Car accidents often cause significant injuries, property damage, and financial losses. However, victims can file a claim against the responsible party to get compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. In some accidents, it’s clear that only one person is at fault. However, in many cases, two or more drivers share responsibility for the crash. If you were partially at fault for an accident, you may be wondering if you can still claim compensation. In South Carolina, it’s possible.
However, a lot depends on just how much of a role you had to play in the accident. Negligence laws can be complex and, in some cases, your ability to claim damages may be limited. We’ll explore this scenario in more detail in this article. If you want to know if you’re eligible for compensation, get in touch with a South Carolina auto accident attorney.
How Shared Liability Occurs
When people pass an accident on the street, they often assume they can tell who was at fault. Often, this assessment is based on the positioning of the vehicles or the location of the damage. Rarely do people think that both drivers had a role to play. However, many accidents are due to the actions of both parties since no motorist is perfect. If one driver is speeding while the other is distracted, an accident is more likely to occur.
Collisions at intersections can also be the fault of both parties. A motorist may make a left turn in front of an oncoming car without realizing how fast the second vehicle was going. Both drivers could be held liable since one was speeding and the other failed to yield. If such a case went to trial, the jury would determine how much each driver contributed to the accident.
Understanding South Carolina’s Comparative Fault System
South Carolina follows a system known as comparative fault to assign liability in personal injury cases including car accidents. This system allows individuals to claim compensation as long as they are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. Fault is assigned at the conclusion of investigations into the accident. If initial investigations show that you were partially at fault, the next step will be to determine the extent to which you were responsible. If you work with an experienced attorney, they will work to prove that you were less at fault than the other party. After liability is established, negotiations between the two parties can begin.
The amount you can recover depends on the role you played in the crash. If you were 25 percent at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 25 percent. Let’s say a South Carolina jury determined that you should get $50,000 in damages. You would only get 75 percent of that amount which is $37,500. Because of this system, the other party’s insurance company or attorney will try to shift most of the blame on you. This would bar you from getting any compensation at all. If your injuries are serious, this is the last thing you would want to happen. A Greenville car accident lawyer can help you to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Determining Fault Following A Car Accident Case
Law enforcement officers, insurance companies, and the courts all have a role to play in determining fault. Shortly after the accident, officers will interview the drivers and passengers involved as well as any eyewitnesses. They may also take photos of the scene. If anyone broke a traffic law, a citation will follow. If one driver broke the law and the other didn’t, the lawbreaker may be most at fault. In some cases, both drivers will be cited. The responding officer will put all this information in the accident report, but they may not directly assign blame.
When an insurance claim is filed, insurance adjusters will review the available information including the police report. They will also consider the injured individual’s medical records and look at the damage to the vehicles. In addition, the adjuster may interview eyewitnesses. At the end of this process, they may assign a proportion of fault to each driver. This will allow them to determine whether they should settle the claim.
If a settlement can’t be reached during negotiations and the case goes to trial, a jury will hear all the evidence. The jury will then determine fault and award damages accordingly.
Reach Out to Brumback & Langley Today
If you were partly at fault for a car accident, you may still be able to get compensation. However, you will need to hire a skilled South Carolina car accident attorney. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and get a legal opinion on your case.