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How Does Contributory Negligence Work in SC?

Your behavior can impact the compensation you receive for injuries you have sustained, even if someone else is at fault. In South Carolina, contributory negligence laws might limit, but not completely prevent, recovering damages in a lawsuit.

In cases where an accident involves multiple parties, each party might be held responsible to some degree. This is where the concept of modified comparative negligence comes into play. In South Carolina, it is essential to understand how comparative negligence laws work, as they can play a crucial role in determining the strength of your case and the compensation you might be entitled to. Even if you played a role in causing the accident that led to your injuries, you still have the right to seek compensation from the parties responsible.

Call our South Carolina car accident lawyers at Burriss & Ridgeway at (803) 855-1040 for your free case evaluation today.

What is the Rule for Contributory Negligence in South Carolina?

When it comes to personal injury cases in South Carolina, the state adheres to the comparative negligence doctrine. This means that if the plaintiff is deemed to be partially at fault for their own injury, their total compensation award can be reduced accordingly.

For example, suppose a plaintiff’s car was hit by another vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road, but it was later discovered that the plaintiff was also speeding at the time of the collision. In that case, the plaintiff’s compensation award might be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to them. In this scenario, if the plaintiff was found to be 10% at fault and the other driver was 90% at fault, the plaintiff’s compensation award would be reduced by 10%. If, for instance, the plaintiff was awarded $100,000, they would only receive $90,000.

Not all states follow the same rules for comparative negligence. Some states, for example, use the “pure comparative negligence” rule, which allows plaintiffs to recover damages even if they were 99% at fault. However, South Carolina uses the “modified comparative negligence” rule, which has a 51% bar. This means that if the plaintiff is found to be 51% or more at fault for their injury, they will no longer be able to receive any compensation. In comparison, if the plaintiff is found to be 50% or less at fault, they can still receive compensation, although it will be reduced proportionately based on their percentage of fault.

How Do You Recover Compensation After a Car Accident in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, if you get into a car accident, the person at fault will be held accountable for your economic damages like medical bills and lost wages. Fortunately, our Florence, SC car accident attorneys can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Generally, you will need to use your own insurance to cover your injuries. However, if the insurance payout is not enough to cover your injuries, you can take legal action to recover the remaining damages.

After an accident, many victims struggle to obtain the full compensation they are entitled to. Filing a lawsuit is often the most effective way to achieve this goal, as it allows for recovery beyond just the economic damages. In addition to covering medical bills and lost wages, a lawsuit can also seek non-economic damages, such as physical pain, emotional distress, and other damages that are not easily quantifiable. Unlike an insurance claim, a lawsuit provides the opportunity to seek compensation for the full scope of the victim’s losses and suffering.

How Can You Limit Your Contributory Negligence in South Carolina?

In the event of an accident, it is important to take precautions to minimize your liability. Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to establish a clear link between the accident and your injuries. This can help prevent any disputes that might arise regarding the cause of your injuries. By doing so, you can protect yourself from being held liable for an accident that was not your fault.

In order to ensure a thorough investigation of the accident, it is essential to gather as much evidence as possible from the scene. This includes obtaining statements from witnesses, taking photos and videos, and documenting all available details. Collecting this information makes it possible to determine exactly what happened during the incident and identify who might be at fault.

If you have suffered a personal injury, hiring an attorney with ample experience in similar cases is essential. A skilled South Carolina personal injury attorney can assist you in gathering evidence, building a strong case, and advocating on your behalf. With their expertise, they can also help to reduce your percentage of fault and negotiate the best possible settlement for your case. Do not hesitate to seek the assistance of our team to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

How Do You Prove Negligence in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, negligence comprises four essential elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. These four elements form the basis of any negligence claim, and the plaintiff must establish each of them through a preponderance of evidence to succeed in their case.


In order to prove negligence, it is necessary to establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care. This legal obligation arises when there is a reasonable predictability that either an action or failure to act would result in some form of foreseeable harm that is recognizable.

Breach of Duty

When someone fails to fulfill their legal obligation, it is considered a breach of duty. This can occur through either an act or a failure to act, which results in harm and is a departure from what would be considered reasonable care. The level of care that a responsible person would demonstrate depends on the particular circumstances involved.


In legal terms, a mere negligent act does not automatically qualify as legal negligence unless it results in some form of damages. In order to prove legal negligence, the plaintiff must demonstrate a direct causal link between the negligent conduct and the resulting injury. In other words, it is not enough to simply show that a mistake was made but rather that the mistake directly caused harm to the plaintiff.


When someone is harmed or has suffered losses due to the actions of another person or entity, they might be entitled to receive damages as compensation. Damages are intended to help make the victim whole again by providing monetary compensation for their losses. However, damages are only awarded if the person or entity responsible for the harm is found to be liable. In most cases, courts consider what is fair and reasonable for the victim’s losses when determining the amount of damages to be awarded, including taking into account the plaintiff’s contributory negligence.

Our South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help

For a free case review, contact our Hartsville, SC car accident attorneys at Burriss & Ridgeway at (803) 855-1040.