30% of All Car Crashes are Rear-End Accidents
A rear-end collision is any auto accident where one vehicle strikes the rear of another vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions account for approximately a third of all car crashes in an average year.
Rear-end accidents account for an even higher percentage of all injuries caused by traffic accidents. Neck injuries, such as whiplash, are particularly common in rear-end collisions. Even low-speed impacts can cause serious personal injuries, including rear-end accidents that cause little damage to the vehicles involved.
Rear-end collisions have numerous causes, including:
- Tailgating–According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), following too closely accounted for 7,926 wrecks in South Carolina during 2009. Of those, two were fatal and another 2,979 people were injured.
- Speeding –When a motorist is breaking the speed limit or traveling too fast for conditions, he or she may not be able to stop in time to avoid rear-ending stopped traffic.
- Distracted driving –With the increased use of cell phones and other electronic devices, distracted driving has become a huge hazard on South Carolina roadways. A distracted driver might not notice that traffic has slowed or stopped in time to avoid a rear-end collision.
- Fatigued driving –Rear-end collisions can also be caused by a driver who falls asleep behind the wheel and does not realize the need to stop.
- Impaired driving –A driver who is impaired as a result of alcohol, illegal drug use, or even prescription medications can cause a rear-end collision.
- Weather conditions –Rain, ice and snow can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles if they fail to slow down. Fog can also reduce visibility and lead to a rear-end collision. Even the glare from the morning or evening sun can cause a driver to fail to see a vehicle ahead.
Who Is Responsible for a Rear-End Collision?
As a general rule in South Carolina, the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is presumed to be at fault for the accident and is held responsible for damages. The reason for this is that the driver in back is usually in a better position to avoid a rear-end collision.
Although the driver at rear is presumed to be responsible, there are some situations where the driver can overcome that presumption.For example, if the driver in front was operating a vehicle without functional brake lights, the collision may not be entirely blamed on the driver at rear. Also, if the driver of the lead car slammed on the brakes for no reason or cut off the car at rear, this could also rebut the presumption of fault.
Compensation in a South Carolina Rear-End Accident
As the injured victim of a rear-end collision, you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages represent the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of the accident, including things such as the cost of repairs to your vehicle, your medical bills and lost earnings that were the result of your injuries. Non-economic damages refer to what most people call “pain and suffering” compensation.
The total amount of compensation a victim is entitled to will depend on numerous factors, such as:
- The degree to which a victim contributed to the accident
- The extent of the injuries
- The type of injuries
- The amount of lost wages
- The prognosis for injuries sustained in the accident.
The deadline for filing a claim is already running, so contact the experienced vehicle accident lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm today for a free evaluation of your case.