Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents in the US.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) reports that rear-end collisions happen more than any other type of crash, making up 29% of all accidents and causing numerous injuries and deaths each year.
Rear-end collisions can leave you and your loved ones with mental, physical, and financial damages. Insurance companies will blame anyone they can to save money without a care that you’re out of work and distressed. This makes it critical to ask, who is at fault in a rear-end collision?
Who Is At Fault In A Rear-End Collision? – Key Takeaways:
- In most rear-end collisions, the rear driver who collides with the vehicle in front of them is considered at fault for the accident. The law expects drivers to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of them.
- The front driver can be found at fault if they stop unexpectedly, reverse without warning, or if their brake lights fail.
- When tailing another vehicle, drivers should be at a far enough distance to give them time to stop or slow down when needed.
- When in doubt, don’t admit fault. Consulting a skilled lawyer helps determine who’s at fault in a rear-end collision.
In rear-end collisions, fault doesn’t always lie with the tailing driver. Insurance companies will use anything they can against front and rear drivers to avoid paying the full settlement you deserve.
This article explores the details behind who is at fault in rear-end collisions, what the factors are, and how a free consultation with car accident lawyers like Zinda Law Group can help you figure out your rights and make a plan of action.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
If You Rear-End Someone, Is It Always Your Fault?
Most but not all cases find that if you rear-ended someone, you’re at fault. The law requires drivers to maintain a safe following distance. Stay ready to stop or slow down as needed — you’re responsible for maintaining control of your vehicle at all times. That said, unusual situations can put the lead driver at partial or total fault.
Most people assume that the driver in the back is at fault because they didn’t exercise caution and responsibility, but that’s not always the case.
Unexpected circumstances such as weird weather and mechanical failures do happen and can change who’s determined to be at fault. Variables like poor weather conditions, driver distractions, erratic driving behavior, and defective vehicle components make determining the liable driver more complicated.
Car accident lawyers thoroughly investigate each case’s details to find out who’s truly at fault for a rear-end collision. Having more heads involved than just the insurance investigators is in your best interest. Your insurance company is obviously motivated to find you at fault in any way they can to save money. In these situations, you want a skilled attorney on your side
Whether in the front or the rear of a car crash, legal assistance from a car accident lawyer will help you navigate the legal process and determine who’s at fault.
When is a Rear-End Collision Not Your Fault?
A rear-end collision isn’t your fault if the front driver swerves unexpectedly or executes a deliberate “brake check.” If the front driver makes a wrong turn, violates the right of way, fails to signal, or has broken brake lights, they can share the blame or be found entirely at fault for the crash.
In backup accidents where the front driver reverses into another vehicle, fault typically lies with the driver who backed into the car behind them. All the small details make a difference. It’s important to look at all the facts before determining a rear-end collision fault.
Later, we’ll discuss some free case evaluations and legal support options to help you get to the bottom of who’s at fault.
First, let’s review how specific actions or negligence by the front driver can contribute to the crash.
Examples of Rear-End Collisions When the Lead Driver May be at Fault:
The driver in front can be found wholly or partially liable for a rear-end collision for
- Sudden braking without cause
- Irresponsible driving, such as swerving
- Unexpected reversing at intersections or traffic lights
- Sudden lane changes without warning
- Failing to maintain speed after merging into traffic
- Faulty brake lights
- Driving with flat tires or mechanical failures
Am I at Fault If I Hit a Car in Front of Me because They Slammed On Their Brakes?
If you hit a car from behind because the driver suddenly slammed on their brakes, the rear driver is often assumed to be at fault, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the front driver’s abrupt braking is determined to be reckless or intentional. If so, they’re held partially or totally liable for the wreck.
Again, finding out who’s at fault in cases where the front driver slams their brakes requires a thorough study of the situation leading up to the collision while the details are still fresh.
A free attorney consultation, like the one we offer at Zinda Law Group, can provide a valuable sense of your case and potential routes for legal support.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
What Are the Most Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions?
The primary cause of rear-end collisions is most commonly tailgating, where the rear driver follows the front driver too closely and doesn’t have time to react to their slowing or stopping.
Other common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Speeding, distracted driving, failure to yield, and ignoring traffic signs
- Aggressive driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Mechanical failures, especially with brakes and tires
- Irresponsible driver behavior
- Worn or illegal vehicle conditions
- Bad weather, visibility, and road conditions affecting one or both drivers
- Hydroplaning or loss of vehicle control
Step to Take After A Rear-End Collision:
Check for Injuries:
- Examine yourself and all passengers and pedestrians for injuries.
Move to a Safe Location:
- Prioritize the safety of yourself and your passengers by moving to a safe location.
- Examine the injuries of the driver and passengers of the other vehicle.
- Call for immediate medical attention if able/necessary.
Document the Scene:
- Take photos of the accident, especially of the damages and positions of both vehicles.
- Note any visible injuries.
- Collect information from all drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
- Include names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance details, and vehicle information.
Notify the Police:
- Call the local police for an accurate record, even in minor accidents.
- An investigating officer can document the scene and file a report.
Don’t Admit Fault:
- Avoid admitting fault, as it’s not always solely one driver’s responsibility.
- Even if you just tell the other driver you’re sorry, insurance companies can say you admitted it was your fault.
- Focus on checking everyone’s well-being and exchanging information, not arguing over liability at the scene.
Contact an Attorney First:
- Before providing statements to insurance companies, we suggest a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.
- Attorneys guide you on what information to share with insurance, protecting your rights. They can also speak to the insurance company on your behalf.
Seek Medical Attention:
- See a doctor, even if it seems your injuries are minor.
- Rear-end accidents can cause hidden issues like whiplash and hurt spinal disks that only get worse with time, especially if untreated.
Report to Your Insurance Company:
- In Texas, reporting the accident to your insurance company is legally required.
- Be cautious about assuming blame during the initial report. Insurance companies put their interests in front of your recovery settlement. They’re not the best option for a fair investigation into who caused the crash.
Need Help Determining Who Is At Fault in A Rear-End Collision?
Most people think the rear-end collision fault always belongs to the tailing driver. But there are other details to consider, like environmental conditions, driver distractions, and vehicular failures that can put either driver at fault.
Insurance companies are out to pay the least amount possible, which often creates a conflict of interest when finding out who’s at fault for your rear-end collision. Insurance investigators aren’t necessarily concerned with your recovery, settlement money, or painting an accurate picture of what happened at the scene of the crash.
If you or a loved one has recently been in a rear-end collision, a free attorney consultation can explain your options and settlement rights, regardless of whether you were the front or rear driver.
At Zinda Law Group, we guide you through the complex process of figuring out who was at fault for your collision. We fight for a fair assessment of the details that matter while they’re still clear. We take car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us a thing unless you win.
If you or a loved one was recently involved in a rear-end collision, you’re probably facing mental, physical or financial damages. When recovering from a personal injury, you can’t afford to rely on insurance investigators to put your needs first.
Take matters into your own hands and contact Zinda Law Group now for effective and aggressive legal support.