Who Is at Fault for a Rear-End Accident in South Carolina?

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Car accidents often leave people with serious injuries. Rear-end accidents commonly involve injuries like whiplash. Even more serious injuries occur if you are hit at high speeds or pushed into a dangerous intersection. Knowing whom you can sue after the accident is important when it comes to getting damages for your medical bills and other needs.

In most rear-end accidents, the driver in the back is responsible. In cases involving multiple cars, fault could be divided among other drivers as well. However, the driver in front could share fault in a rear-end crash if they were backing up or if they slammed on the brakes without warning.

For help with a rear-end car accident case, call the Columbia, SC auto accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today. Contact us at (803) 451-4000 for a free case review.

Determining Fault in a Rear-End Collision in South Carolina

When determining who is at fault for a car crash, courts and insurance companies look at the totality of the circumstances. Rear-end accidents are usually pretty clearly the fault of the person in the back. However, when all factors are considered, these cases can be more complicated than that. Our South Carolina rear-end car accident lawyers can help determine who’s at fault in your specific case, but the following are some good guidelines to help you figure out fault.

As mentioned, the driver in the back is usually at fault. The law in South Carolina – and most states – makes it illegal to tailgate another driver. If the driver in front has to make a quick stop, the rear driver needs to leave enough space so they can stop without hitting the car in front of them. Following too closely reduces how much stopping distance they have and makes it more likely that they’ll crash into the car in front of them.

In cases where the front driver was stopped at a light or a stop sign, the rear driver is almost definitely at fault. When approaching a stopped car, you should never be going so fast that you end up crashing into them before you can stop. The rear driver would be at fault if they were speeding or if they weren’t paying attention to the road and crashed into a stationary car.

Determining Liability in Special Types of Rear-End Crashes in South Carolina

In some of these rear-end cases, the front driver could share some blame – but it comes down to the specific circumstances that might make them partly at fault. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers can help you determine who’s to blame in crashes like these.

Brake Checks

If the front driver tried to “brake-check” the rear driver by slamming on their brakes without needing to, they would be doing something dangerous. Even if the rear driver was tailgating them, two wrongs don’t make a right, and this could even be considered 50/50 fault.

Backing Up

If the front driver was backing up when the other driver hit them from behind, fault could be shared. This is more common in parking lots and neighborhoods than on busy city streets or highways. Even so, a driver who backs up into another car could be at fault instead of the driver behind them. If the rear driver was still moving forward even though the car in front of them was backing up towards them, both drivers could share the blame for the crash.

Multi-Car Pileups

When multiple cars crash into each other, it’s possible that each driver could share fault – or that the rearmost driver is the one at fault. When cars are stopped at a light and another car comes along and crashes into the line of cars, the cars might be pushed into each other and cause a series of crashes. In this kind of case, the driver in the rear is likely the only one at fault since the other cars weren’t even moving.
On highways when multiple cars crash because they were all driving too close together to stop in a hurry, it’s possible that each driver in the crash could share fault. There, the frontmost driver might be the only driver not to share fault (if they did everything else right). Talk to a South Carolina personal injury attorney or South Carolina Uber and Lyft accident attorney immediately if you were involved in a multi-car pileup accident.

Speeding/Dangerous Driving

If the driver in front was speeding or otherwise driving dangerously, they might have created a dangerous situation for themselves. If they need to stop in a hurry to avoid dangers – like an animal on the road or a pedestrian crossing the street – they might slam on the brakes. Like in a “brake-check” scenario, this could cause the car behind them to hit them. The car in the back might have been following too closely, but if the front car created the situation that caused them to have to stop quickly, they could share fault in causing that crash. If they were able to stop slowly from a reasonable speed, the car behind them would have had more time to slow to a stop, and a crash might have been avoided.

Suing for Rear-End Car Accidents in South Carolina

When you are hurt in a car crash, you could be entitled to medical bills, lost wages, and other damages related to your crash, such as pain and suffering. To get these damages, you can file a car insurance claim against the driver who hit you. However, auto insurance policies might not pay enough for your injuries, and car insurance companies might refuse to admit their driver was at fault. Instead of filing an insurance claim, you may be able to file a lawsuit in court. A South Carolina rear-end accident lawyer can help you determine your best course of action and fight for compensation for you through either process.

Call Our South Carolina Rear-End Car Accident Attorneys Today

If you were hurt in a rear-end collision, call (803) 451-4000 for a free case review with our Columbia personal injury lawyers. At Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, we fight for injured car accident victims.

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