You may suffer injuries ranging from mild to serious or even fatal in a car accident. In the wake of a car crash, you may also be forced to pay steep medical costs for the treatment of your injuries. Other types of losses you may face include lost wages, lost earning capacity, and short-term or long-term disabilities.
This is why it is immensely important to recover suitable compensation for your crash-related losses. Compensatory damages go a long way towards helping you stay financially stable until you are fully recovered. They are also a way of holding an at-fault party accountable for their negligence.
That being said, you need to understand the state laws in order to file a compensation claim and ultimately secure the damages you deserve. These include South Carolina’s comparative fault rule which is often used in car accident compensation claims. Here is a look at what it is and how it works.
What is Comparative Fault?
The comparative fault rule states that you may be entitled to a portion of compensatory damages even when your own fault partly caused the crash. However, this applies when the other party is also found negligent. As per this rule, the fault in any car accident is basically distributed among the parties involved. The distribution takes place in proportion to the percentage of the negligence of each party.
For instance, if you were speeding and the other driver had run a red light at the time when both vehicles collided, both drivers may be found negligent. It is then up to the court to decide what percentage of fault is allocated to each driver.
How Comparative Fault Affects a Car Crash Claim?
Comparative fault rule is a vital consideration in car crash claims. It affects any car accident compensation claim in two notable ways.
- This rule allows you to recover compensation even when you are at fault. This is great as, without this rule, you may be deprived of the damages altogether because your own negligence contributed to the crash. But with this rule in place, you can still get damages.
- Your settlement amount may be significantly reduced. The actual amount of damages you receive in the car accident claim is trimmed in proportion to your percentage of fault. For instance, if the court finds that you are entitled to $10,000 in damages but also finds that you are 10% at fault, the amount that you actually get will be trimmed to $9,000. Similarly, if you settled for $25,000 but were found 20% at fault, you will ultimately get $20,000 from the claim.
There is also a catch to the comparative fault rule. The rule allows you to get damages as long as your share of the fault percentage is not greater than the other party. In a crash involving two vehicles, for instance, you can seek compensation as long you are not more than 50% at fault in the crash. However, things are a little different in multi-vehicle crashes.
Comparative Fault Rule in Multi-Vehicle Crashes
When a crash involves multiple vehicles, the comparative fault rule becomes a bit complicated. The basic principle remains the same – each driver pays damages in accordance with their share of the fault. And each victim is able to recover compensation after it is reduced in proportion to their fault percentage.
However, if the negligence of any single driver is greater than the combined negligence of all the other drivers, it is only then that the said driver is deprived of the damages altogether. For instance, if one driver is 40% at fault in a car crash and three other drivers are 20% at fault each, the first driver can still recover compensation. This is because his 40% negligence is still lower than the 60% combined negligence of the other drivers.
Hiring a Reliable Car Accident Attorney in South Carolina
If you have been involved in a car crash in South Carolina, it is important to file a compensation claim on a timely basis. A claim that is filed at the earliest and meets all the legal requirements has better chances of winning you a fair settlement.
Here at ASB Law Firm, we help you seek the compensation you deserve in car accident cases. Our attorneys specialize in negotiating with the insurers and also taking your claim to a court when need be. Ultimately, our aim is to get you the right amount of compensatory damages. Call us today to consult our attorneys in a free, in-person session.