Image of a woman talking on the phone while sitting on the curb next to a dented car in Charleston

In South Carolina, there’s a car crash resulting in injuries every 14.4 minutes. In 2021, an astonishing 1,112 fatal collisions occurred. Frequently, accidents aren’t caused solely by one driver’s actions. For instance, one driver might be speeding while the other is texting, leading to a collision.

South Carolina applies the modified comparative negligence doctrine when assigning fault in car accidents. This principle evaluates each driver’s contribution to a collision by assigning a percentage of fault. In court, available compensation is reduced by that percentage.

If you were injured in a crash but share some responsibility, having an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer by your side is crucial. They can help minimize your portion of fault, and ensure you receive fair compensation.

Liability in South Carolina

In South Carolina, comparative negligence establishes liability in personal injury incidents such as car accidents. This legal principle evaluates the responsibility of each party involved in the accident, and recognizes that the actions of both drivers may have contributed to the collision. The goal is to allocate fault fairly based on the evidence presented.

Under comparative negligence, your compensation is reduced by your portion of fault in the accident in court. For instance, if you were awarded $80,000 but are 30% at fault, you’d receive $56,000.

 

$80,000

-$24,000 (30% of 80,000)

=$56,000

 

However, if you are found to be the majority (50% or more) at fault for an accident, you are ineligible to receive compensation at all.

Factors Affecting Fault Determination

To accurately assess liability, insurers, attorneys, and South Carolina courts consider several factors, including:

  • Degree of Negligence: involves assessing each driver’s actions to understand how their behavior contributed to the accident. This includes evaluating driving patterns, decision-making, and adherence to traffic regulations.
  • Impairment and Distraction: Evidence of impaired driving caused by alcohol or drugs and instances of distracted driving like texting can influence the assignment of liability.
  • Environmental Conditions: The impact of weather and road conditions during the accident is evaluated. This includes examining whether adverse conditions such as ice, rain, or inadequate road maintenance played a role in the accident and whether drivers adjusted their driving behavior accordingly.
  • Witness Statements and Evidence: To reconstruct the circumstances of the accident, fault may be attributed by examining statements from witnesses and reviewing any available video or photographic evidence from traffic or dash cameras.
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Safety Features: The condition of the vehicles involved may be evaluated to determine fault in the accident. Factors such as maintenance history and the functionality of safety features can impact the assignment of fault.

How Can an Attorney Reduce Your Percentage of Fault?

At Joye Law Firm, we recognize the role of modified comparative negligence in determining your compensation following a crash. Here’s how we can assist you in securing a fair settlement after a car accident:

  • Evidence Collection: Our attorneys can gather evidence to strengthen your case and contest any negligence allegations against you. Relevant evidence includes witness statements, video footage, and expert analysis.
  • Insurance Negotiations: Our seasoned lawyers excel at negotiating with insurers, advocating on your behalf to reduce your percentage of fault. We use persuasive evidence and arguments to demonstrate why you have less blame for the accident than the other driver(s).
  • Mitigating Factor Identification: We can identify evidence that reduces your fault, such as adverse road conditions, defective equipment, or the actions of other drivers, all of which can affect the outcome of the accident.
  • Expert Testimony: Our team uses expert testimony to bolster your case. Enlisting specialists can provide valuable insights into the accident and your injuries. Whether it’s accident reconstructionists or medical experts, professional testimony can be vital in reducing your share of fault and strengthening your claim for a fair settlement.

Hire a Car Accident Attorney to Protect Your Right to Recovery

Given the complexities of comparative negligence, having legal support is crucial. If you believe you could be partially at fault, hiring a personal injury attorney is critical. An attorney can work to prove your innocence and protect your right to compensation.

Our car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm are skilled at demonstrating that the other driver caused the crash and reducing your share of fault. We have secured substantial settlements for our previous clients, including a $5.9 million award for a car accident case.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our team is ready to discuss the circumstances of your accident and learn how we can help you recover your losses.

About the Author

Since 1968, the South Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys of Joye Law Firm have been committed to securing compensation for accident and injury victims. Our compassionate and dedicated lawyers have over 300 years of combined litigation experience, and many of them have been recognized as South Carolina Super Lawyers. For many years, our South Carolina personal injury law firm has been listed with an AV rating in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell legal directory.

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