Apportioning Damages Based on Fault In Personal Injury Lawsuits

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personal injury greenville scA personal injury lawsuit is one that involves a dispute where one person suffered a particular injury or injuries due to the action or inaction of another person. Given this broad definition, personal injury lawsuits can result from a variety of different situations. The most common type of personal injury lawsuit is a car accident. Other examples include motorcycle and bicycle accidents, nursing home abuse, dog bites, slip-and-fall accidents, and medical malpractice.
In any personal injury lawsuit, a key issue that must be established is the extent that another party may be liable for one’s injuries. Often, a defendant is not a 100% at fault for the accident. Rather, liability is often apportioned in some percentage between the plaintiff and the defendant or defendants. When this occurs, states have different laws that govern the ability of a plaintiff to recover damages when the defendant was not 100% responsible.
Some states apply a standard of pure contributory negligence. Under this standard, if a plaintiff is even 1% at fault for the accident then the plaintiff cannot recover any damages. Only a few states apply this standard. Another standard is pure comparative fault. Under this standard, a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by the percentage that the plaintiff is deemed to be at fault. Therefore, if the plaintiff is determined to be 80% at fault then damages are reduced proportionally. Approximately a dozen states use this standard.
Apportioning Damages Based on Fault in South Carolina
A majority of the states apply the standard known as modified comparative fault. There are two types of modified comparative fault: the 50% rule and the 51% rule. Under the 50% rule, the plaintiff cannot recover damages if it is 50% or more at fault. Under the 51% rule, the plaintiff cannot recover damages if it is 51% or more at fault. South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state and follows the 51% rule.
Examples of Recoverable Damages
After liability is established and apportioned, the next step is establishing damages. Common examples of damages in personal injury lawsuits include:

  • Past and future medical expenses and care;
  • Physical pain and suffering;
  • Emotional pain and suffering, including anxiety, loss of sleep, depression, and trauma;
  • Loss of wages and loss of earning capacity; and
  • Property damage.

In cases in South Carolina where there are multiple defendants, a defendant that is found to be less than 50% at fault may only be liable for the percentage of damages corresponding with the percentage of fault assigned by the jury.  Defendants found to be more than 50% at fault may be liable to the Plaintiff for all of the damages owed Plaintiff.
Contact David R. Price, Jr., an Experienced Greenville Personal Injury Attorney
If you have questions regarding recovering damages in a personal injury accident, it is important to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal rights. David R. Price, Jr. is an experienced Greenville personal injury attorney who can help you with your personal injury claim. David R. Price, Jr. has experience helping victims in a variety of personal injury lawsuits, including slip-and-fall accidents, car and motorcycle accidents, dog bites, and medical malpractice.
Contact David R. Price, Jr. for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. Or, you can visit the office located at 318 West Stone Avenue in Greenville, South Carolina. Don’t wait before it is too late.

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