Learn how to prove negligence and get maximum compensation after a brake-check accident in South Carolina
Aggressive driving is never the solution to frustrating traffic conditions. Unfortunately, drivers who experience road rage may resort to erratic maneuvers like weaving in and out of lanes or brake checking.
Brake checking occurs when drivers intentionally and abruptly apply their brakes in an attempt to scare the driver behind them.
In South Carolina, brake checking isn’t only malicious—it’s illegal because it can lead to serious accidents.
If you’ve been involved in a brake-check accident, you should contact a South Carolina car accident attorney to protect your rights and learn about potential compensation.
Reasons why drivers brake check
Some drivers brake check in response to being followed too closely by another driver (an action known as tailgating). In these situations, the driver in front may only be seeking to mildly annoy the driver who is tailgating. The intent is typically to startle the tailgater into following from a less aggressive, safer distance.
In some cases, drivers use brake checking as a retaliatory move. For example, a driver with road rage may get in front of another driver who they believe is driving too slowly and quickly cut them off. Once in front of the other vehicle, the enraged driver may engage in brake checking to startle the other driver or to cause a collision.
Some fraudulent drivers may even intentionally cause accidents by engaging in brake checking in order to collect compensation for made-up injuries and supposed pain and suffering.
Did you know?
According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions are the most common type of automotive accident in the U.S., representing 29% of all crashes.
Legal penalties for brake checking
Traditionally, civil courts have held that the rear driver is liable for the resulting damages in a rear-end collision. This rule is based on the notion that drivers are always responsible for allowing sufficient stopping distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them.
In recent years, however, courts have begun to recognize exceptions to this traditional rule in rear-end collisions. Now, Columbia drivers who intentionally engage in brake checking may be required to compensate the other party in the event of a brake-check accident.
Additionally, drivers who cause rear-end accidents as part of a scheme to defraud an insurance company may face criminal charges in a South Carolina court. Depending on the nature of the scheme, the driver and any other involved parties may even be subjected to criminal charges in federal court.
Get legal representation to maximize your injury compensation for your rear-end collision case.
Compensation for brake-check accident victims
People who are injured in an accident caused by brake checking can pursue compensation through the insurance process or by filing a personal injury lawsuit in a South Carolina civil court.
A Columbia personal injury lawyer can advise accident victims regarding the best approach to receiving compensation for their accident injuries. Most often, the other driver’s insurance company will offer a settlement to the victim after determining whether the insured was at fault in the accident.
People who are injured in accidents often think they’re obligated to either accept the insurance settlement or receive nothing. On the contrary, a settlement offer is just an offer.
Because insurance companies are represented by highly-experienced corporate attorneys, accident victims should consult a personal injury lawyer who will negotiate the most favorable settlement terms for their case. If the parties are unable to reach an equitable settlement agreement, the attorney for the accident victim (plaintiff) may file a claim against the defendant in a South Carolina civil court.
Plaintiffs who prevail in a civil court claim may receive compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages while they’re unable to work and healing from their injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional damages
If an accident causes a victim’s death, the decedent’s surviving family members may be awarded funeral expenses and compensation for loss of support, loss of parental guidance, and loss of consortium.
The amount of compensation the injured party in a brake-check accident may receive depends on the nature and overall extent of the accident victim’s injuries.
Did you lose a loved one in a deadly car, truck or motorcycle accident? Learn who is entitled to wrongful death benefits in South Carolina and get help to recover your maximum financial compensation.
How to prove negligence in a South Carolina brake-check accident
In a South Carolina personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove that they were injured by the defendant’s behavior. Most car accident cases and other personal injury claims are based on the theory of negligence. There are 3 elements the plaintiff’s attorney must establish to prevail in a negligence-based civil claim:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached that duty
- The breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury
In a brake-check accident, drivers owe others on the road a duty to make a reasonable effort to operate their vehicles without causing bodily injury or damage to others and their property.
Brake checking is generally considered unreasonable and potentially reckless when done intentionally. Therefore, a driver breaches their duty to others by deliberately braking without regard for the possibility of causing an accident.
What is comparative fault?
South Carolina uses a modified comparative fault rule when determining damages. This rule allows a plaintiff to collect compensation after an accident as long as they’re not more than 50% responsible for the accident.
However, even if they’re less than 50% responsible, their final compensation award will be reduced by their percentage of fault. This means, for example, that if a plaintiff was determined to be 10% at fault for an accident because they were talking on their phone when the defendant caused an accident by brake checking, the plaintiff’s compensation would ultimately be reduced by 10%.
Personal injury lawyers typically introduce medical records, receipts, eyewitnesses, and expert witnesses as evidence to prove the defendant’s fault.
Contact a South Carolina personal injury attorney
South Carolina courts generally look unfavorably upon situations in which a driver engages in brake checking to intimidate or startle another driver. However, because these cases can be complicated, it’s always best to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can help you prove fault and recover maximum compensation.
At Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys will work to get you the maximum payout for your medical expenses and other damages. We’ve been successfully fighting big corporations and insurance companies for more than 30 years to help people get the compensation they deserve after an accident or injury. Let us help you get started with your claim today.
Call us today for a free case evaluation.