotional distress, attorneys usually multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, depending on the evidence in the case, applicable legal theories, and a few other factors.
One of the most important “other factors” is the parties’ motivation to settle. Some victim/plaintiffs want to settle quickly, which means they’re willing to settle for less. On the other side, some insurance companies fight injury claims tooth and nail, while others fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
Informal and Formal Negotiations
If all the issues in a case are crystal-clear, and both sides want to settle early, a catastrophic injury claim may settle within a few months, or even a few weeks.
However, legal responsibility and/or extent of damages disputes are very common in these cases. Furthermore, most victim/plaintiffs are willing to hang in there and obtain maximum compensation for their serious losses.
Therefore, informal settlement negotiations often stall or break down completely. If that happens, most Richland County judges appoint third-party mediators to supervise formal negotiations.
During formal negotiations, both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. So, instead of going through the motions, they must honestly want to settle the case. Additionally, they must negotiate in good faith. “My way or the highway” is not a good faith negotiation technique.
This additional duty helps formal negotiations succeed when informal negotiations have failed. Additionally, both sides usually want to avoid a risky, protracted trial. As a result, civil mediation in Richland County is about 90 percent successful.
Work With a Thorough Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. You have a limited amount of time to act.