A car accident on Interstate 85 closed the highway down after a car flipped on the inner loop, causing four injuries, one of which was serious. The interstate was also closed for several hours. All four people had injuries which were potentially life-threatening. A car accident can cause the loss of time, property, health, and can even result in one’s death. An accident can come in the form of driver negligence, manufacturing defects, and dangerous weather.
In South Carolina, the rule is comparative negligence which states that even if a plaintiff is partially negligent, that plaintiff can still recover if their negligence does not exceed the negligence of others. The recovery will, however, be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s negligence
For example, if a plaintiff is 30% at fault (negligent), and one defendant is 70% at fault, and damages as determined by a jury are $100,000, the plaintiff would get a verdict for $70,000 from that defendant. You might be thinking about how one would determine the percentages of fault. The answer is that the legal system just punts. The case is put on by both the plaintiff’s side and the defense, witnesses are called, and arguments are made. Then, the jury is told the rule, that they have to determine how much each party was at fault, and they come up with an answer. So, they ignore how hard the question is, and they come up with an answer because eventually they will tire of deliberating.
The problem comes with the determination of 50% or 51%: The rule in SC is that the plaintiff’s negligence must not exceed that of the defendants, i.e. in a case where a jury determines that the plaintiff and defendant split fault exactly 50-50, the plaintiff gets 50% of damages. If the plaintiff is the least little bit more at fault than the defendant, the plaintiff is barred from recovery. This rule is called the 51% bar.
Regardless of what the cause, an accident can turn the life of someone involved upside down. This is why it is so important to retain an attorney who can help guide you through the legal process.
At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, we understand the baggage that comes along with an involvement in a serious auto accident. For a consultation, contact us at our Baxter Village office located in Fort Mill, South Carolina at 803-548-4444, or 877-374-5999. With over 23 years experience, our team is equipped to handle any sort of personal injury incurred due to a serious accident.