Who is at Fault in a Rear End Accident?
In a rear end collision, the rear driver is usually at fault, but the front driver can bear some or all of the fault if they stopped suddenly without good reason.
The law requires you to use reasonable caution when driving a motor vehicle; in legal terms, this means that you have a duty of care toward other drivers on the road to drive safely. This includes knowledge of your state’s traffic laws, which is why you must pass a written test on traffic laws before you can even get a provisional driver’s license. It also means paying attention to the other cars on the road and to road conditions, which is why you can get a traffic ticket for distracted driving. Likewise, you must keep our vehicle in safe condition, which is why drivers sometimes get traffic citations for driving with broken tail lights and expired vehicle inspection stickers. Failure to fulfil this duty of care is called negligence, and it is what determines who is at fault for an accident when it comes to insurance claims and car accident lawsuits. Most rear-end collisions are the fault of the driver of the rear vehicle, but some are the fault of the driver in front, or of both drivers. If you have been injured in a rear end car accident, contact the Murrieta vehicle accident lawyers at Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP.
When the Accident is the Rear Driver’s Fault
Slowing down in time to avoid hitting the car in front of you is an essential part of safe driving. Although drivers should check their rear-view mirrors when reversing or before changing lanes, most of the time, your eyes should be on the road in front of you. This means that rear end collisions are almost always the result of negligence on the part of the rear driver, such as in the following instances:
- The front driver is appropriately stopped at a red light or stop sign
- The front driver is driving near the speed limit, but the rear driver is speeding
- The rear driver is using a cell phone or is occupied by some other distraction
- The rear driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
When the Accident is the Front Driver’s Fault
In some instances, the front driver’s negligence can also play a role in rear end collisions. Examples of this are when the front driver stops or slows down when there is no reason to do so. If the front driver’s brake lights don’t work, this also makes it harder for the rear driver to see that the front driver has slowed down and to reduce their speed accordingly. Likewise, you are at fault if someone rear ends your car when you leave your car stalled in the road and do not turn on the hazard lights.
Contact a Murrieta Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident lawyer can help you recover your financial losses, including medical bills and property damage, after a rear end collision.Contact Gibbs & Fuerst LLP in Murrieta, California to set up a consultation about your car accident case.