Who Is At Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

Who Is At Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

The rear-ending motorist is usually at fault for a rear-end collision, with few exceptions.

Whether someone rear-ended you or your vehicle struck another in the rear, hire an auto accident attorney. A lawyer will argue that you are not liable for the rear-end collision. Your attorney will then fight for all of the compensation you deserve.

Why Is the Rear-Ending Motorist Usually at Fault for a Collision?

Who Is At Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

Authorities generally deem the rear-ending motorist responsible for an accident because every driver must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. A driver may strike another vehicle in the rear because:

They Tailgate

When tailgating, drivers can hit the vehicle in front of them if it stops suddenly - even if they pay attention and brake immediately. Drivers should maintain several car lengths between themselves and the vehicle in front, as every foot counts when avoiding rear-end collisions.

Motorists may tailgate because:

  • They assess the risk of tailgating poorly
  • They are in a rush and knowingly engage in risky behavior
  • They are overly confident in their alertness or reaction times 
  • They are overly confident in their vehicle’s braking abilities
  • They misjudge the distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front 

Tailgating is always dangerous and is a common cause of rear-end accidents.

They Break the Speed Limit

Twenty-nine percent of traffic deaths result from speeding, whether driving over the speed limit or too fast for road conditions. A motorist who is speeding may:

  • Have less time to brake when a vehicle stops in front of them
  • Lost control of their vehicle, causing them to strike the vehicle in front
  • Have less time to process braking vehicles, leading to a rear-end accident
  • Be statistically more likely to cause a rear-end accident

Before they receive a license, a motorist must demonstrate that they know the danger of speeding. Therefore, a speeding motorist who causes a rear-end accident is responsible for resulting damages.

They Drive While Distracted

Distracted drivers in America claim thousands of lives per year, and it’s clear to see why. Even at low speeds, motorists must focus on the road to avoid striking other vehicles, pedestrians, and fixed objects. When distracted motorists travel at high speeds, they pose a fatal risk to themselves and others.

When a motorist draws attention away from the road, they may not see a vehicle braking in front of them—posing a clear risk of a rear-end collision.

Distraction can result from:

  • Texting
  • Speaking on the phone
  • Choosing music or other media on a phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Reaching for items inside the vehicle
  • Staring at sights outside the vehicle
  • Engaging in conversation with passengers
  • Allowing thoughts to distract from driving

A distracted motorist must pay for injuries, property damage, and other harm they cause.

They Change Lanes Dangerously

When motorists change lanes without enough room, they can hit another vehicle in the rear. The motorist who changes lanes and causes a rear-end collision generally must pay for the accident.

They Run a Traffic Light or Stop Sign

Obedience to traffic signals, including traffic lights and stop signs can prevent collisions. When a motorist ignores or unintentionally runs a traffic light, yield sign, or stop sign, they can cause a rear-end accident.

When Does Not the Rear-Ending Motorist Not Cause the Collision?

There are some cases when the rear-ending motorist is not liable for an accident or is only partially liable. These cases may include:

When a Vehicle Defect Causes a Collision

Defective tires, shoddy brakes, and certain other defects can result in auto accidents.

These defects may result from:

  • Inadequate product testing
  • Poor assembly 
  • Use of cheap parts by the original manufacturer or a secondhand seller

Sometimes, a manufacturer or seller may knowingly sell a defective vehicle because it benefits them financially. Whether or not they know of the defect, you can hold a manufacturer, seller, assembler, or other party responsible when a vehicle defect leads to a rear-end accident.

If a motorist fails to replace worn tires, you can hold them responsible if a tire blowout causes a rear-end collision.

When Dangerous Road Conditions Cause an Accident

Sometimes, road conditions beyond drivers’ control can cause a collision.

These conditions may include:

  • Potholes
  • Uneven driving surfaces
  • Concrete barriers, traffic cones, and other man-made hazards positioned in or near the roadway
  • Work crews positioned too close to the roadway
  • Debris in the roadway
  • Out-of-commission lights, which may cause dangerous nighttime driving conditions

When road conditions cause a rear-end accident, you can hold the party or parties responsible for the hazards liable for the accident. You can hold a local, state, or federal body financially responsible for your accident-related damages.

When a Pedestrian Causes an Accident

Pedestrians can cause a rear-end accident when they enter the roadway illegally. The emergence of a walker, bicyclist, or other type of pedestrian may cause a vehicle to brake suddenly. Even if the rear-ending motorist fails to keep a safe distance, the pedestrian may share liability for the collision.

When the Motorist in Front Stops Without Reason

If a motorist stops without a reason, they may be responsible when the motorist behind them strikes their vehicle. Though every motorist must keep a safe distance, a motorist who brakes without reason exposes others to danger. For this reason, you can hold such a motorist liable for a rear-end accident.

How Does a Rear-End Collision Lawyer Prove Fault for an Accident?

Your lawyer will work to prove another party’s liability for your rear-end collision.

