Day 5: What to Expect in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina

Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be a complex and daunting process, but understanding what to expect can help you navigate it more confidently. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to anticipate in a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina.

1. Initial Consultation with an Attorney

The process begins with an initial consultation with a personal injury attorney. During this meeting, you will discuss the details of your case, including the circumstances of your injury, the evidence you have, and your medical treatment. The attorney will evaluate the merits of your case and explain your legal options.

2. Filing the Complaint

If you decide to proceed, your attorney will usually attempt to negotiate a settlement first. If that is not successful and with your approval, the attorney will file a legal document called a complaint with the court. The complaint outlines your allegations against the defendant (the party you are suing) and the compensation you seek. The defendant will be served with the complaint and will have a specified time to respond.

3. The Discovery Phase

Discovery is the process where both parties gather evidence to build their cases. This phase includes:

  • Interrogatories: Written questions that each party must answer under oath.
  • Requests to Admit
  • Depositions: Oral testimony taken under oath, usually in an attorney’s office, where both parties can question witnesses.
  • Requests for Production: Requests for documents, medical records, and other evidence relevant to the case.

4. Pre-Trial Motions and Settlement Negotiations

Before the trial, both parties may file pre-trial motions to resolve specific issues. For example, a motion to dismiss the case or a motion for summary judgment to rule in favor of one party without a trial. During this time, settlement negotiations may also take place. Many personal injury cases are resolved through settlements, where both parties agree to compensation without going to trial.

5. Mediation or Arbitration

If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, the courts in South Carolina require mediation before going to trial. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps facilitate a settlement agreement. Arbitration is a more formal process where an arbitrator hears evidence and makes a binding decision.

6. Preparing for Trial

If the case goes to trial, your attorney will prepare by organizing evidence, interviewing witnesses, and developing a strategy. This preparation includes creating exhibits, writing opening and closing statements, and rehearsing witness testimonies.

7. The Trial

During the trial, both sides present their cases to a judge or jury. The process typically includes:

  • Opening Statements: Each side outlines their case and what they intend to prove.
  • Presentation of Evidence: Both parties present evidence, call witnesses, and cross- examine the other side’s witnesses.
  • Closing Arguments: Both sides summarize their cases and argue why they should prevail.
  • Jury Deliberation: If the case is before a jury, they will deliberate and reach a verdict. If it’s a bench trial, the judge will decide.

8. The Verdict and Potential Appeals

The jury or judge will deliver a verdict, determining whether the defendant is liable and, if so, the amount of compensation to be awarded. If you win your case, the court will issue a judgment in your favor. The defendant may appeal the decision, which can extend the process. Similarly, if you lose, you have the right to appeal.

9. Collecting Compensation

If you win and the verdict is not appealed, the defendant is required to pay the compensation awarded. Collecting this compensation may involve working with the defendant’s insurance company or pursuing further legal action if they fail to pay.


A personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina involves several stages, each with its own complexities. By understanding what to expect, you can better prepare yourself for the process and work effectively with your attorney to achieve a favorable outcome. If you or a loved one has been injured and is considering a lawsuit, contact The Bill Connor Law Firm for expert legal assistance and guidance throughout the process.