Comparative Fault in South Carolina Truck Accident Cases
Truck accidents are a common occurrence in the United States of America. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2021 alone, 5,700 trucks were involved in accidents that resulted in death, and 117,300 trucks were involved in accidents that caused injuries. When a truck accident occurs, victims can recover financial compensation from at-fault parties. However, the process of determining fault and apportioning liability can be a complex one. In a South Carolina truck accident case, the principle of comparative fault/negligence is used when apportioning liability. If you were involved in a truck accident, it is vital that you understand how comparative fault works when it comes to truck accident cases. In this article, we discuss comparative fault in South Carolina truck accident cases.
Comparative Fault in South Carolina
South Carolina uses the legal doctrine of comparative negligence in personal injury cases, including truck accident personal injury cases. Specifically, South Carolina uses a modified comparative fault system for allocating fault in truck accident cases. According to SC Code 15-38-15, an accident victim can only recover compensation in a personal injury case if they are found to be 50% or less to blame for their accident. In other words, if a personal injury claimant is 51% or more to blame for their accident, they cannot recover compensation. This type of modified comparative negligence is called the 51% bar rule. In some other states, a claimant cannot collect compensation if they are found to be 50% or more at fault. This is known as the 50% bar rule.
Comparative Negligence in South Carolina Truck Accident Cases
After a truck accident, liability can span across several parties. When more than one party is to blame for a truck accident, every party is apportioned a percentage of fault according to their degree of negligence. Some of the parties who may share the blame in a South Carolina truck accident case include the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, another driver, and the loading company.
Determining liability and apportioning fault can be complex. It requires a thorough investigation. It is best to work with a qualified attorney.
What Happens if a Plaintiff Is Partially at Fault?
While you can recover compensation in a South Carolina truck accident case if you are found to be less than 51% at fault, being at fault has consequences. While South Carolina’s comparative negligence rule allows you to recover compensation in a truck accident case if you are less than 51% to blame for your accident, this rule allows your compensation to be reduced according to your percentage of fault. For example, suppose you are awarded $150,000 in damages, and you are 30% to blame for your truck accident. In such a case, your compensation will be reduced by 30%, and you will recover 70% of $150,000, which is $105,000.
Given the complexities of South Carolina’s comparative negligence laws, it is crucial that you seek the help of a skilled truck accident attorney. A qualified attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process, conduct a thorough investigation, and build a strong case that can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Charleston Truck Accident Lawyer
Our Charleston truck accident lawyer at Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm can help you with your accident claim. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.