They may establish the facts of your accident using:

  • Eyewitness accounts detailing how and why (in the witnesses’ opinions) the collision occurred
  • Video footage of the accident
  • An expert’s testimony about who is liable for the accident (they may examine the scene and consider witness accounts in forming their opinion)
  • An expert’s digital or physical reconstruction of the accident
  • A police report 
  • Statements made by motorists involved in the accident
  • Cell phone records (which may be relevant if the at-fault motorist was texting or on the phone when the collision happened)

Each accident produces different evidence. Experienced rear-end collision attorneys waste no time gathering evidence and building the client’s case.

What Types of Injuries Do Rear-End Accident Victims Suffer?

Driver injuries vary depending on the motorist’s age, vehicle, personal safety decisions, and other factors (including the collision’s speed).

Injuries can vary in nature and severity, and may include:

Consider that no two rear-end collisions are identical. In one case, a large truck may crash into a small vehicle, causing total vehicular damages and life-threatening injuries. In another case, a smaller vehicle may strike a much larger vehicle, causing less serious injuries.

As a victim of another party’s negligence, it does not matter how serious your accident or injuries are. You deserve fair compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. A lawyer will work to ensure you receive all of the money you deserve.

Recoverable Damages for the Victim of a Rear-End Accident

Your accident-related damages will determine the amount of compensation you deserve.

Some common damages among rear-end collision victims include:

  • Medical bills: Accident victims often need ambulance transport, emergency medical attention, imaging to diagnose injuries, hospitalization, and other medical services. Your personal injury attorney will seek compensation covering all accident-related medical bills.
  • Pain and suffering: Any auto accident can cause emotional anguish, psychological distress, lost quality of life, sleep issues, and physical pain. Those with significant injuries may also suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and other types of pain and suffering.
  • Treatment for pain and suffering: If you need medications, counseling, or any other treatment for psychological or emotional symptoms, your lawyer will seek compensation for the treatments.
  • Professional damages: Lost income is often the most immediate professional damage from a rear-end collision, but may not be the only form of professional harm from the accident. You may also suffer diminished earning power, missed bonuses, missed chances to earn promotions, and other professional losses that your lawyer will consider.
  • Accident-related property expenses: If your vehicle, clothing, electronics, or other property sustained damage from a rear-end accident, your lawyer will calculate the cost of repairing or replacing the property.

Lawyers understand how to calculate all kinds of accident-related damages. You can rely on a rear-end accident lawyer to accurately identify your damages and calculate their cost. You likely have only one chance to secure compensation for your accident-related damages so you must demand an accurate, complete settlement.

Non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) do not have an obvious financial cost. However, lawyers know how to calculate the cost of non-economic harm, and courts accept these methods.

Rear-end collisions can kill, especially when the collision involves a large vehicle (like a semi-truck) or it happens at high speeds. If your loved one passes away from accident-related injuries, a wrongful death lawyer can file a lawsuit against liable parties.

Your lawyer can seek compensation for:

  • Any medical care your loved one received before passing away (including end-of-life care)
  • Funeral expenses, including the cost of a casket
  • Burial or cremation costs
  • Your pain and suffering
  • Any pain and suffering the decedent may have experienced because of the accident
  • Loss of the decedent’s companionship, parental guidance, and other non-economic value
  • Loss of the decedent’s income and employer-provided benefits
  • Loss of the decedent’s household contributions

Few people want to handle a wrongful death lawsuit after losing a loved one. A lawyer will lead your fight for justice so you can focus on your well-being.

How Can I Get Compensation for a Rear-End Accident?

A lawyer can seek compensation for your accident by:

  1. Filing one or more insurance claims, or
  2. Filing a lawsuit against liable parties

Your lawyer may initially file an insurance claim. If the insurer does not offer a fair settlement, your lawyer may file a lawsuit. Each case differs; your rear-end collision lawyer will adjust their strategy as necessary.

The Value of Hiring a Rear-End Accident Lawyer

Some of the many benefits of hiring a lawyer after a rear-end accident include:

  • Your ability to focus on your health because a lawyer is managing your case
  • The experience a lawyer provides, which is difficult to place a monetary value on
  • The financial support a lawyer provides —car accident lawyers only receive a fee if they win your case, and the firm covers the cost of your case
  • The protection a lawyer provides, as insurers will be unable to violate your rights while a lawyer represents you

You deserve compensation but may not have the experience, strength, or mental state to handle a lawsuit or claim. Hire a lawyer, focus on your recovery, and let your attorney do the work for you.

What a Rear-End Accident Lawyer Will Do for You

Your lawyer will:

  • Obtain evidence from the rear-end collision
  • Determine who is financially liable for your accident
  • Calculate exactly how much money you are entitled to
  • Draft and file all case-related paperwork (including an insurance claim or lawsuit)
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • Complete a trial, if necessary

Your law firm will oversee every detail of your case and provide updates so you know how the process unfolds.

Hire Your Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Ilya D. Frangos, Lawyer for Car Accident
Ilya D. Frangos, Auto Accident Attorney

Every state has a deadline for filing rear-end accident cases, so don’t wait to hire your lawyer. If you miss the filing deadline, you may lose your opportunity to secure the compensation you need and deserve. Seek a no-cost consultation today with a trusted personal injury attorney near you.


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