Who Is Responsible for a Rear-End Collision?

Is the Driver Following the Other Car Always Liable?

who-is-responsible-for-a-rear-end-collisionIt’s something most of us have heard at some point or other…in a rear-end collision, because the tailing driver has a duty to watch the road in front of him and maintain a proper distance, he or she will always be responsible in the event of a rear-end collision. Is that true? Is it pretty much an open and shut case? Not necessarily.

When Can the Driver in Front Be Liable for a Rear-End Collision?

As a general rule, the driver in back in a rear-end collision will typically be found responsible. Studies show that the most common causes of rear-end collisions are excessive speed and distracted driving. In those situations, it’s not difficult to show that, had the driver in back been paying attention or not traveling so fast, the accident would not have occurred.

There are instances, though, where the driver in front may actually cause the crash:

  • Slamming on the brakes—When the driver in front brakes hard without warning, even a motorist traveling at a reasonable rate of speed at a reasonable distance behind may not be able to avoid a collision
  • Failure to signal a turn—A driver who slows down or stops without using a turn signal may be responsible for a rear-end crash (though the following motorist should be able to see brake lights)
  • Defective brake lights—If the motorist in front has brake lights that do not work, the tailing motorist may not be responsible for a collision
  • Swerving into your lane—The motorist in front may swerve into your lane without warning or without proving adequate distance
  • The motorist in front back into you—Occasionally, a motorist may accidentally or intentionally back up at an intersection

Contact Our Office

At the Lee Law Firm, we have extensive knowledge and experience successfully handling personal injury claims, including motor vehicle accident lawsuits. We take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis—you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.

Call us at 973-315-9080 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary. We welcome all major credit cards.

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