Whether you're headed to Myrtle Beach for a round of golf and some time in the sand, visiting the historic plantations in Charleston, or just on your way to work in Columbia, chances are you're probably driving to these varied South Carolina destinations. That makes car accidents a very possible part of life. If you've been involved in a car accident in this state, read on to educate yourself about South Carolina's car accident compensation laws.
Below is a table showing key aspects of South Carolina's car accident compensation laws, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.
Fault in South Carolina: "At Fault" and "Comparative Negligence" Rules
South Carolina follows the "at fault" or "tort" system for car accident claims. This means that in order to recover damages, you must first show fault on the part of the other driver. However, South Carolina also follows a "modified comparative negligence" rule, which states that even if you are partly to blame for causing the accident, you may still recover damages as long as your negligence in causing the accident is not greater than that of the person or people you are suing.
In other words, to recover damages, you must be 50% or less at fault. However, if you were partly to blame, any damages that are awarded will be reduced in proportion to the degree that you were at fault. For example, if you were 10% at fault and the other driver was 90% at fault, you may still sue the other driver, but an award of $1000 will be reduced by $100.
Types of Damages
After a car accident, there are usually two types of damages to consider: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are the more direct, specific costs you've incurred as a result of your injury or damage to property, while non-economic damages refer to the more abstract costs of an accident, like emotional distress and the loss of spousal companionship.
Economic damages may include:
- Car repairs
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages may include:
- Physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of affection or companionship
Limits on Damages
South Carolina does not have a cap on most damages that may be awarded. However, there is a cap on the non-economic damages of certain medical malpractice claims ($350,000), as well as a cap on claims against the government ($300,000). Lastly, claims are time-sensitive, as you must file most lawsuits within three years from the date of the accident.
Involved in a Car Accident? Talk to a South Carolina Attorney Today
To receive fair compensation after a car accident in South Carolina, you'll want to be able to show fault according to the modified comparative negligence rules. Learn more about these rules and evaluate the strength of your case by speaking with a local injury law attorney familiar with South Carolina car accident compensation laws.