Rear-End Collisions: Who is at Fault?

Rear-End Collisions in Charleston

In South Carolina, as in most jurisdictions, the rear vehicle is typically presumed to be at fault in a rear-end collision. This presumption stems from the fundamental rule of the road that dictates maintaining a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one ahead. Such a distance should be sufficient to allow for an unexpected stop, such as when the leading vehicle brakes suddenly. If you have been hit from behind, the other driver is usually deemed liable.

However, there are instances where this rule may not apply. These exceptions, albeit rare, necessitate proving negligence on the part of the driver in front. Should you find yourself in a situation where you’ve hit another vehicle from behind but believe you are not culpable, the expertise of a seasoned car accident attorney becomes indispensable in advocating for your case.

The concept of negligence is central to nearly all personal injury cases, including automobile accidents. Negligence arises when parties involved in an accident conduct themselves contrary to what a reasonable person would do under similar circumstances – the so-called “reasonable person standard.” To establish negligence, three elements must be proven:

  • The other driver behaved irresponsibly, thereby breaching their standard duty of care. Each motorist must operate their vehicle safely and responsibly in order not to pose a risk to others on the road.
  • The other driver’s irresponsible actions or decisions precipitated the accident.
  • Your injuries resulted directly from the accident.

Establishing the liability of the driver in front in a rear-end collision can be complex. It requires demonstrating that they either intentionally caused the accident or conducted themselves in such a way that made it impossible for you to avoid colliding with them.

South Carolina adopts a “shared fault” model in determining liability in an accident. Under this model, if you share any fault in the accident, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. If your fault exceeds 50 percent, you will be ineligible to recover damages in a personal injury claim in South Carolina.

Given the complexities inherent in these cases and the potential for shared fault, it is crucial to enlist the services of a skilled attorney to ensure you receive just compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other incurred damages.