How To Determine if the Driver is Fully or Partially At-Fault in a Car Accident?

As any driver in the area knows, the city of Charleston has plenty of traffic problems. According to a study conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institute, not only does Charleston have the worst traffic within the state of South Carolina, but it also has among the worst traffic problems of any city within the southeastern United States. Of course, that much traffic inevitably leads to some accidents.

Under South Carolina law, the negligent party is responsible for the damages caused by an auto accident. In some cases, sorting out negligence, and the corresponding liability, is relatively straightforward. For example, if one driver immediately admits full fault for a minor fender bender, there may not be any dispute at all. However, sorting out liability for some car accidents is far more complicated. This is especially true if an accident involves two or more potentially liable parties. Fortunately, a Charleston car accident lawyer can help accident victims sort out these complex accidents. As a victim you deserve full and fair compensation. The negligence parties should be held fully accountable.

South Carolina Car Accident Liability: Comparative Fault

South Carolina uses the comparative fault system to assess liability for an accident. While comparative fault rules apply to all car accidents cases, they become particularly important in cases involving multiple potentially liable parties. Comparative fault recognizes that the actions of two or more parties might have contributed to the same accident. Therefore, it allows accident liability to be split in direct relation to fault. Any parties can be found to share liability for an accident. In fact, a victim may even share liability for part of their own accident. In South Carolina, if you are found partially at-fault, and your fault is less than 51 percent, you are still eligible to recover injury compensation.

Dividing Liability Under the Comparative Fault Standard

As was mentioned, liability for a Charleston car accident will be directly proportional to each party’s blame for the accident. To best understand how this process works, please consider an example with the following set of five key facts:

  1. You were injured in a major accident on South Carolina Highway 61 just outside of Charleston;
  2. As a result of the accident, you sustained $10,000 in damages;  
  3. A blue car was found to be 70 percent at-fault for the accident;
  4. A red car was found to be 20 percent at-fault for the accident; and
  5. You were also found to be 10 percent at-fault for your own crash.

Under South Carolina’s comparative fault standard, liability for your damages would be apportioned to each party based on their percentage of blame. In other words, the driver of the blue car would be responsible for 70 percent of your damages. This means that they would owe you $7,000. The driver of the red car would be responsible for 20 percent of your damages, or $2,000. Finally, you would simply not be able to recover the remaining $1,000. This is because you were liable for that remaining 10 percent of the accident.

Dividing Liability is Always Complex; You Need Legal Protection

The previous example raises an important question: Where do those percentages come from? Obviously, in real world situations, it is incredibly difficult to put a precise percentage of the blame on any one party. By nature, this makes dividing car accident liability very complicated. The simple truth is that you will need to fight for every percentage that you can get. If you are stuck with even a couple percentage points of unfair blame, thousands of dollars could come directly out of your pocket. You cannot let this happen to you. After a Charleston car accident, you need to get your case into the hands of an aggressive car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to work to protect you from any unfair blame for the wreck.

Were You Injured in a Car Accident in Charleston?

If you were seriously injured in an accident, and fault is in any way disputed, you need to take immediate action. These are difficult cases and you need legal protection. The Charleston car accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm are standing by, ready to help. Please call our office today to set up your free initial legal consultation. Do not go through the accident claims process alone; let us use our skills and experience to help protect your legal rights and financial interests.