Collecting Damages After an Auto Accident

            If you are injured in an auto accident, you may collect damages if you are less than 50% at fault in the accident.

            As seen in the recent case of Roddey v. Wal-Mart Stores, the South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed that a person must be less than 50% negligent to file a claim against the other party involved. Alice Hancock died in an auto accident while driving the getaway car for her sister who was attempting to shoplift in Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s security guard Derrick Jones was asked to get her license plate number and in an effort to do so, Jones drove his security truck after Hancock.

            Although Wal-Mart’s security policy requires employees to “never pursue a suspect off the facility’s property,” and to “never use a moving vehicle to pursue a suspect,” Jones was directed to get Hancock’s information. When Hancock’s sister entered the car, Hancock put the car in reverse, backed up at a high speed, struck a median in the parking lot, turned around, and drove towards the exit of the parking lot. Once on the highway, Hancock drove through a stop sign and a stop light almost causing an accident. According to Jones, she then drove up a ramp almost hitting another car before she later drove off the road and died in a crash.

            Hancock’s personal representative, Roddey, believed her death was caused by Wal-Mart’s negligence when the security guard followed Hancock to retrieve her license plate information. The Supreme Court disagreed and said that although Wal-Mart was negligent in following its security policy which hopes to prevent injury or death, Hancock was aware she was driving a getaway car, engaged in reckless driving, and was more than 50% at fault for her accident and death. Any reasonable jury would find that it was much more Hancock’s fault than it was of the defendant.

            Every case is different and the damages available depend on the circumstances of each case.  If you have been injured in Horry or Georgetown County and are interested in a Personal Injury Attorney, please call Myrtle Beach and Conway attorney Dirk Derrick, of the Derrick Law Firm, at 843-248-7486 for a free consultation.

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