The South Carolina Department of Transportation’s 2,259 traffic sensors recorded more than 76.2 million vehicles traveling past those sensors in 2022. It’s no surprise that accidents happen. The most recent statistics from the Department of Public Safety indicate that a car crash occurred on average every 3.6 minutes in 2021, leading to 147,724 accidents, with 36,460 causing injury and 1,112 resulting in fatalities. In many of these incidents, more than one driver may share the blame.
Pursuing a lawsuit might be possible if you were involved in a collision in South Carolina and were partially liable. Though every case is unique, our state laws do not prohibit legal claims when injured drivers bear some of the responsibility for the crash that led to their injuries. However, you must meet specific criteria.
Reasons To File a Lawsuit
After a traffic accident, your insurance company and that of the other driver involved will investigate the crash and make a fault determination. The insurance companies use this information to decide which party is responsible for the accident and how much the insurers will cover. Your insurance policy establishes whether you have coverage for your vehicle if you are partially at fault.
However, if you sustain injuries and hold liability, you might find it more challenging to receive compensation unless you have personal injury protection. If you can’t reach a satisfactory settlement from the insurance company, filing a legal car accident claim may be necessary.
Additionally, if your injuries are severe, the damages might exceed policy limits. The minimum coverage requirement in South Carolina is $25,000 per person per accident, up to $50,000 for a single accident. Your degree of responsibility plays a significant role in what the insurers will offer. Regardless, it is possible to incur damages that exceed policy limits, making it necessary to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Legal Requirements for Filing a Car Accident Claim
Car accident lawsuits fall under the umbrella of personal injury claims and are subject to the state’s negligence laws. To sue another driver, you must demonstrate negligence. Your role in the accident impacts the amount you can receive in a settlement.
Though the insurance companies make a fault determination, their decision plays no part in the court’s appraisal. However, filing a claim doesn’t mean you will see the inside of a courtroom. Most cases settle out of court. Even so, if you can present evidence demonstrating that the other driver’s share of the blame is higher than the insurance company states, you have a better chance of a favorable result. Proof of negligence in a personal injury claim requires:
- Showing that the other party had a responsibility to drive safely
- Presenting evidence that their driving behavior was unsafe
- Establishing your injuries
- Proving your injuries resulted from the other party’s behaviors
Enlisting the help of an experienced Jeffcoat Firm car accident lawyer might improve your chances. We know what evidence to look for and how to use it to build a strong case.
Meeting South Carolina’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
How much liability each driver has determines whether you can file and how much you can receive in a settlement. Some states follow a pure comparative negligence rule. In these instances, drivers can pursue compensation no matter how much fault they bear in an accident. Even drivers who are 99% to blame have the right to file a lawsuit.
South Carolina’s rules don’t provide that much leeway. Instead, the state — like most others — follows a modified comparative fault rule. Our state has a 51% bar, meaning you can’t file a car accident claim if you carry over half the blame. The other side will do their best to present a case showing you don’t meet the 51% bar. A Jeffcoat Firm car accident lawyer knows their tactics and will fight to protect your rights and the integrity of your case.
Establishing solid evidence and negotiating with the defense increases your chances of a fair settlement amount. Your share of the blame determines how much you receive. If you are 45% at fault, you will receive 55% of the awarded damages, less legal fees.
Support From Experienced Car Accident Attorneys
Jeffcoat Firm’s lawyers have the knowledge and experience to support you throughout your car accident claim. You are more than a case number to us. You matter. We take our responsibility seriously, working diligently to protect your rights and fighting for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case review.