Is South Carolina a No-fault State?
Unfortunately, auto accidents are a serious public safety problem in South Carolina. According to reporting from WIS News, South Carolina is the third deadliest state in the country for traffic collisions — with only Mississippi and Alabama having more dangerous roads.
Following a car accident, injured victims need to know how to protect their rights and how to recover the full available financial support. As our Greenville, SC auto accident attorney explains, South Carolina is a fault-based car accident state. Under state law, car crash victims must prove fault to hold another party liable for their damages.
South Carolina is a Fault-Based Auto Accident State
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 12 U.S. states currently have some form of a ‘no fault’ auto accident insurance system. South Carolina is not one of these jurisdictions. In our state, you need to establish fault in order to hold another party responsible for your motor vehicle accident.
As a general rule, fault is based on negligence. Simply defined, negligence is the failure to act with adequate care or prudence. In other words, drivers or other parties who have caused a crash as a result of their careless or reckless conduct can be held liable for any resulting damages.
Understanding South Carolina’s Modified Comparative Negligence Standard
Notably, South Carolina operates under a modified comparative negligence standard (SC Code § 15-38-15). All parties to a car accident claim will be held legally liable in direct proportion to their level of ‘blame’ (fault) for the crash.
As an example, imagine that you were involved in a wreck on South Carolina Highway 253. In total, you sustained $10,000 in damages. After an investigation, it is determined that two different negligent drivers both caused the collision.
The first driver is deemed to be responsible for 70 percent of the crash, while the other driver is deemed to be responsible for the remaining 30 percent. Under South Carolina’s comparative fault rules, the first driver would be liable for $7,000 in damages (70 percent) and the second driver would be liable for $3,000 in damages (30 percent).
One of the most important things that car accident victims need to know about South Carolina’s modified comparative fault standard is that they can also be held liable for part of their own accident. When this happens, compensation will be reduced by a plaintiff’s level of fault. For instance, if you are found to be liable for 40 percent of your crash, then you will only be able to recover compensation for 60 percent of your losses. You will be held responsible for the remaining 40 percent.
Speak to a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Today
At the Peace Law Firm, our Greenville, SC auto accident attorney is a strong and committed advocate for injured victims. We know how to handle the big insurance companies. If you were hurt in a crash, please do not hesitate to request a free consultation today. From our office in Greenville, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Greenville County, Spartanburg County, Pickens County, and Anderson County.