In the aftermath of a wreck, determining who is at fault is integral to receiving compensation for your damages. But what happens if you admit fault after a crash?

Knowing the legal implications of admitting fault and how it can affect your ability to get compensation can help you understand your settlement options after a crash. Work with a South Carolina car crash lawyer from Joye Law Firm to minimize liability and maximize a potential settlement even if you admit fault.

Contributory Negligence in South Carolina

Contributory negligence is a legal term that refers to the degree of partial fault of each party involved in a car accident. In South Carolina, contributory negligence is a defense that can be used to reduce or eliminate the compensation a plaintiff can recover from a defendant.

The state follows a modified contributory negligence rule, meaning that a plaintiff can recover compensation if their degree of fault is less than 50%. However, if a plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault, they are barred from recovering any compensation.

Under this doctrine, you can win damages if you are less than 50% at fault, but the court must reduce your damages in proportion to your assigned percentage of fault. For example, if you admit fault after a crash and the jury finds you were 25% at fault for your injuries, your damage award will be reduced by 25%.

What Does it Look Like to Admit Fault After a Crash?

Admitting fault after a car crash means taking responsibility for causing the accident. This can take many forms but generally involves acknowledging that you did something that contributed to the collision. Many people unintentionally admit fault after a crash due to heightened emotions and concern for those involved.

Sometimes accident victims “admit” fault, even when they are not responsible, without realizing it. Common ways you may admit fault after a car crash include:

  • Apologizing: Saying “I’m sorry” or expressing regret for the accident can be seen as an admission of fault.
  • Admitting to doing something wrong: This could be as simple as admitting to running a red light or failing to yield the right of way. You might also admit fault if you say you “should have” taken a different action, such as slowing down or watching the road more closely.
  • Offering to pay for damages: If you offer to pay for the other driver’s damages, it can be seen as an admission of fault. For example, this can happen if the other driver accuses you of being liable and you feel pressured to respond.

Admitting fault after a car crash can have serious legal implications. It can be used as evidence against you in court and may limit your ability to recover financial compensation.

If you must speak to police officers or other parties involved in the accident, keep your statements factual but do not admit wrongdoing or guilt. Consult a knowledgeable car accident attorney before making any statements to insurance companies after the crash. Your attorney can speak to these parties on your behalf or advise you on what to say so you don’t adversely impact your case.

If You Admitted Fault, What Can You Do to Receive Compensation?

If you have admitted fault in a car accident, receiving compensation for damages and injuries may still be possible. To increase your chances of receiving a settlement, follow these tips:

  • Seek medical attention: Even if you admit fault, seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident. This will help you recover from your injuries more quickly and provide documentation of your injuries, which our attorneys can use to support your compensation claim.
  • Consult with an experienced car accident attorney: A skilled attorney from Joye Law Firm can review the details of your case and help you understand your legal options. They can use their experience to communicate with the insurance company to show how your admission was unfounded or negotiate for a reasonable settlement, depending on how concretely you admitted fault.
  • Gather evidence: Collect evidence supporting your claim, such as photos of the accident scene, witness statements, and police reports. This evidence may help prove that the other party had a higher degree of fault than you, and show the extent of your damages and injuries.

Get Compensation with the Help of Joye Law Firm

At Joye Law Firm, we appreciate how challenging it can be to navigate the legal system after a car accident, especially if you have admitted fault. Our team of experienced attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options and fight for the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and need legal guidance, contact us for a free no-obligation consultation. Let us help you get back on the road to recovery.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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