Court Rules That Rear-End Car Crashes Are Not Always the Result of Negligence
Remember when you first started driving-didn't everyone tell you to be careful because if you rear-ended another car, the car accident is inevitably your fault?
Well, you can add that warning to the list of old wives' tales because it's not an absolute statement.
The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled last week that drivers who crash into the back of other cars aren't automatically considered negligent in their actions, according to The Rapid City Journal.
However, it's still true that if a driver admits to following a car too closely-which is against the law-a judge can find the driver negligent, according to the Supreme Court's ruling.
The court further ruled that juries should be charged with deciding whether drivers acted reasonably and prudently. Through this decision, the court upheld a jury verdict that cleared a driver of negligence in a case where the driver rear-ended another car.
In that case, the driver ran into the back of a stopped car but she didn't admit to following too closely.
What Does This Ruling Mean For Car Accident Victims?
This recent ruling by the South Dakota Supreme Court only affects personal injury law in South Dakota, but other courts could follow suit.
For those affected by this decision, you should know that the court didn't flatly rule out negligence on a driver who hits another car from behind. Instead, it said that the court couldn't automatically determine fault solely because a person was hit from behind. An exception is whether the person admitted to tailgating (following another car too closely).
The court mostly left the issue of negligence to a jury to decide, saying it's the jury's job to determine negligence by listening to the arguments from the personal injury attorney and defense lawyer. The ruling also said it's the jury's duty to consider what a reasonable person would do in each circumstance.
Every car accident case is unique. The South Dakota Supreme Court recognized that concept and subsequently made the ruling that mostly left the negligence decision up to the jury.
If you've been injured in a car accident, you should know that you have rights to fair compensation for injuries.
As you can see from this article, the laws vary from state to state. It's important to have a personal injury lawyer on your side to defend your right to compensation.
Have you been injured? Contact a local personal injury lawyer by filing out our free personal injury case evaluation form or by calling 877-288-7564.