The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Paul Ryan, is facing a lawsuit that seeks damages in excess of $100,000 in damages for an accident that one of his aides caused while driving Ryan’s SUV. According to an ABC News report, Ryan was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash and the accident allegedly caused injuries to two people who were in the other vehicle. This is an example of negligence for which the injured party could attempt to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Who’s at Fault?
While some accidents fault may be obvious, more often than not fault is more difficult to determine than simply looking at which car struck the other. Accordingly, knowledgeable car accident lawyers become investigators: they look through the records relating to the accident, including witness statements, police reports, as well as applicable state or municipal codes to determine liability. Generally, however, the two types of car accidents in which fault is more easily determined are rear-end crashes and left-turn crashes.
Under the law, fault is determined when the plaintiff can establish the defendant was reckless or negligent. Recklessness occurs where a party knew or should have known his or her actions were likely to cause harm. Negligence is found when a party breached a duty owed to another and caused harm to the person. Establishing fault is essential in a car accident case as it determines who is awarded compensatory damages in a lawsuit and who is liable for payment. Some states have no-fault rules that require insurers to pay the insured’s damages, regardless of who is found responsible.
Negligence Determines Damages
There are three types of negligence used when determining the amount of compensatory damages owed to a victim of an auto accident. These include:
- Strict comparative negligence – in this type of negligence, a party can seek damages even if partially found to be at fault. Damages can be awarded in proportion to the degree of responsibility of each party for the accident.
- Modified comparative negligence – this type of negligence limits a party’s ability to file a claim. In Illinois, specifically, a party can only recuperate losses if that party is found to be less than 50 percent responsible for the auto accident.
- Contributory negligence – this type of negligence is an “all-or-nothing” determination of fault. In order for a party to be awarded damages, that party cannot be found responsible for any portion – at all – of the auto accident.
Laws vary from state to state, however, South Carolina law utilizes comparative negligence when determining damages.
Charleston Car Accident Attorneys
Car accident cases can be stressful. Not only do they involve property damage, but also physical injuries and emotional turmoil typically occur. Don’t try to navigate this process alone. If you or someone you know has been injured in car accident or has suffered any other type of personal injury, contact a Charleston car accident lawyer today to find out your rights and obligations under South Carolina law. The attorneys at Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson, LLC will protect your interests and guide you every step of the way.