In South Carolina, negligence laws regarding car accident and injury cases can be quite complicated to navigate through. You’re most likely visiting this website because you’re looking for a South Carolina personal injury attorney and would like to know more about the benefits you could receive upon filing a claim, or perhaps you simply want to understand the difference between contributory negligence and comparative negligence.
Eliminate the unnecessary stress and anxiety; arm yourself with the facts below regarding South Carolina’s negligence laws. Contact our personal injury attorney to schedule a consultation. Read on to learn more.
1. What is apportionment?
Simply put, “apportionment” can be read as the distribution of fault. This is the portion of fault that each party in an accident can be attributed with. There are two common legal doctrines in which apportionment can be applied to: contributory negligence and comparative negligence.
2. What is contributory negligence?
Under common law, contributory negligence states that a person injured in an accident can only be reimbursed for medical costs and other expenses if they did not contribute to the accident in any degree.
For example, if a truck driver for a courier company was speeding, fell asleep at the wheel, or committed a traffic violation that caused a serious accident, that driver would not receive compensation for injuries under the contributory negligence doctrine. Since the driver contributed to his own injuries, his apportionment of fault — no matter how minor — would bar him from recovery. .
Fortunately, South Carolina civil courts no longer apply the contributory negligence doctrine in personal injury matters.
3. What is comparative negligence?
South Carolina is one of the many states that practice the comparative negligence doctrine.
Comparative negligence is in some ways the opposite of contributory negligence. Under the comparative negligence doctrine, the victim of an accident could still receive compensation for damages arising from an accident if he/she partially contributed to the accident. However, this is a simplistic way of looking at it. The judge has the power to determine the proportion of the plaintiff’s fault in the accident, which could reduce the plaintiff’s compensation.
4. What are some factors in determining proportions of fault?
In South Carolina, several factors are considered when determining fault. One factor is whether the defendant was aware of his/her conduct or if it was inadvertent. Another factor that could be considered by the judge or jury is the seriousness of the risks involved in the defendant’s actions. The number of persons injured in the accident could also be considered.
“Under South Carolina’s doctrine of comparative negligence, a plaintiff may recover damages only if his own negligence is not greater than that of the defendant.” See Bloom v. Ravoira, 339 S.C. 417, 529 S.E.2d 710 (2000).
5. What happens when a defendant and a plaintiff in an injury case are both partially responsible for the plaintiff’s injury?
In this case, the judge may use comparative negligence rules to determine how much of the total amount of damages belongs to each party.