In America, a person dies every 50 minutes from a drunk driver, but DUI lawyers in South Carolina consistently help South Carolinians who have caused the aftereffects of drunk driving accidents.
In the United States, South Carolina ranks fifth for the highest number of drunk driving incidents—5.1 deaths and 925 arrests per 100,000 people each.
If you have caused injuries in a drunk driving accident, you may be wondering how you address a lawsuit. But before you face a lawsuit, here are factors to remember.
Injury Settlements Versus Trial
Criminal proceedings against drunk drivers differ from civil suits resulting in drunk driving injuries.
While the design of criminal proceedings stands to protect the public from future drunk driving harm, it is also for punishing the motorist for reckless driving, regardless if an accident or injury occurred.
A civil suit founded on drunk driving manifests in the form of an injury lawsuit filed by the victim(s) of a drunk driver to recover damages. The following costs include what a victim could try to recover if they suffered injuries caused by a drunk driver:
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Damaged property
- Other economic damages
South Carolina does not have a “no-fault” car insurance system, which means a victim’s car insurance company is not required to pay some or all of their medical bills or lost wages if they suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident, regardless of the “at-fault” driver.
Civil Suits in the Pure Negligence State of South Carolina
As South Carolina is a pure negligence state, a victim can sue a drunk driver for their sustained injuries. Just as in any other civil suit, in a personal injury drunk driving lawsuit, they must prove fault, which is something that a South Carolina DUI lawyer or DUI attorney can help them with.
Comparative Versus Contributory Negligence
After someone suffers from personal injuries in a drunk driving accident, the case hinges on the question about who was at fault for the injury-causing incident. Oftentimes, the answer is not as obvious as one might expect.
The legality surrounding the word “fault” is comprehensive but basically boils down to someone who was responsible for causing harm through carelessness rising to the level of negligence, and must pay compensation for all losses and sustained injuries from said harm. In the event that a personal injury lawsuit goes to trial, a civil jury can award the victim(s) a great deal of money.
But in the event, the incident resulted in the fault of multiple parties (i.e. a victim and a drunk driver), comparative versus contributory fault laws will come into play.
Contributory negligence states that the plaintiff cannot hold anyone else responsible for their own injuries if they themselves contributed to them. With a pure contributory negligence system, a victim cannot collect any compensation for their injuries, no matter how little they were at fault.
In contrast, a comparative negligence system, under a comparative negligence rule, the initial assessment involves the amount of fault that belongs to each responsible party for causing the accident or injury.
While both parties are negligent in a comparative negligence case, the judge or jury decides how much fault each party contributed.
Pure Comparative Fault Versus Modified Comparative Fault
As South Carolina is a comparative negligence state, it follows the modified comparative fault rule which states that an injured plaintiff can collect compensation from the other parties found responsible as long as the judge or jury finds the plaintiff less than 50% responsible for the injury-related accident or incident.
On the other hand, other states follow the pure comparative fault rule which has a generally determined cut-off point for how much fault an injured party can have and yet still collect from another at-fault party.
If you caused injuries in a drunk driving accident or are otherwise the cause of a drunk driving incident, the Greenville, South Carolina attorneys at The Bateman Firm can help. With successful results and satisfied clients, our attorneys will help you fight your case. Contact us today!