Many people believe that a driver in the rear vehicle during a rear-end collision is always at fault for the crash, regardless of the circumstances. In many cases, it is true that the rear driver is to blame. However, there is no rule that says the driver in the rear vehicle is automatically at fault. Instead, the law looks at a variety of factors to determine rear-end collision fault.
The Different Causes of Rear-End Collisions
The cause of the rear-end collision will likely determine who is at fault. Some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Following another car too closely
- Not paying attention while driving
- Driving under the influence
- Poor weather, visibility, or road conditions
- Sudden or unsignaled lane changes or turns
- Stopped traffic on a high-speed road
- Broken brake lights
- Backing up suddenly
Who is at fault for a rear-end collision?
Liability for all rear-end collisions depends completely on the facts of each individual crash. Generally, drivers must maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of them and be prepared to stop their car for emergencies.
The Rear Car Driver
For example, if a driver slams on their brakes to avoid hitting a jaywalker and the driver in the car behind the first car does not respond in time, the driver of the rear vehicle will most likely be at fault for the collision.
However, there are certain facts that may make the front driver, or another third party, liable for the accident instead.
The Front Car Driver
If the front driver’s brake lights are out and the rear driver has no warning that the car is braking, the front driver will likely be liable.
Additionally, if the front driver disobeys traffic laws such as failing to yield right of way or failure to use turn signals, he or she may be at fault. In some cases, both the front and rear driver may be partially to blame for rear-end collisions.
Third parties, such as the city or state that maintain the roadway or vehicle manufacturers may also be to blame for certain rear-end collisions. For example, if a car hits a large pothole and the driver loses control of the vehicle causing an accident, the city tasked with maintaining the road could be partially to blame.
Furthermore, if defective brakes or tires cause the accident, the manufacturers of those parts may be at fault.
Driving Tips to Prevent Rear-End Collisions
While it is impossible to prevent all rear-end collisions, there are several steps you can take while driving to reduce your risk of being involved in one of these crashes:
- First, the most obvious way to prevent rear-ending a car in front of you is by maintaining a safe following distance.
- Stay alert and aware of the drivers around you.
- Always be on the lookout for cars making sudden stops or lane changes.
To prevent another car from rear-ending you:
- Always make your own driving actions clear. Use turn signals when changing lanes and drive in a predictable pattern.
- If you are traveling at a high speed and see that traffic has stopped ahead of you, let those behind you know by using your hazard lights and coming to a stop as gently and gradually as possible.
- And, if you must pull onto the shoulder of the road, always pull completely off of the road and use your hazard lights or road flares to warn other drivers of your location.
Contact Coffey Trial Law Today for Help after a Rear-End Collision
If you were involved in a rear-end collision, you may be wondering how you will possibly pay for everything. The accident attorneys at Coffey Trial Law can help you file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim with your own insurance company or bring a liability claim against the driver who caused your accident.
Contact us today for help determining who is at fault and help recovering compensation for your injuries: 954-541-3194.