Fault in a rear-end collision is often attributed to the approaching driver who struck the other vehicle from behind. However, the lead driver or any other vehicle could be held liable for damages arising from a rear collision accident. Rear-end collisions are not always cut and dry. Many factors might contribute to the accident.
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end accident, you might be eligible for compensation for your damages and injuries.
Determining Fault in a Rear-End Collision
The driver that rear-ends the leading vehicle will almost always be at least partially at fault. Every driver must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. A safe distance is determined by a host of factors, such as vehicle speed and road conditions.
All drivers sharing the roadway have a duty to drive in a safe manner. That means that the driver of the rear-ended vehicle can also be at fault in various circumstances. Some of these circumstances that can put the driver at fault include:
- When the lead driver suddenly goes in reverse
- When the lead driver brake checks
- When the lead driver fails to pull over or operates their vehicle without hazard lights, despite having obvious problems, such as a flat tire
Negligence Is a Major Cause of Car Accidents
Negligence means conduct or behavior that falls below the reasonable standard of care. When someone is negligent, they fail to act in a reasonable way, and as a result, someone else is hurt. If you are hurt in a rear-end accident and want to recover damages, you will need to prove that the other driver was negligent.
To do so, you must first show that they owed you a duty of care to drive safely. Establishing this element is simple, as all drivers owe a duty to all other drivers not to do anything that might cause an accident. Secondly, you will need to prove that the other driver failed to uphold their duty of care. Drivers in rear-end collisions can breach their duty of care in various ways, including failure to:
- Watch out for potential hazards when behind the wheel
- Keep a safe distance
- Brake reasonably to avoid collision
- Maintain a reasonable speed based on the road limits, the road conditions, and the weather conditions
- Yield the right of way
- Use turns signals
- Maintain control of the vehicle at all times
Then, you must demonstrate that the driver’s breach of duty caused the rear-end collision. As a result of this crash, you must establish that you suffered injuries and other damages.
Comparative Negligence in a Rear-End Collision
More than one driver can be at fault for a car crash in some cases. In such cases, the outcome will vary depending on the state in which the accident happened. Some states, including South Carolina and Georgia, follow the doctrine of comparative negligence.
Under these laws, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 and S.C. Code § 15-38-15, the liability is split according to the percentage of the driver’s fault. Suppose you are 30% to blame for the accident; you will only collect 70% of the damages. However, the other party must hold at 51% of the fault for you to seek compensation.
Forms of Compensation You Can Seek in a Rear-End Collision Claim or Lawsuit
After a rear-end collision, you may have suffered financially and non-financially. Luckily, you can pursue a recovery for these losses, which may include:
- Lost wages
- Future loss of earning potential
- Past and anticipated medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage costs
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death damages
A lawyer can review your case to determine which damages you qualify to seek.
Protect Your Right to Damages After a Rear-End Collision
In the event of an accident, the insurance company will try to negotiate with you for a settlement. In many cases, this number is a lower amount than what you are entitled to recover. In others, they may deny your claim altogether. Despite that, there are things you can do to protect yourself from falling victim to the insurance company’s tactics. Such things include:
- Avoiding negotiating with them and directing them to your lawyer instead
- Getting medical attention
- Reporting the accident to the police
- Collecting as much information as possible, including pictures and videos of the scene, contact details of the witnesses, and that of drivers
Turn to George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
If you are hurt in a rear-end accident, you could be eligible for compensation. Reach out to George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, for a free consultation and see how our car accident lawyers could help.