An accident may happen at any time and for any reason. However, for an accident to be a personal injury accident someone must be injured and someone else must at fault. Fault is determined by a person’s actions. If they fail to act as a reasonable person would in the similar situation, then they are at fault. Being at fault means they are liable for paying the injured person’s damages. Damages include things like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage.
It may be obvious the other person is at fault for the accident. It may be obvious that the person injured in the accident did something wrong. That’s why it is important that a person seek legal representation from a Clinton Personal Injury Lawyer to learn more about modified comparative negligence.
What does Comparative Negligence Mean?
Comparative negligence is a defense the at-fault party can use to decrease the amount of damages they pay. If they are successful in proving this defense, they may not pay any money at all to the injured person. In most states, the injured person cannot be at fault for the accident. This means during the accident, they did something wrong. They won’t collect any damages.
In other states, an injured person can be at fault by a percentage. Their damages are decreased by their percentage of fault. South Carolina is one of those states that decreases the amount of damages by fault.
What is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Modified comparative negligence is a defense that decreases an injured person’s damages. The money they receive is entitled to receive is reduced by the percentage of fault. The percentage of fault must be below 50 percent. For instance, if the injured person is awarded $10,000 in damages. The jury decides they were 20 percent at fault for the accident. Their award decreases my 20 percent. So, they only receive $8,000.
An Injured Person can be Barred from Collecting Damages because Comparative Negligence
According to South Carolina law, if they are more than 50 percent at fault, they cannot collect any money from the at-fault party. For example, an injured person is awarded $10,000 from a jury because of the accident. The jury, because of the comparative negligence defense, finds the injured person was 52 percent at fault. They won’t receive that $10,000 jury award.
Discuss Modified Comparative Negligence with a Lawyer
Modified comparative negligence defense seems scary. No one wants to be award damages that is taken away or decreased because the at-fault party successfully proved their case. It is important to talk to a personal injury lawyer regarding comparative negligence. An insurance company may claim the injured person was at fault when they actually weren’t. This is often done to obtain leverage in settlement negotiation. The insurance company may also try to use this tactic to prevent the injured person from filing a lawsuit or speaking with a person injury lawyer.