Car accidents happen every single day, everywhere. Rear-end collisions are among the most common. In most cases, it’s assumed that the driver of the rear car is the one at fault. However, fault is not always automatic in rear-end accidents. Certain factors may come into play that determine otherwise.
Why the Rear Vehicle Is Usually at Fault
Usually, in a rear accident claim, the driver in the rear vehicle is proven to be at fault and liable for the damages. People are taught early on when they start learning how to drive that it’s the law to give sufficient space between their vehicle and the one in front of them. This is a caution measure that’s in place to prevent a potential accident from occurring if the driver ahead suddenly stops.
If the driver ahead of you does make a sudden stop, giving enough room — at least one car length’s worth — gives you a chance to slow down or drive out of the way before a collision can actually happen.
Why Do Rear-End Accidents Occur?
There are various reasons why a rear-end accident can occur. Obviously, if the driver of the rear vehicle doesn’t give enough room between their own car and the one ahead of them, an accident can happen.
Negligence is one of the biggest causes of these collisions. Either the driver of the rear or front vehicle can be held liable for damages if the following situations are in place when the accident occurs:
- Texting while driving
- Distracted driving by other means
Why Fault in Rear-End Accidents Isn’t Automatic
Fault is not always automatic in rear-end car accidents. While the rear driver is usually to blame, it’s not always the case due to a variety of factors. Even if the driver of the front vehicle is not at fault, there can be additional factors that can cause an accident. Another vehicle altogether, road conditions, or even a pedestrian can contribute to a rear-end collision.
The theory of negligence is a huge factor as fault for most car accidents are determined by it. According to negligence laws, the party who is found to be negligent is liable for the damages suffered by the other party or parties.
In the case of a rear-end car accident, the driver who is found to be at fault due to negligence is liable to anyone who suffers injury. This includes the other driver and their passengers.
In a rear-end collision case, the prosecution is required to prove negligence on the part of the defendant. Negligence includes the following elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care by behaving negligently
- the defendant’s negligence directly causes the plaintiff’s injuries and other damages
When Is the Front Driver at Fault for a Rear-End Accident?
The front driver could be found to be at fault for a rear-end collision through an act of negligence. If the driver was not using reasonable care while driving, they may be found liable for any injuries and damages suffered. The driver in front can be found at fault for the following:
- Braking suddenly
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving with broken brake lights
- Intentionally trying to get hit
- Pulling out in front of another vehicle
- Reversing and hitting the rear vehicle
- Road rage
If you were involved in a rear-end accident that left you injured and with damage to your vehicle, you need to retain a skilled personal injury attorney. You are entitled to compensation to cover the costs of your medical expenses, ongoing treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and vehicle damage. Speak to an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.