It’s an all too common scenario following an auto accident: two drivers collide resulting in serious injuries and property damage, yet both may have been responsible for the crash. In such a case, who pays? The question is confusing because it can turn out differently depending on the state where the accident takes place. To find out more about how this might work in South Carolina, keep reading.
Anyone injured in an accident in South Carolina needs to understand the concept of negligence, given how important it is to the successful resolution of your case. Negligence may sound confusing, but basically it boils down to a person’s failure to use reasonable care. Negligence can arise in all kinds of injury cases: at work, at home, but especially in automobile crashes. If a driver is found to have been negligent, he or she will be deemed at least partially at fault for the wreck. However, the percentage of fault will be an important determination that can lead to drastic differences in a person’s ability to collect compensation during a personal injury case.
Why the difference?
You might expect that issues involving negligence to be uniformly applied across the country. If so, you’d be wrong. That’s why drivers who are partially to blame for accidents can expect wildly different outcomes depending entirely on where they were located at the time of the accident. Let’s look at a few of the options.
Pure contributory negligence
The first, and the harshest, is known as pure contributory negligence. This system is applied in some states and results in an incredibly high burden for victims of car accidents. The contributory negligence standard says that a plaintiff is not permitted to receive compensation in an injury case if they are found to be negligent in even the slightest way. That means a driver who is deemed only 1 percent at fault in a car accident in a pure contributory negligence state will never see a dime in a personal injury case against the driver responsible for 99 percent of the damage.
Here in South Carolina, lawmakers thankfully have embraced a different and much more victim-friendly negligence system. In South Carolina, courts embrace the comparative negligence standard, which says that victims are allowed to receive financial compensation from defendants even if they are partially at fault for a car accident. Although those partially at fault can still collect damages, the extent of the plaintiff’s fault will be used later on to reduce the amount of the financial damage award. This means if a plaintiff is found to be 25 percent at fault for an accident, he or she can go ahead and expect to reduce the ultimate value of their award by 25 percent.
How high can the percentage of fault go?
Although partially at fault drivers in South Carolina can still collect damages from defendants, there are limits to the amount of fault allowed in South Carolina. . The system in place in South Carolina, known as modified comparative negligence, says that as long as a plaintiff’s fault is not greater than 50 percent, he or she can still collect compensation in a personal injury case. Therefore, a person who is found to be 50% at fault for an accident may still collect a portion of his damages from the accident, but a person who is found to be 51% at fault or greater cannot recover.
If you have been involved in an auto accident caused by someone else’s careless, negligent or reckless conduct and are looking for help, contact Automobile Accident Lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina David R. Price, Jr., P.A., today. We are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights so they get the compensation they need and get back on the road to recovery.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.