When you tell someone that you were in a car accident, the first thing they ask is, “Are you OK?” The second question is almost always, “Whose fault was it?” We ask this question as if it’s an easy one to answer. Maybe it is sometimes, but in the eyes of the law (and of insurance companies) determining who is at fault in an auto accident can be a complicated business.
How do I Know if I Have a Case?
In South Carolina, the at-fault driver is liable for any damages that were proximately caused by their negligence. If you think the other driver is at fault and seek legal help, your SC auto accident attorney will first have to answer these questions to decide whether you have a case:
- Was the other driver negligent?
- Were you injured, and, if so, are the damages enough to justify the expense of a lawsuit?
- Were your damages proximately caused by the other driver’s negligence?
The answer to all three questions must be “yes” if you have a case. If the other driver breached their duty to exercise reasonable care while driving, they were negligent. If their negligence caused damages to you – whether lost wages, medical expenses, or pain and suffering – they are liable for those damages.
What is Comparative Negligence in SC?
If the other driver clearly violated a traffic law – for instance, they ran a stop sign or a red light – and you did not, the question could be straightforward: Did their negligence cause your damages and how much will your recovery will be? Most lawsuits are not so straightforward, though. Remember that an insurance company’s attorney will be defending against your lawsuit, and insurance companies are in the business of making money which means they will try to find a way to limit your claim. What if you were also partly at fault? South Carolina has what is called a “modified comparative negligence rule” which means that you may recover damages in an auto accident lawsuit if you are no more than 50 percent at fault. Jurors at your trial could find that you are partially at fault in the car wreck, and your recovery will then be reduced by the percentage of fault determined to be yours by a jury. On the other hand, if jurors decide you are more than 50 percent at fault, you cannot recover any damages.
Auto Accident Lawyers in Myrtle Beach SC
If you’ve been injured in a car accident the attorneys at Coastal Law are prepared to help you to determine who was at fault and how to get full compensation for your auto accident. We have offices in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, and Columbia, SC. Call us now at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.