Is South Carolina a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

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Car accident laws vary between states. Many states are no-fault states, either required for everyone or as an insurance option.

What about South Carolina? Is South Carolina a no-fault state for car accidents?

The Schiller & Hamilton car accident attorneys in Rock Hill explain South Carolina car accident fault laws.

Is South Carolina a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

South Carolina uses a fault system for car accidents where the party who causes an accident is responsible for paying compensation. S.C. Code § 15-38-15(c) establishes comparative fault where a party may receive compensation if they are not more than 50% at fault for an accident.

The severity of injury is not a factor in the right to claim compensation.

How Does At-Fault Work for South Carolina Car Accidents?

South Carolina is an at-fault state for car accidents.

Here’s what that means:

  • In South Carolina, the party responsible for an accident is liable to pay compensation.
  • There is no exception for minor injuries because South Carolina uses an at-fault system.
  • A victim doesn’t have to turn to their insurance first – they can bring their claim to the responsible party.
  • Even though it’s not required, you may choose to purchase PIP (personal injury protection) insurance. This insurance covers your injuries regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
  • To receive compensation, a victim may bring their claim to the insurance company for the driver at fault. They may also file a lawsuit.
  • You may have an attorney represent you in negotiations with the insurance company and your legal claim.

What’s the Difference Between Fault and No-Fault States?

The primary difference between fault and no fault is how people with minor injuries are compensated for the accident.

In a fault system, the party causing the accident pays in all circumstances.

In a no-fault system, the party at fault pays only when injuries are especially serious, permanent or disfiguring. There may be other differences that vary from state to state.

No Fault and At Fault Differences, At a Glance

At-Fault No-Fault
Party at fault liable to pay compensation Yes Sometimes (Serious injuries only)
Economic damages eligible for compensation Yes Yes
Non-economic damages compensated Yes No
Comparative negligence Yes, varies by state Yes, but only when a claim involves serious injuries
PIP Optional Required

What Do I Need to Know About South Carolina At-Fault Laws?

Here is what drivers and passengers should know about South Carolina’s car accident laws:

Fault is important

Any car accident compensation begins with who is at fault. Fault is determined by negligence. Negligence may be a traffic violation, or it may be other conduct that creates an unreasonable risk of harm. Because negligence varies from situation to situation, it may be especially important to build the evidence in your case in a fault state, like South Carolina.

Insurance coverage is important

Compensation for a car accident in a fault state requires determining what insurance policies exist and what they cover. Most claims are paid through insurance policies.

There is no claim too small

In a fault state, like South Carolina, every car accident injury is deserving of fair compensation. There is no minimum threshold for a victim to meet before they have legal rights. You deserve a fair payment for your economic and non-economic damages, whatever they may be.

Modified comparative negligence applies

South Carolina uses a modified comparative negligence system. The modified comparative negligence system may apply in both at fault and no-fault states. It is a way of apportioning shared liability in car accident claims and other types of personal injury.

There are significant variations in how states handle comparative negligence.

Understanding At-Fault Car Insurance in South Carolina

In an at-fault system, whoever causes the car accident should pay for it. Because fault is the basis for liability, determining who is at fault is very important. With fault identified, the victim can value their damages and seek them from the party or party who caused the accident. The victim goes to the insurance company of the party at fault – or the party directly – and demands compensation.

No-fault car insurance – does not apply in South Carolina

In a no-fault system, car accidents resulting in minor injuries are handled through each party’s insurance. Rather than going to the party at fault, victims with minor injuries go to their insurance first. No fault may also cover family members or passengers who don’t own a vehicle and have their insurance.

With no-fault, who is at fault for the accident matters only when an accident results in significant injury. Below a certain injury threshold, each party turns to their insurance, without regard to fault. Generally, no-fault insurance for minor injuries provides compensation for economic damages – medical bills and wage loss. Non-economic damages are generally not compensated.

When injuries are serious, victims in a no-fault state may still bring a claim for compensation including pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. Within a no-fault system, vehicle owners still have a significant choice in selecting their insurance limits and coverages.

Proponents of no-fault say that it is effective in reducing litigation and speeding up claims processing. Critics say that no-fault leaves victims without fair compensation for their injuries.

What Happens If the Person at Fault in an Accident Has No Insurance?

If a person at fault for an accident has no insurance in South Carolina, they may face criminal charges with jail time, fines and fees. They may be personally liable if they cause an accident.

South Carolina drivers must carry uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage may pay compensation to car accident victims after a small deductible.

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer

Are you wondering how to get compensation after a car accident? Are you wondering what South Carolina car accident fault laws mean for you? Let’s talk.

The Schiller & Hamilton car accident lawyers are currently taking new cases. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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