Very rarely is one driver 100% at fault for a car accident. You know what we mean. Even if you’ve been hit by another car, part of you realizes that you may not have been totally innocent. Maybe you got hit from behind while you were texting your friend. Or, perhaps you didn’t brake when you noticed a car speeding through a red light. It’s part of human nature to assume that accidents happen to other people. It’s as if we figure the other driver will do what it takes to avoid an accident. Or, we don’t even notice what’s going on. Nobody is perfect. However, just because you’re partly at fault doesn’t mean you can’t recover. If you’ve been in an accident, a Columbia car accident lawyer can help.
South Carolina follows the comparative negligence rule. This rule states that you can still file your car accident claim if you’re partially at fault. As long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you can still collect damages from the other driver.
The hard part is proving that you were less than 50% at fault.
While your lawyer argues that the other driver is at fault, his lawyer will be doing the opposite. He’ll claim that you were at fault and this his client should be entitled to damages.
This is why so many car accident cases settle out of court. Both lawyers know that their client risks losing in court. It’s usually a good idea for everyone involved to negotiate an out of court settlement.
No Matter Who’s at Fault – Get Medical Attention
Your Columbia car accident lawyer will figure out who’s at fault. And, if he can’t do that, he’ll hire some experts to do it for him. Your job is to make sure you get medical attention right after your car crash. You have no idea what’s wrong with you. You may feel like you’re not hurt at all. However, you could be suffering from a traumatic brain injury or internal injuries. If you don’t seek medical attention, you won’t be able to prove your injuries anyway. You’ll never recover on your insurance claim if you can’t provide your medical expenses.
You also have a duty to mitigate your damages. If you don’t see medical attention, the defendant will say you were responsible for your injuries getting worse later on. Go to the hospital for your own good. You also don’t want to make your car accident attorney’s job harder later on. If he has no medical proof of your injuries, you probably won’t recover a dime.
What if the Insurance Company Won’t Pay?
If the other driver’s insurance company thinks you’re at fault, they won’t pay your claim. This means you’ll have to file an appeal. If the appeal doesn’t work, your Columbia car accident lawyer will have to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
The defendant’s lawyer and the claims adjuster may insist that their client isn’t at fault. They handle a lot of claims in Columbia, SC and they can’t just pay them all. They may also be looking for a settlement. If they deny your claim, it invites settlement negotiations from your attorney.
If your claim is denied, you can file a lawsuit. In your suit, you’ll demand the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Keep in mind, under comparative negligence rules, your claim will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if your total damages are $100,000, and you’re 20% at fault, you’ll only recover $800,000.
The whole point of negotiating a settlement is to get you as much as possible. Your lawyer will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Columbia Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you get into a car accident in South Carolina, you’re going to need a lawyer. You need someone to protect your interests and get you the compensation you deserve. This is why you need to contact a Columbia car accident lawyer today.
Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company. He will also answer any questions you may have. Call and schedule your free initial consultation today. The other driver will have lawyers working for him and you should too.