Car accidents are traumatic in many ways, and the last thing you may want to deal with after the collision is a lawsuit.
If you caused a car accident (or the other driver believes you caused it), you may believe you are safe from a lawsuit if you have auto insurance. Unfortunately, South Carolina is one of the country’s 38 “fault states,” in which the at-fault driver is responsible for the other driver’s lost income, medical expenses, property repair, and more.
With this in mind, here are a few possible ways the situation could unfold:
- The other driver files a claim with their insurance company, and the company provides the payout. This is very unlikely if the other driver’s insurer believes you are responsible for the accident.
- The other driver files a claim with their insurance company, and the company pursues a subrogation claim against your insurance. Theoretically, the role of your insurance is to absorb the costs (up to a certain limit) of the other driver’s claim. The amount that your insurance covers will depend on not just the details of your specific policy but also whether you can hold them accountable for what they owe you and/or the other driver. An attorney’s advocacy is critical here because your insurance will do whatever it can to avoid paying.
- Neither insurance company covers the full amount that the other driver wants, so the driver sues you for the rest. If you and your attorney successfully fight against the lawsuit and prove that you were not at fault, you will no longer be liable for their damages. You might also be able to prove that the other driver was partially at fault, thereby reducing your liability.
Statistically, most car accident cases are settled, rather than litigated in court. However, your attorney’s ability to argue your case will greatly influence the amount of the settlement—and who receives it. Be sure to get in touch with a lawyer right away to maximize your likelihood of a favorable resolution.
What If the Other Driver Was Partially at Fault?
South Carolina is a comparative negligence state, which means the amount of compensation a plaintiff can obtain will correspond with the defendant’s level of fault. If, for example, you are 100% at fault, you will be liable for 100% of the damages. If you were only 75% at fault because the other driver contributed in some way to the accident (e.g., by speeding), you will only have to pay 75% of the damages.
Fortunately, the other driver cannot collect damages from you at all if they were more at fault for the accident than you were. So, if the jury finds that you were 49.999% at fault, and the other driver was 50.001% at fault, they will not be entitled to any compensation.
Navigating personal injury laws can be difficult on your own, and the likelihood of winning your case or simply reducing what you owe may be impossible without a lawyer. A skilled and experienced attorney will advise you from beginning to end, present your case in the best possible lighting, and may either reduce or eliminate your liability for the accident.
Get Started on Your Case As Soon As Possible
At Lam Law Firm, our attorney provides personal injury representation to those who are involved in accidents and are not at fault. Attorney Lam will utilize her years of experience and in-depth knowledge to fight for your case so you can receive fair compensation.
Unfortunately, personal injuries are often followed by financial hardship. Whether you have accumulated debt from your own medical expenses or the settlement for another driver’s claim, you might now be considering bankruptcy. Our attorney can answer all your questions about this powerful debt-relief process and, if it is right for you, guide you through bankruptcy from beginning to end.