Depending on the collision, one or more parties can be at fault. Both parties in a side-impact accident can be found at fault in an accident. This is not ideal but does not hinder you from seeking compensation.
You can still pursue payment for your losses when you share liability but it is challenging and a longer process. You must have a detailed investigation into the accident to determine compensation avenues. Discuss your options with a South Carolina side-impact accident lawyer.
How Does Fault Affect Compensation?
The police will review the car accident scene when making a report outlining who is at fault and what the cause of the accident was. Shared fault is when they deem that both drivers contribute to the crash like a side-impact car. However, determining who can recover compensation is vital to determining the fault percentage.
To seek compensation, you must be under 51% at fault. The driver with the higher percentage of fault will be the one whose insurance company must pay the other for losses. 100% responsibility in an accident means the person cannot recover compensation.
How Is Fault Determined?
Since fault is the basis of a compensation claim, it is critical to get it right the first time. Unfortunately, there are varying evaluations of who is at fault. The police will have one version, the insurance company another, and the driver another.
Police who respond to the scene will give out tickets and make arrests if necessary, which can indicate fault. If your claim goes to court, the jury may have a completely different version of who is at fault.
Are Police Reports Evidence?
Officers will interview drivers and witnesses and review the position of the vehicles after the collision. They will also review physical evidence when writing their reports. They will also look to see if either driver was under the influence, will submit a blood alcohol test, and will complete the entire report when they review all the evidence available.
However, all of their work will make no difference because police reports cannot be used in a lawsuit to prove driver negligence. Code 56-5-1290 does allow the police officer to testify in court regarding his report.
Who Is at Fault for Side-Impact Collisions?
These crashes happen in cross streets or intersections when people make left turns or converge into traffic. In a side-impact collision, it is essential to determine which driver had the right of way when the accident happened. Therefore, the other motorist who failed to yield will be at fault for the crash. Either or can be at fault.
If a car makes a left turn without a turning signal or when the area is clear, they are at-fault. However, a vehicle going straight when the turning signal is on will be liable for an accident.
How Do Insurance Adjusters Determine Fault in Side-Impact Crashes?
Regardless of the police report, the insurance company will conduct its investigation to decide on fault and damages. Adjusters will review police reports, collect evidence, and interview the drivers. They will also review medical records and speak to witnesses.
Once they obtain everything they need, they will assign percentages of fault to the drivers. They can issue partial faults to two or more drivers. They will then disburse any compensation they are willing to offer according to these percentage points.
How Can a Side-Impact Lawyer in South Carolina Help with Fault?
Comparative fault influences the money you can seek after a side-impact accident. The adjuster for both drivers will negotiate percentage points, which is typically a subjective decision.
However, when you have a South Carolina car accident lawyer, we can investigate the case and continue negotiating with the insurance adjusters for better percentage points. The goal will be to minimize your fault percentage so you can seek higher compensation.
What Does an At-Fault State Mean?
South Carolina is considered an at-fault state, meaning the diver who causes an accident is responsible for the resulting damages. That also means drivers must seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. To make matters more complex, South Carolina also works under modified comparative negligence, where each party is assigned a percentage of fault.
What Are the Insurance Requirements in South Carolina?
All drivers must carry liability insurance that meets the state minimums. South Carolina minimums are $25,000 per person per injury and $50,000 for all people in one accident.
Property damage limits are a minimum of $25,000 for one accident. When the driver has uninsured motorist coverage, the amounts equal the diver’s liability coverage. Every driver must carry these coverages for when a car accident happens.
The insurance companies will argue back and forth about who has to pay. Uninsured motorists make the compensation process more complex, and having a side-impact lawyer representing you can help.
What Damages Are Available for a Side-Impact Case?
South Carolina has three forms of compensatory damages accident victims can seek. You can request economic damages like property damage, lost wages, and medical expenses. Injury victims can also seek non-economic damages like loss of consortium, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
Punitive damages are awarded in extreme cases of reckless actions and are available to accident victims. While these damages are available to injury victims, not everyone will qualify. Damage awards are contingent on individual case factors and insurance claims.
Fault is also a contributing factor in determining your potential award.
Where to Turn for Legal Help
While some car accidents are straightforward, many are not. When two drivers are at fault, you must speak with a side-impact accident lawyer in South Carolina to determine your legal options. We understand the insurance company’s tactics to assign more blame to one party so they can come out on top.
When we collect substantial evidence of fault, we can work to negotiate a lower percentage assignment for the victims. The lower your percentage, the higher your potential compensation. Contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm for a free case review.