Who is liable in a car pile-up?

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident involving multiple vehicles, figuring out who is at fault can be complicated. Determining which parties were negligent is key to recovering compensation through an insurance claim or in court. A Greenville car accident lawyer from Smith Jordan Law can identify who is liable for a car pile-up by thoroughly investigating the accident and analyzing the evidence.

who is liable in a car pile up

How is fault determined in a South Carolina multi-car accident?

Fault describes negligent or reckless actions that contribute to a crash. Driving while distracted, speeding, driving while intoxicated, or driving aggressively are all considered negligent behaviors that contribute to someone’s fault. A person may be assigned more fault if their actions were reckless or intentional.

By investigating evidence from the scene, your car accident attorney can determine who is at fault, including whether you carry any measure of responsibility. Photos, video, witness statements, and physical evidence can help your lawyer understand who is to blame.

Insurance companies will also investigate before making a settlement offer. Police officers will review the accident scene when they arrive and record their impressions of who is at fault in their collision report. This document can be valuable to your case when seeking compensation.

Whose insurance pays for my injuries in a pile-up car accident?

Drivers in SC who are found at fault for causing your injuries and property damage must pay. Residents must purchase liability insurance, and you can file a claim against their policy. Coverage minimums are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury coverage for one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 of property damage coverage

You must also purchase Uninsured Motorist insurance with these same minimums.  Every insurance company must also offer Underinsured Motorist insurance with the same minimums.  If you show multiple parties are responsible for your harm, your car accident lawyer can help you file claims against their policies.

What if I am found partly at fault for a car pile-up in South Carolina?

Because South Carolina uses a modified comparative negligence rule, multiple parties can be assigned blame. Unfortunately, this can include you as the victim. For example, if you were rear-ended in a multi-car crash and pushed into the car in front of you, you may be found partially at fault if you followed too closely.

However, if you aren’t more than 50% liable for the accident, you can still seek compensation. Insurance companies will try to assign blame to you to reduce what they pay.  Your car accident lawyer will do their best to minimize how much fault, if any, you are assigned because the same percentage will reduce your settlement or jury award. For example, if you are assigned 20% of the blame and have $10,000 in damages,  a jury verdict would be lowered to $8,000.

How can my lawyer demonstrate negligence by other drivers?

Insurance companies will argue over who carries the most fault and try to minimize the blame put on their policyholders. Ultimately, as a business, they want to reduce what they must pay. Your auto accident lawyer will try to maximize your compensation while working to show you hold minimal liability for the crash.

To show how others are at fault, they will work to establish four elements of negligence against the other parties:

  1. Duty: The other drivers owed you a duty of care to drive safely.
  2. Breach: The other drivers breached (or failed) that duty by driving recklessly or carelessly.
  3. Causation: There is a connection between the other drivers’ actions and your injuries.
  4. Damages: You have economic and non-economic damages related to your injuries and property damage that the negligent parties must repay.

The key element is to present evidence showing how the other drivers failed in their duty of care and how that failure led to your injuries.

Smith Jordan Law is ready to help you

To learn more about how fault is determined in a multi-car crash in South Carolina, schedule a free consultation with a Greenville car accident lawyer at Smith Jordan Law. Call us at (864) 343-2222 or use our online form today.

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