What is Negligence Per Se in a South Carolina Car Accident
Negligence per se is defined as an act that is negligent because it violates a law that has been designed to protect the public. Some examples of laws that apply to car accident cases that might bring rise to a negligence per se cause of action are: speeding, blood alcohol content limits for drivers, running a traffic light or stop sign, or following too closely. Negligence per se is different than the regular negligence claim in that the “duty” and “breach” elements are virtually eliminated. In other words, one does not need to demonstrate how the at-fault driver’s conduct was careless if you are relying on negligence per se.
In a car accident case, that means you do not need to show how the other driver fell short of the appropriate duty of care. Either the law was violated or it was not. If the law was violated, the discussion moves to whether the violation was the proximate cause of damages.
Proving Negligence Per Se
Proving a negligence per se claim in a personal injury case usually means the plaintiff needs to establish the following:
1. That the at-fault driver violated a law (speeding, DUI, etc)
2. That the intent of the law that was violated was to prevent the injury that ended up occurring as a result of the accident, and
3. That the injured person is counted in the class of people the law was intended to protect.
What are the damages for negligence per se?
An at-fault driver can be held liable for actual damages (medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, etc) and, possibly, punitive damages. If the violation of a South Carolina statute constitutes negligence per se, the negligence per se is some evidence of recklessness and willfulness that requires submission of the issue of punitive damages to the jury. This means you may be entitled to more money to punish the at-fault driver.
If you would like to speak with a lawyer regarding your car accident case, please call Venus Poe at 864-963-0310.
The information you obtain in this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should not read this article to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction in which you may have a case.