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Car Accident Case: How is Fault Determined?

If you ask two people who were just involved in a car accident who was at fault, they’ll both point the finger at the other driver. Nobody ever wants to admit that they caused their car crash. It’s human nature to want to put the blame somewhere else. The truth is, very rarely is one person ever 100% at fault. Our Greenville car accident attorneys have learned this over the years. That’s why the law provides a solution for when a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for their own injuries.

Here, we will discuss what your Greenville car accident attorney must do to prove fault. We will also explain what happens if the court finds that you were also partially at fault. Finally, we will describe the different types of damages your attorney can demand on your behalf. If you still have questions about your own accident case, feel free to contact us directly. You can always schedule your free consultation online or by phone.

Your Greenville Car Accident Attorney Must Prove Negligence

In order to collect any damages, your Greenville personal injury lawyer must prove negligence. Negligence is simply another way of saying that the other driver didn’t behave the same way a reasonable person would have given the circumstances. There are 4 elements of negligence, and your Greenville car accident attorney must prove them all if you expect to recover damages:

  • Your Greenville car accident attorney must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care – This isn’t difficult because all drivers owe other motorists a certain duty of care. At a minimum, everybody is expected to obey all traffic laws.
  • Your lawyer must also show that the defendant breached this duty – One way to do this is to submit copies of a ticket that was issued to the other driver at the accident scene. If they were cited for texting and driving, or speeding. then this will be per say evidence that they breached their duty of care.
  • Another thing your attorney must show is that you were injured – This is one of the reasons we always tell clients to go to the hospital immediately after their car accident. The best way to document that you were injured is to submit a copy of your medical records. If you didn’t go to the hospital, your Greenville car accident attorney won’t have anything to prove that you were hurt.
  • Finally, your lawyer must show that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty – Again, this shouldn’t be difficult to do as long as you went to the hospital after your accident. The defendant would have to prove that something other than the crash caused your injuries. This will be nearly impossible to do as long as you seek treatment right away.

Once your Greenville personal injury lawyer proves these four elements of negligence, they can move on to proving your damages.

What Happens if You Were partly at Fault?

A lot of our clients are worried about what will happen if the court finds that they were partially responsible for their car accident. The good news is that you can still collect damages in South Carolina, even if you were partially responsible for the accident. This isn’t the case for all states. Thankfully, you live in a state that follows the comparative negligence rule. You can still collect damages, only your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

For example, imagine that you were hit from behind. Your Greenville personal injury lawyer sues the other driver for $100,000. The defendant is able to prove that your brake lights weren’t working at the time of the crash. The judge may determine that you were 20% liable for the crash. This means that your damages will be reduced by 20%. Instead of getting the whole $100,000, you will only receive $80,000.

This is why it’s critical that your Greenville car accident attorney be able to prove that the other driver was primarily at fault for your crash. It’s the best way to secure you a fair settlement.

Once Your Greenville Personal Injury Lawyer Proves Fault, They Can Prove Damages

What most of our clients are concerned with is how much their case is worth. From the first moment we sit down with them, all they want to know is what kind of damages we can demand on their behalf. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to some or all of the following:

  • medical bills
  • future medical bills
  • lost wages
  • lost future income
  • property damage
  • pain and suffering

Since every case is unique, it’s impossible to say for sure what types of damages your attorney will be able to prove in your case. This is something they’ll be able to discuss with you closer to trial. You always want to give enough time that your doctor can confirm the seriousness of your injuries. This will also give you a chance to see what your total medical bills really are.

Your Damages Will Be Reduced if You Were Partially Responsible

Earlier, we mentioned the idea of you being partially at fault. A lot of our clients don’t understand how this could be. Either the other driver calls the accident, or they didn’t. The truth is, it’s never cut and dry. There are all sorts of ways that you may have contributed to the accident:

  • Your break lights might have been out in a rear- end collision
  • You may have been speeding at the time of the crash
  • Even if the defendant was speeding, you may have been texting at the time of impact
  • Your headlights could have been out during a head-on collision

Any number of things could have happened that makes you partially responsible for the accident. One thing we always tell our clients is to be honest with their Greenville car accident attorney from the start. If you think there’s something you may have done that made the accident occur, be honest about it. The last thing you want to have happen is your Greenville personal injury lawyer being blindsided in the middle of trial. At least if you tell them ahead of time, they can adequately prepare to defend any claim that you caused the accident.

Contact an Experienced Greenville Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or your loved one were recently injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact our office right away. Take the time to sit down with an experienced Greenville car accident attorneyv who can review your case and give you an idea of what it might be worth. We do offer our clients a free, initial consultation, so it won’t cost you a thing for your initial meeting.

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