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How is fault determined in Greenville?

Determining fault in an accident is a crucial step in the legal process, impacting the outcome of insurance claims and potential lawsuits. In Greenville, South Carolina, the rules for establishing fault follow state guidelines, and understanding these can help you navigate the aftermath of an accident.

At Smith Jordan Law, we are committed to providing you with the knowledge and legal support needed to manage such situations effectively. Please call our Greenville car accident lawyers at (864) 343-2222 if you or a loved one are hurt in a crash.

how is fault determined

The basics of fault determination

Fault determination involves identifying who was responsible for causing an accident. This process is critical for deciding who will pay for damages and injuries. South Carolina follows a “fault” or “tort” system, meaning the person found to be at fault for an accident is liable for the resulting damages.

Key factors in determining fault

Police reports

After an accident, law enforcement officers typically prepare a police report detailing the scene, the involved parties, and any potential traffic violations.  While not admissible at trial, the police report is a vital piece of evidence that is used in determining fault.

Eyewitness testimonies

Statements from witnesses who saw the accident can provide crucial information about what happened and who might be at fault.

Traffic laws

Traffic laws violations are strong indicators of fault. For example, running a red light or failing to yield can directly point to the negligent party. Relevant statutes include the South Carolina Code of Laws Section 56-5-970 regarding traffic signals and signs.

Accident reconstruction

In complex cases, accident reconstruction experts may analyze the scene, vehicle damage, and other factors to determine how the accident occurred and who was at fault.

Comparative negligence in South Carolina

South Carolina follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence, which means that more than one party can be at fault for an accident. Under the South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-38-15, each party’s degree of fault is assessed as a percentage, and damages are allocated accordingly.

For instance, if you are found to be 30% at fault for an accident, your compensation will be reduced by 30%. However, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you may be barred from recovering any damages.

Steps to take after an accident

Follow these steps after an accident to protect your rights and help establish fault.

1. Call the police

Always report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report.

2. Gather evidence

Photograph the accident scene, vehicle damages, and any visible injuries. Collect contact information from witnesses.

3. Seek medical attention

Even if you feel fine, get a medical check-up to document any injuries, which can be crucial for your claim.

4. Notify your insurance company

Report the accident to your insurance company promptly, providing all necessary details.

5. Consult an attorney

Contact Smith Jordan Law for skillful legal advice and representation. We can help you navigate the complexities of fault determination and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

How Smith Jordan Law can help

Case evaluation

We will thoroughly review the details of your case, including police reports, witness statements, and any other relevant evidence.

Legal guidance

Our attorneys will provide clear and practical advice on the best steps to take and what to expect during the legal process.

Negotiation

We will negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Litigation

We are prepared to take your case to court to achieve the best possible outcome if necessary.

We’ll hold all liable parties accountable in your case

Determining fault in an accident in Greenville involves a thorough investigation and understanding of South Carolina’s traffic laws and comparative negligence principles. By following the right steps and seeking expert legal assistance from Smith Jordan Law, you can protect your rights and work towards a fair resolution. If you have been involved in an accident and need help determining fault, contact us today for a consultation.

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