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2024 How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim in South Carolina?

2024 How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim in South Carolina?
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

It may be surprising to learn that South Carolina drivers caused the most accidents in the U.S. in 2022. South Carolina has a 12% at-fault accident rate, and 1,035 people died in South Carolina car accidents last year, though there was a 12% decline from 2021, when there were 1,179 fatalities due to car accidents. Most South Carolina car accidents occur on highways, and each year, there are roughly 142,000 collisions on South Carolina roads.

The total economic cost of car accidents annually in South Carolina is approximately $4.7 billion. This includes auto repair costs, medical bills, loss of wages, and compensation for pain and suffering.

If you have been in a car accident in Myrtle Beach, you may be entitled to compensation to recover damages and lost wages from the at-fault driver. You should seek representation from one of our Car Accident Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, SC, to help you through the process. If you win, you can get your settlement a lot faster if you have a legal professional to guide you and ensure you don’t miss any marks. Insurance companies play tricky games, trying to get out of paying claimants.

If you were the at-fault driver, you may not be 100% at fault, but you will need a good attorney with a proven record of successfully litigating at-fault drivers.

Factors That Affect the Timeline

Factors that can affect the time it takes to complete your car accident claim case include the following:

  • Severity of your injuries
  • Availability of evidence
  • Time it takes for you to recover
  • Whether there are multiple defendants involved
  • A dispute, denial, or obstinance from the insurance company
  • Whether the case goes to trial or is settled ahead of a trial

Steps in a Car Accident Claim

In a car accident claim, there are several steps that must be followed. A reputable attorney can guide you through the entire process.

Notification of At-Fault Insurance

Once you’ve enlisted the help of a qualified and reputable car accident attorney, they can obtain verification of the insurance policy and coverage for the other driver. They can also notify the insurance companies that a claim is being filed against them on your behalf.


Your lawyer can then begin investigating your accident, collecting evidence to back up your story and disprove any disputes regarding how the accident took place. Evidence may include:

  • Police reports
  • Photographs
  • Eyewitness testimonies
  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Wage statements
  • Auto repair statements
  • Any other accident-related information

This phase of the process can take time due to the many different entities you’re waiting on to return information.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

Your lawyer may advise you not to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company until you’ve reached the level of maximum medical improvement. This is the point at which you have recovered the most from your injuries related to the accident in question. At that point, you will be able to determine what your future medical needs will be, as well as lost wages and other expenses. Filing your car accident claim too early will prevent you from claiming for unforeseen future medical expenses. The timeframe of this leg of the process can go on indefinitely, though your lawyer won’t let it go past the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim, which is three years from the date of the accident.

Demand Letter

After you have achieved MMI, your attorney can send a demand letter to the insurance company on your behalf. This official notification includes any pertinent evidence that the insured was at fault and their negligence caused your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. All these values will be itemized within the letter.


If the insurance company comes back with an offer that is lower than the demand letter, your attorney can negotiate a settlement amount for you, maximizing the potential award from the insurance company. This could add to the processing time, as it may require further witness statements or other evidence.


If you and the insurance company cannot come to an agreement, your attorney may recommend taking the case to trial, though this does not guarantee it will get that far. Many cases are settled prior to reaching the courtroom.

Settlement Payout

Even after the settlement is determined, there will be more time needed for the check to be issued from the insurance company and received by your attorney, who can then deposit the check in escrow and pay your bills and legal fees, any outstanding child support you may owe, any outstanding tax debt you may have, and any other costs or debts you owe the state. Then the payment is forwarded to you, assuming all goes well regarding this last step in the process.


Q: How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim in South Carolina?

A: The estimated timeline it takes to settle a car accident claim for a plaintiff involved in a car accident claim can vary widely. Each step is relative to the people, businesses, third-party institutions, and government agencies involved, so there is no exact timing or even a true estimate for when a car accident settlement may be processed. It can take as little as a few months or as much as a year or longer.

Q: How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in South Carolina?

A: Pain and suffering damages in South Carolina are typically calculated based on:

  • The severity of the victim’s pain
  • The level of suffering
  • The loss of enjoyment of life they have endured
  • Harm caused to their mental and emotional well-being
  • Any other non-economic damages that may apply to their individual circumstances

Q: How Long Do Negotiations Take for a Car Accident Settlement in South Carolina?

A: Complicated cases can take up to a year or more, but the actual time of negotiations may only be a small portion of the total processing time of a car accident settlement in South Carolina. This is because there are only two separate parties involved, while other phases of the process can delay progress because there are multiple agencies and individuals involved.

Q: How Much Money Do You Get From a Car Accident Settlement in South Carolina?

A: Each accident and case have a very different set of factors that play into the final settlement cost. If you take a sample of Myrtle Beach car accident cases from around the same time and average them, you can determine that most settlements fall in the $130,000 range. However, this doesn’t mean any specific settlement will return that value or anything close to it.

Got Axelrod?

If you were injured in a car accident in North Myrtle Beach, SC, you’ll need an attorney to maximize your potential settlement for your personal injury car accident claim. Don’t deprive yourself of the money owed to you for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Contact Axelrod & Associates, P.A., to discuss your case with one of our passionate legal associates.

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