Are You Automatically At Fault If You Rear-End Somebody?

Many people believe if someone crashes into the back of a car, that person automatically takes all the blame. While there's something to that notion, you shouldn't make that automatic assumption. Rear-end collisions don't always fall fully on one party.

How Rear-End Collisions Generally Happen

Rear-end collisions occur for a variety of reason. Almost all of them involve the person behind either following too close, or not paying attention.

That's why there's a general assumption that the person behind takes all the blame when these types of collisions occur. There aren't too many defenses for a rear-end collision, because they're easily avoidable if the driver follows the rules of the road.

Extenuating Circumstances that Cause Rear-End Collisions

There are many cases where the collision occurs because of the lead driver, rather than the rear driver.

  • Sudden stops by the lead car, for any reason
  • Jerky or hesitant driving by the lead car
  • Non-working brake lights on the lead car

In addition, if the car in front has a sudden mechanical failure, it can cause the car behind to careen into it. Beyond that, sloppy driving from the lead car can also cause the rear car to hit it.

How to Prove What Really Happened

Even if the lead car has all the blame, it's hard to prove it when there's a rear-end collision. That assumption that the rear car has all the liability exists at courts, insurance companies, and police departments. The odds are not stacked in the favor of the rear car driver.

If you are the rear car driver, you will have to let the insurance companies perform an investigation. They will look at the precise damage to the vehicles to determine who has fault. In some places, courts can split that fault between the lead and rear driver.

This may all work for the insurance companies. But, what happens if you, or the other person, suffers an injury? If you're the rear driver, and you hurt yourself in the accident, you don't want to take all the blame if you don't have to. Conversely, if the other person suffers an injury, you don't want to find yourself on the hook to pay for their medical bills and lost wages.

What You Should Do if You're in a Rear-End Collision

Seek medical help first, even if you don't think you're hurt. You should then contact local auto accident lawyers about your accident.

If you rear-end somebody, but believe the lead car holds some or all of the blame, then contact resources like Doehrman Buba.