South Carolina car accident laws allow victims to claim compensation from the party who causes the accident. Fault is decided based on negligence and the legal obligation of each person to use reasonable care and caution in their driving. Our car accident lawyers explain South Carolina car accident laws.
Car Accident Laws in South Carolina – An Overview
- Civil liability for car accidents is based on fault
- Fault depends on who acted negligently, recklessly, or intentionally – causing an accident
- Negligence is a lack of reasonable care and attention to driving
- Shared fault rules apply. A victim who is at fault may receive limited compensation
- Damages may include economic damages, non-economic losses, and punitive damages (special conditions apply)
- Parties responsible may not always be the responsible driver; an employer, vehicle manufacturer, or someone who obstructs traffic besides a driver may also be liable
- A victim has the right to bring a claim; they generally have three years to initiate a claim
Is South Carolina a no-fault state?
South Carolina is a fault state for accidents. Each victim may claim compensation from the responsible party for their losses. There is no minimum injury level or no-fault insurance required. Drivers must carry liability insurance along with uninsured motorist coverage equal to minimum liability coverage amounts.
South Carolina Code – Car Accident Laws
Major portions of the South Carolina Code addressing car accident compensation are:
- § 15-3-530 – Statute of limitations of three years to initiate a car accident lawsuit
- § 56-5-1270 – Requires drivers to complete and submit a crash report if law enforcement has not investigated. The report must be made whenever there is property damage of $1,000 or more or bodily injury
- § 15-38-15 – Comparative negligence laws do not bar a victim from claiming compensation if their contributory negligence does not exceed 50% fault
- § 56-9-10 et. seq. – The Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act requires motor vehicle owners to carry insurance minimums to cover accident liability
- § 15-32-200 et. seq. – Lists economic and non-economic damage awards available to personal injury victims
In addition to car accident laws, there are civil procedure rules that apply to bringing a claim for car accident compensation. Our lawyers are experienced in the laws and procedures that matter to you and your case.
How is shared fault handled in a South Carolina car accident?
It’s not always easy to determine fault for an accident. A driver may have failed to yield the right of way while another driver was speeding. A driver may have had trailer sway resulting from an improper load while the other vehicle was driving too closely.
South Carolina Code § 15-38-15 uses a system of comparative negligence to apportion fault and compensation for an accident. A victim may recover reduced compensation from another party who also has blame for the accident if they are not more than half at fault. The finder of fact (jury or judge) determines percentages of fault.
Who is liable in my car accident case?
Usually, the other driver is the party at fault for a car accident. But that’s not always the case.
For example, one mother sued the South Carolina Department of Transportation on behalf of her son. The 15-year-old was riding a bicycle when he was hit by a pickup truck. The mother claimed that the lack of a working stoplight and a lack of lighting in the roadway were the causes of the crash.
Source: Greenville News, Mother Sues Greenville County
What damages are available under South Carolina law in a car accident claim?
A car accident claim may include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages, depending on the losses incurred by the victim and the actions of the defendant.
Economic damages may include medical bills, physical therapy, and lost income. Non-economic damages cover intangible losses like physical pain, emotional anguish, and losses in lifestyle. Punitive damages may be claimed when the defendant acts with extreme recklessness.
What does a victim have to prove in a South Carolina car accident claim?
To receive compensation for a car accident claim, the victim must prove all the following:
- Negligence of the other party – The other party violated their duty of care. (Negligence is not a requirement in defective vehicle/product liability claims)
- Cause of an accident – Negligence is the underlying cause of the accident in which the plaintiff is a victim
- Damages – Once liability is established, the victim must identify all the damages they are claiming, both financially and non-economically
A victim may build their case through an investigation. Witnesses may be questioned formally and informally. Experts and accident reconstruction may be a crucial part of the claim.
Is a trial required for a car accident claim?
South Carolina law allows the parties to settle a car accident claim by agreement. In fact, a settlement is the result in most cases. The parties may take advantage of discovery rules that allow the open exchange of information. With clear information sharing, the parties can work towards a reasonable settlement or choose to take the case to trial.
Lawyers for Car Accident Laws and Compensation
Are you a car accident victim? Do you need help asserting your rights under South Carolina car accident law? Don’t wonder if you can receive compensation. We welcome you to have a consultation with our legal team.
The Bobby Jones Law team represents car accident victims and their families. We know the laws that matter the most to achieving success in your case and the compensation you deserve. Contact us to begin at (864) 432-1747.