A rear-end collision occurs when one motor vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle. A common misconception about rear-end collisions is that the fault of the wreck lies with the driver that hit the car in front of them. This is not always the case. When a rear-end collision occurs, it is imperative to gather as much physical evidence and witness testimony as possible, in order to determine who is liable for damages.
Rear-end collisions can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries. The experienced legal team at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. are dedicated to helping our clients claim the maximum amount of compensation that may be available to them.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
There are many causes of rear-end collisions, but most of these accidents occur because drivers are following the car in front of them too closely. The general rule of thumb for safe driving distance is to maintain a car length’s distance between you and the car in front of you for each 10 miles per hour you are traveling. For a car traveling at 60 miles per hour, the safe distance is to be six car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you.
Failure to follow this rule of thumb can result in a rear-end collision that can injure or kill not only the driver and passengers of the two cars involved in the car accident, but also those in vehicles traveling on either side, in front, or behind those vehicles.
Other rear-end collision hazards:
- In poor weather conditions, drivers should maintain an even greater distance to the car in front of them. Icy or wet roadways can cause vehicles to slide and lose traction, making it impossible to avoid a collision with the car in front. The more room you have to stop your vehicle, the less chance you have of rear-ending the car in front of you.
- Driver distraction is another common cause of rear-end collisions. Cell phone usage, texting while driving, drowsy driving, and even eating while driving can take your attention off the road in front of you. A mere three second distraction is enough time to cause a collision with the car in front of you.
- Debris or animals in the roadway, traffic signals, and pedestrian crossings can cause the lead car to stop suddenly. When the driver behind is distracted, rear-end collisions can occur.
Another type of rear-end collision occurs because of a chain reaction, when one car hits another stopped at a signal. Depending upon the speed of the vehicle that initiated the accident, the force and momentum of that speed can result in several vehicles being pushed into the rear of the car in front of them.
Liability in Rear-End Collisions
In the majority of rear-end collisions, the driver of the vehicle that crashes into the lead vehicle is found to be at fault for the accident. However, the driver of the lead vehicle can also be found at least partially at fault for the accident if they were negligent. Examples of this type of negligence include drivers that fail to use turn signals, those driving unsafe or damaged vehicles without hazard lights employed, cars with non-working brake lights, and drivers that put their cars in reverse and crash into the car behind them.
When more than one driver is found to be at fault for a rear-end collision, states use a system of comparative negligence and contributory negligence to determine liability coverage. The law of contributory negligence prevents a driver found to be responsible in any way for the rear-end collision from claiming any monetary compensation from the other driver. Under contributory negligence, compensation for damages is split among the drivers according to their degree of fault.
There are two levels of comparative negligence for rear-end collisions:
- Pure comparative negligence allocates funds according to the percentage of fault each driver has in causing the accident. In other words, if one driver is 50 percent at fault for the accident, they can only claim 50 percent of the amount of liability coverage available from the other driver.
- Modified comparative negligence prohibits drivers that are more than 50 percent responsible for an accident to recover any money from the other driver.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims of Rear-End Collisions Claim Compensation
If you have been injured in a car accident, the experienced team of Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you claim the compensation you deserve. Call us at 803-929-3600 or contact us online.
With six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys proudly represent injured victims and their families throughout the state, including Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.