When Should I Get a Lawyer for an Accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident and are uncertain if you or the other driver is to blame, it is essential to speak to an experienced SC personal injury lawyer about your specific accident case. While you may assume your actions could have contributed to the crash, an investigation and review from a lawyer could help prove otherwise. And in SC, even if you are partly at fault, you may still be able to recover!
Car accident claims are inherently complex. As such, anyone who has sustained injuries in an accident should always seek legal guidance from a car accident lawyer in South Carolina. It is important to understand your rights and have the opportunity to pursue compensation for your losses in the event any other party is to blame.
Determining Fault for a Car Accident in South Carolina
In the event of a car accident, fault needs to be determined in order for the victim to seek compensation for their losses. Proving fault involves the four following elements:
- Duty of care — All drivers owe others on the road a duty of care to drive safely and responsibly.
- Breach of duty — Drivers breach their duty when they perform negligent actions, like distracted driving and speeding.
- Causation — There must be a direct link between the driver’s negligence and the accident as well as any resulting injuries.
- Damages — Damages refer to the expenses and losses that resulted from the accident.
Your lawyer will use the four elements of negligence to determine who is at fault for what happened, and in what capacity. It is crucial for there to be clear and compelling evidence connecting the breach of duty and the financial consequences of injuries. There are instances where the breach is not easily uncovered, for example, or where it may not be considered directly related to the outcome of the accident. Your damages will also be scrutinized by the insurer, which may try to allege that certain costs are not directly related to the needed accident treatments.
Having an attorney by your side enables you to provide specific justifications for each component of negligence as well as a thorough accounting of 100% of your damages.
Modified Comparative Negligence
South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state. This system is the most common scheme used to determine fault and liability in the United States. Modified comparative fault allows partially liable parties to seek compensation for their loss if they are less at fault than the other party. The plaintiff is unable to recover their damages if they are deemed to be at 51% fault or more.
If you believe the accident you were in was partially your fault, know that you may still be able to recover compensation. Your lawyer will evaluate the situation, determine the percentage of responsibility for both parties, and help you surface the right information that can be used to maximize your compensation.
Be aware that if you are deemed liable for a percentage of the crash, your final compensation award will decrease based on that percentage. For example, let’s say you were found ten percent at fault for a collision valued at $100,000. Your compensation amount would decrease by ten percent, making you eligible for a total of $90,000.
Car Accidents and Third-Party Liability
While most car accidents only involve two parties, there are instances where a third party bears some percentage of the fault for what happened. The most common third-parties include the following:
- Other drivers. In accidents involving more than two vehicles, two or three drivers could potentially be to blame. Multi-car accidents happen most often on high-speed roadways, like interstates. It only takes one mistake to cause a chain reaction that brings in other vehicles.
- Passengers. In rare instances, passengers contribute to crashes, like if a passenger grabs the wheel or causes the driver to lose control. Depending on the situation, both the driver and passenger could be at fault.
- Employers. If you were struck by someone driving a company vehicle, the driver’s employer will be held responsible for the crash. In that instance, you would likely file a claim against the company’s insurance policy.
- Government entities and contract construction crews. In the event poorly maintained roads cause an accident, it could be a government entity’s responsibility to pay for related losses. A government entity could also be at fault if a government employee operated the vehicle that caused the collision.
- Product manufacturers. If a defective auto part causes a vehicle to fail or perform incorrectly and an accident occurs, the product manufacturer may be responsible. It is possible other parties in the supply chain could be held accountable, as well.
When Is It Time to Hire a Lawyer?
No matter the circumstances of your car accident, it is vital to seek legal advice. If you are found liable, you will benefit from working with a civil litigation attorney who will act as your defense against a claim of negligence.
In most instances, your auto insurance company will provide you with an attorney if you are being accused of fault or negligent driving. Insurers are legally obligated to defend their policyholders. In addition, insurance companies are financially motivated to determine who is at fault for a crash, as the determination has the ability to impact their bottom line.
If you believe you were not the person who caused the accident, and you sustained an injury, a personal injury attorney can evaluate your situation, explain your legal rights and options, and help you pursue compensation for your losses.
It is important to understand that injury attorneys always have the right to accept or decline a case. However, if you’re concerned about liability and your car accident resulted from complex circumstances, a personal injury attorney may be able to offer to help you with your injury case, no matter how minor the car accident was.
Talk to an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
While Auger & Auger does not handle the side of accident cases involving defense against liability or criminal charges, we are here to help you in the event you believe you are owed compensation for accident-related losses.
If you are in a situation where the opposing party is trying to push the blame off on you, but you know your injuries were caused by someone else, we can help. Our South Carolina car accident attorneys are prepared to investigate your accident, explain your legal options, value your claim, and help you pursue full and fair compensation. The sooner you get in touch with our firm after your crash, the sooner we can try to see how we may be able to help you. Contact us online today or schedule a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 800-559-5741.