Is South Carolina a No Fault State?

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South Carolina is one of 39 at-fault states in North America. Simply put, the at-fault driver’s car insurance company takes financial responsibility. In the event of an accident, it pays the other party up to the at-fault driver’s liability policy limit.

Dealing with insurance companies and all of the technical aspects of a car accident can be tricky. If you were involved in a car accident, our experienced Aiken car accident attorney at The Law Office of Taylor S. Braithwaite can help you understand your rights and guide you through every step of the process.

South Carolina Car Insurance Requirements

If you own a vehicle in South Carolina, you must have minimum insurance requirements to drive it. Even if you want to renew your driver’s license, you must either show proof of insurance or prove you do not have a vehicle. South Carolina’s minimum insurance requirements are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

Liability coverage covers the cost of medical bills, property damage bills, etc., if you cause an accident but does not apply to your own injury or vehicle damage.

How Fault is Determined in Car Accidents

Insurance companies decide who’s at fault for a car accident. They do this by taking statements from all drivers involved in the accident, looking at photos, reading police reports, and taking witness statements.

Taking statements from drivers

The insurance companies will speak to all drivers involved in the accident and take their statements. The statements can help determine which driver was at fault. If it is unclear which driver was at fault, they will move on to the next steps of the process.

Photos from the accident

Photos from the accident are integral to determining who is responsible for an accident. If you are involved in a car accident, take pictures of your car, the other party’s car, and any other pictures that may seem pertinent, like stop signs, traffic lights, or any other signs that could signal what went wrong.

Police reports

Another essential part of determining who is at fault is a police report. If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to call 911 and report the accident. Tell the cop who answers exactly what happened in as much detail as possible. Do this again if a cop shows up in person. Insurance companies will review the police report, which can help them determine who is at fault for the accident.

Witness Statements

Another integral part of determining fault is having the claims adjuster assigned to your case talk to any witnesses to the accident. Do your best to look around and see if there were any witnesses. If there were, try to get their names and contact information. Also, look around for any security cameras that may have caught the accident and note what businesses or houses they were at.

What to Do After a Car Accident in South Carolina

The main thing you need to avoid after an accident is panicking. Never leave the scene of an accident. Instead, stop your vehicle without obstructing traffic. Take note of traffic and any other potential dangers in the vicinity.

Check yourself for injuries. If no injuries are found, check on the other driver, any passengers, and any pedestrians who may have been involved and call 911. If no one is injured or injuries are minimal, exchange information with the other driver, ensuring you also get their information.

Information that should be included are names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and car insurance information for all drivers involved.

After an accident, you may have to notify the South Carolina DMV of the accident. You must fill out and submit a Traffic Collision Report within 15 days of an accident if the police did not investigate the accident. If you fail to do this, your license could be suspended.

Pros and Cons of At-Fault Insurance

There are advantages and disadvantages to consider in at-fault insurance states like South Carolina.

Pros of at-fault insurance

There is potential to be fully compensated for all damages, pain, and suffering. At-fault insurance also prevents unsafe driving due to the financial responsibility of causing an accident.

Insurance premiums can be lower in at-fault states.

Cons of at-fault insurance

One of the main disadvantages of at-fault insurance is the legal complexity of determining who is at fault for the accident, which can delay compensation. There is also the risk of your insurance premium rising significantly if they find you at fault for an accident. Another disadvantage is that litigation costs are expensive, and if they find that you are not at fault, your compensation can still be significantly reduced.

What Happens if Both Drivers Are Found at Fault

South Carolina follows modified comparative negligence, which considers the amount of fault between both parties. You will not be compensated for damages and injuries if you are found more than 50% at fault in a car accident. In other words, if you are responsible for a car accident, you cannot file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.

What Happens if They Cannot Determine Fault

If the car insurance companies cannot determine who is responsible, the drivers can choose arbitration. In arbitration, the arbitrator (a neutral party) determines who is at fault. There is another option besides arbitration, which is suing the other party in small claims court. A judge and jury will determine who is at fault, then the judge will determine compensation.

Is South Carolina a No-Fault State?

No. South Carolina is not a no-fault state. Car insurance companies generally decide who is at fault for an accident. Determining who is at fault in a car accident is important so the other driver can be compensated appropriately for any damages or injuries.

If you have any questions or were in an accident in South Carolina and need help, contact our team at TSB Injury Law today. We can help guide you through this trying time.


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