Rear-end accidents are an all-too-common occurrence on Charleston highways. Though they can be less forceful than a head-on or T-bone accident, they can still cause serious injury to drivers or their passengers. If another driver hurt you in a rear-end accident, you should not have to worry about medical expenses or lost wages. You deserve a skilled attorney on your team who can fight for the compensation you deserve.
Since 2015, the Charleston car accident attorneys at Crantford Meehan have supported Charleston-area drivers when rear-end accidents change their lives. Our goal is to provide professional service, comprehensive legal knowledge, and compassion to everyone we represent. While you focus on healing, we’ll pursue the compensation you deserve. Don’t wait to contact us at (843) 376-4030 for your free, no-obligation consultation.
Common Causes of Rear-End Crashes
A rear-end car crash is one where the front of one car collides with the rear of another. Some ways that a driver could cause a rear-end accident include:
- Careless driving/violating laws – A driver could cause a rear-end crash if they speed or follow the car in front of them too closely.
- Distracted driving – Using a cell phone, eating, drinking, or even changing a radio station all take a driver’s attention away from the road. If a vehicle in front of them is moving slowly or stopped altogether, they may not notice and cause a rear-end crash.
- Driving under the influence – Alcohol, drugs, and other substances will hinder someone’s reaction time and judgment on the road.
- Defective vehicle – If a driver doesn’t properly maintain their car, they risk causing an accident even if they are always focused on the road. Brake or tire failures could lead to rear-end crashes since they affect a driver’s control and stopping distance.
- Road and weather conditions – The risk of a rear-end accident increases on improperly-maintained roads. In foggy or wet conditions, a negligent driver may not take extra precautions, such as increasing their following distance.
Sometimes, liability for a rear-end accident extends beyond a driver. Attorneys must investigate each case with an open mind and consider whether other parties were liable, such as:
- An employer – If the driver who caused the accident was on duty at work and using a company vehicle, their employer might have some liability for the accident.
- A car company – If a manufacturer’s defect led to a car accident, or if a car company designed an unsafe part that had a role in the accident, they might have some liability for what happened.
What Must I Prove in a Rear-end Accident Lawsuit?
To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit after a rear-end accident, you must prove four basic facts of the case, called “elements.” They are:
- Duty of care present – All drivers in Charleston have a duty of care to protect other drivers from harm. They must follow traffic laws, stay vigilant, and avoid lapses in judgment that contribute to car accidents.
- Duty of care disregarded – The driver who rear-ended you did not act according to their duty of care.
- You have injuries or losses – You sustained injuries and losses as a direct result of the crash.
- The negligent driver caused your losses – Your injuries and losses were a direct result of the driver’s careless behavior.
Your lawyer will use multiple forms of evidence to prove each element. They include, but are not limited to:
- Photographs, security camera video, or dashcam footage of the accident
- Eyewitness testimony from people who saw the accident
- Testimony from accident reconstruction professionals
- Documentation from your medical team detailing your injuries and their treatment
- Documentation from your therapist attesting to your emotional distress
- Paystubs or other documents to show lost wages
Very few personal injury cases ever go to trial. The more supporting evidence your lawyer has before they file a lawsuit, the more leverage they’ll have to negotiate a settlement for you. However, not every settlement negotiation is successful. If your legal team must file a lawsuit, they’ll have access to additional evidence-gathering tools in the discovery phase.
What Could I Recover in a Rear-end Accident Lawsuit?
Before filing a lawsuit, your lawyer will assess the total cost of your injuries and losses. There are two categories of losses that you can claim in a lawsuit:
- Economic losses – Economic losses are the “hard-number” costs of your lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation services, and property repairs. Your lawyer will calculate these costs with subject matter experts based on medical documentation, pay stubs, or statements you’ve already received.
- Non-economic losses – These intangible losses are not tied to any fixed dollar amount and include emotional distress, physical pain, disability, lost quality of life, and loss of consortium. While some states limit how much compensation for non-economic losses a plaintiff can receive, for car accident lawsuits, South Carolina does not.
In some cases, a judge or jury might award a plaintiff “punitive damages” on top of actual economic or non-economic compensation. Punitive damages are designed to deter other drivers from the negligent behavior that caused your injuries. South Carolina usually limits punitive damages to either $500,000 or thrice the value of your actual damages, whichever is greater.
Contact Crantford Meehan Today
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end car accident, you can count on the Crantford Meehan team to evaluate your case and guide you through your legal options. Attorneys William C. Crantford, Jerry A. Meehan, Jr., and J. Kirkland Grant have the tools, resources, experience, and skills to fight both liable parties and their insurance companies for the compensation you deserve. We’ve secured several multi-million dollar verdicts. We have certifications from Garry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College and continue to earn high ratings and referrals from our peers. Our consultations are free, and you’ll only pay us if we obtain compensation for you. Contact our Charleston office at (843) 376-4030 today.
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