Determining Fault After a South Carolina Car Accident
The at-fault driver is liable for your injuries and expenses after a crash
Whether it is obvious or unclear who caused a car accident, for an insurance company to accept liability, you must present a lot of evidence proving their client, the negligent driver, is at fault.
That’s why Johnson + Johnson, Attorneys at Law has developed thorough and aggressive methods for crash investigation and evidence collection that get results. Our Lexington car accident attorneys have earned a reputation for real results throughout South Carolina.
When the insurance company denies liability, we push back with hard evidence – like crash-site photos and damaged property, witness statements, medical records, surveillance camera footage, legal research, and expert testimony. We build cases the insurance companies cannot ignore while you focus on healing.
After a car accident, get the justice, compensation, and respect you deserve. Contact Johnson + Johnson for a free case evaluation. We're committed to your case results as well as health and financial recovery. Our car accident law firm serves injured accident victims in Lexington, Columbia, Red Bank, Oak Grove, and throughout South Carolina.
Who is at fault in a multi-car pileup and other types of car accidents?
Car accidents are so unique that no one can honestly say that a driver is "always" at fault in a specific type of crash. However, some crash configurations naturally require a specific driver to usually be at fault. Still, the most accurate way to determine fault is to contact a South Carolina car accident attorney for a free case evaluation.
- Rear-ender, hit from behind crash. Usually, the driver in back is at fault in a rear-end crash, but not always. If the car in front suddenly applies the brakes, makes an abrupt lane change or turn, or has defective equipment like a damaged brake light, the driver in back may not be at blame.
- Distracted driver. A driver who isn't paying attention to the road is usually the one at fault in a crash. Signs that a driver may be distracted include an inability to maintain a constant speed, in-lane swerving, crossing the yellow line, sudden stops, and running red lights or other traffic signals.
- Head-on collision. The driver who was going the wrong way or veered into the oncoming lane is almost always at fault for a head-on collision. However, witnesses may disagree as to which driver that was.
- Intersection accident. If the driver of the car entering the intersection neglected to yield the right of way or believed that another vehicle would stop for them, the crash is likely their fault. Common crash patterns in intersection accidents include T-bone, sideswipe, head-on, and rear-end collisions.
- Changing lanes and merging crashes. When drivers fail to notice the vehicles around them and do not take all reasonable precautions before changing lanes – like checking blind spots and using blinkers – they may be held accountable for the resulting crash. Lane-change accidents tend to be sideswipes and rear-end collisions. The vehicle that stayed in their lane is rarely at fault.
- Multi-car pile-up. Determining fault in a multi-car wreck can be challenging. When there are numerous vehicles involved in an accident, each point of impact in the pileup is examined for fault. There are often multiple at-fault drivers in a pileup.
- Drunk drivers and red-light runners. When someone’s behavior is grossly negligent, they are likely at fault in a crash. Some people refer to car accidents caused by intoxicated or impaired drivers as "no-doubt responsibility" collisions. But even if there is no dispute regarding liability, the insurance company may dispute the extent of your injuries or downplay your expenses.
- Pedestrian. Whether you were walking on the sidewalk, in a crosswalk, or in a marked lane, the person on foot in a pedestrian collision is rarely at fault.
- Cyclist. Getting hit by a turning car or brushed by a passing vehicle are two common sorts of bicycle accidents. Typically, the motorist is at fault in these situations.
How to prove you were not at fault in a South Carolina car accident
Nobody can truly determine who was at fault without first gathering the facts. Without solid proof, the other driver's insurance company can downplay or deny your claim. Johnson + Johnson Attorneys at Law works to prove negligence by gathering critical evidence. If it will help prove your case, we will:
- Deal directly with insurance companies on your behalf. (This improves your negotiating leverage and reduces the risk an adjuster will trick you into saying something that ruins your claim.)
- Conduct our own independent investigation of your crash.
- Work with crash reconstruction experts.
- Analyze your car accident report and other law enforcement documents for discrepancies and errors in your favor.
- Gather video footage from nearby surveillance cameras, traffic cameras, dashcams, bodycams, and/or witnesses.
- Interview witnesses and get their side of the story.
- Apply for the at-fault driver’s cellphone records.
Our Lexington car accident lawyers aggressively negotiate for maximum compensation. If the insurance company won’t make you a substantial offer, we can prepare to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Why do crash victims get blamed for accidents that are not their fault?
South Carolina is an at-fault state, which means the person at fault in an accident is liable to pay the expenses of injured victims. That’s why it can be difficult to convince a negligent driver to take responsibility for their bad behavior.
To get out of trouble, some reckless drivers try to blame the victim. They can get away with it, too, if you’re not careful. Insurance companies will use any excuse to reject or deny injury claims. If their client, the at-fault driver, refuses to take responsibility, adjusters are typically more than happy to back them up in this nonsense.
Even if the insurance company can’t figure out how to blame you for the entire crash, they can use South Carolina’s comparative negligence rule to reduce your settlement. Comparative negligence means that accident fault is divided among all those involved in a crash. Your compensation is then reduced by your percentage contribution to the accident. That is to say, if a victim’s actions caused 10 percent of a crash, their settlement or financial award will be reduced by 10 percent.
The insurance companies know this and, to protect their profits, will push as much blame on you as they can get away with. Johnson + Johnson will stand up to the insurance company for you. Remember: Insurance companies have lawyers – a lot of them. When it’s time to fight for the compensation you deserve, you don’t want to be the only one at the table without an attorney. Johnson + Johnson can be by your side, guiding you every step of the way. While you focus on healing, we will keep your claim moving forward.
Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?
In an ideal world, the insurance provider for the negligent motorist would reimburse you for every cent you are due. Unfortunately, that is not how it operates. Insurance companies earn billions of profits every year by shortchanging seriously injured accident victims and their families.
You have one shot at getting the maximum compensation for your car accident injuries. We can make it count. Johnson + Johnson has a winning track record in courts across the state, including Lexington, Richland, Greenville, and Charleston counties.
You should know: There is no upfront or out-of-pocket expense for the services of an experienced Johnson + Johnson car accident attorney. We represent injured victims for a contingency fee. Our payment is a set percentage of the final compensation package. You only pay us if we win.
Don’t delay. A statute of limitations to car accident claims and wrongful death action in South Carolina. A member of our team is available to hear from you, day or night. Contact Johnson + Johnson, Attorneys at Law to schedule your free case evaluation right now.