Early this morning in the wee hours between about 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., a tractor-trailer was involved in an accident with two other vehicles, causing personal injuries for the persons in the sedant hat was hit.
According to the DOT, the tractor-trailer had been driving down Interstate 81 and made his way onto 77 and then to 321, when the accident occured. The roads were slick and as the tractor-trailer rounded the corner, he over-corrected his vehicle, ramming it into two other cars. The tractor-trailer then flipped on its side, when it stayed for what seemed like hours with the driver pinned inside. The other two drivers were pushed off to the median.
Only one of those drivers suffered serious personal injuries, and had to be rushed to the hospital via helicopter for immediate assistance.
The rule in South Carolina is that the plaintiff’s negligence must not exceed that of the defendants. So, in a case where a jury determines that the plaintiff and the defendant split fault exactly 50-50, the plaintiff will receive 50% of damages. If the plaintiff is the least bit more at fault than the defendant, the plaintiff is barred from recovery. This rule is called the 51% bar. In a multi-party lawsuit, the plaintiff’s negligence must not exceed the combined negligence of the defendants. So, even if there is no defendant individually responsible for the 51% negligence, the plaintiff’s claim is not barred.
This is a much easier bar than North Carolina. North Carolina adheres to the Contributory Negligence standard which states that if the plaintiff is found to be 0.00001% at fault, his claim is barred. Here, a North Carolina case may prevail on the fact that the driver was “reckless, willful, and wanton.”
If you have been injured in an accident in North or South Carolina, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP for a confidential consultation toll-free at 877-347-5999.