Who is at fault in a rear-end collision?

It may be easy to conclude that the driver in the rear car is always at fault in rear-end collisions. However, that is not always the case, and liability in these accidents cannot be decided automatically. In real life, different scenarios may result in rear-end accidents. It could be the driver in front or another driver who is responsible for the crash, and it is essential to establish who is liable for the damages that the injured driver suffered.

Some possible situations in which the lead driver is negligent or was driving recklessly and thus may be at fault for the accident could be:

  • The front driver did not see the car in the back and reversed into it
  • The lead driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The car in front has broken or non-functioning brake lights

Fault In Rear-End Crashes is Not Automatic

While it can be assumed that the rear driver is responsible for most rear-end crashes because they were driving too close to the car in front of them or were distracted while driving, the driver of the car in front can also be found to be at fault. In other circumstances, a pedestrian who crosses a road without looking, dangerous or unexpected road conditions, and other drivers may have been the contributing cause of the accident.

That is why fault has to be determined through negligence. Negligence laws specify that the party found to be negligent is liable for any injuries and damages caused to another.

Proving Negligence

If you have been injured in a rear-end crash and want the other driver to pay for your damages, you would generally have to prove that the defendant was negligent. To do so, there are these elements for negligence that you must prove:

  • That the defendant owed you a duty of care
  • That the defendant breached this duty by acting negligently
  • That this negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injuries or the death of a loved one

What is the basic standard of care in rear-end collisions?

Several factors must be present for there to be the standard of care:

  • That any driver must use reasonable care when behind the wheel
  • That all drivers must constantly be keeping a lookout for pedestrians, other vehicles around, and obstacles that may interfere with their driving, and
  • They must control the speed and movement of their vehicles

Getting Legal Help After A Rear-End Collision

It is not always clear-cut who the negligent driver in a rear-end collision is. In some cases, it may be the driver in the back, while in others, the one in front, or other factors may be responsible. The driver in front might have had to brake suddenly trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian, or a driver may pull out in front suddenly and get hit, or a driver might have turned left in front of oncoming traffic or made an illegal U-turn.

Working with a car accident lawyer may help you determine who was at fault for an accident in which you were injured and suffered losses. Your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and help you protect your rights.


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