What Happens if the Defendant Claims You Were at Fault?

December 2, 2021

If you were to ask both drivers in a car accident who was at fault, they would both point at the other person. Nobody ever wants to admit that they caused an accident. Nobody wants to admit that they did something wrong in general. This is only magnified ten-fold when there is a car crash involved.

Columbia car accident lawyers are used to hearing the same question from their clients – when will I get my money? They don’t realize that there’s never a guarantee when it comes to legal action. If you really want to know what to do after your crash, you should call and talk to an experienced Columbia car accident lawyer right away. Even if you were partially at fault, they’ll do their best to get you some compensation for your damages.

Very Rarely Is Either Party 100% at Fault

It’s almost impossible to prove that either driver is 100% at fault. Even if the entire accident is caught on tape, it can still be hard to determine what happened. For example, the court almost always holds the rear driver liable in a rear-end car accident. There are times, however, when this rule doesn’t apply. Imagine that the front driver’s brake lights are out. The rear driver may have no idea they’ve put on their brakes.

Or in another situation, the front driver could be going 65 mph and then slam on their brakes suddenly. In both of these situations, it would be hard to hold the rear driver at fault. But does that mean the rear driver holds no responsibility? Even in these scenarios, could the rear driver have done anything to contribute to the crash? You can bet the other attorney will push to show that both parties were at fault.

Your Columbia Car Accident Lawyer Will Need to Prove Negligence

In order to collect damages in any accident case, you need to prove negligence. In order for your Columbia car accident lawyer to do this, they need to demonstrate several things:

  • They need to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This isn’t all that difficult with a car accident. At a minimum, we all owe other drivers a certain duty of care. For example, we all have to follow traffic laws. We aren’t allowed to drive recklessly or get behind the wheel when we’re intoxicated.
  • Your Columbia car accident lawyer also needs to show that the defendant breached this duty. This is the hardest part of your case. This is also where the idea of partial fault may enter the picture. You need to submit as much evidence as possible to show that the other driver caused the crash.
  • Even if you can prove breach, you still need to show that you suffered some sort of damages. This can be done by submitting copies of your medical records, showing that you endured severe injuries that required extensive medical treatment. You can also submit proof that you missed several months of work. This would substantiate your attorney’s demand for damages for lost wages.
  • Finally, you do need to show that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries. There are times when the defendant can show that you had certain injuries prior to your accident. If this is the case, it’ll be hard to demand full damages for that injury.

The goal is to hold the defendant accountable for their actions. If they were only 75% responsible for your accident, they should only be held 75% accountable for your damages.

How Is Your Lawsuit Affected if You’re Partially at Fault?

The law in South Carolina dictates that your damages will be reduced by your proportion of fault. So, if the court finds that you were 25% at fault, your damages will be reduced by this amount. This means that your demand for $100,000 would be reduced to $75,000. Just keep in mind, there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive any damages. The defendant may be able to prove that you were 55% at fault. If that happens, you’ll get nothing because the law won’t allow you to recover if you’re more than 50% at fault.

Your Columbia Car Accident Lawyer Will Try to Negotiate a Settlement

If you’re involved in a car accident, you may insist that the other driver was the one who caused the crash. They’ll probably claim that you caused it. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. That’s why your Columbia car accident lawyer will try to settle your case. That way, you don’t have to risk getting nothing if you lose at trial. Call today and schedule your free consultation with our office.