Since 1991, the case Nelson vs. Concrete Supply Co. 303 S.C. 243, 399 S.E.2d 783 (1991), South Carolina has recognized a modified comparative negligence rule in civil claims. Under the modified comparative negligence rule, an individual will face liability for his or her percentage of liability in an accident claim. The rule ultimately determines the amount of damages a plaintiff may recover for losses.
Understanding Modified Comparative Negligence in South Carolina
In South Carolina, a plaintiff less than 50% at fault for an accident may file a claim against a wrongdoer and receive compensation. However, the jury may reduce the total damages awarded based on the plaintiff’s own percentage of negligence (fault). For instance, let’s say one driver was driving 10 miles over the posted speed limit. Another car going the speed limit fails to maintain the lane due to distracted driving and causes a head on collision with the speeder.
The jury determines the distracted driver caused the accident, but the speeding driver negligence may have exacerbated the resulting injuries. As a result, the jury assigns the speeding driver with 10% fault and the distracted driver with 90%. The jury will then reduce the total damages awarded by 10% to account for the plaintiff’s negligence.
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