Yellow and blue toy car on a staged highway in a rear-end collision

Is Fault Automatic In a Rear-End Collision?

Rear-end collisions may seem like cut-and-dry cases. The driver in the rear is automatically at fault, right?

Not necessarily.

Here’s what you need to know about rear-end collision liability:

No, Fault Is Not Automatic

Liability is never automatic in any type of car accident case, not even for rear-end collisions. Sometimes one driver is completely responsible for causing a crash, but most of the time, there are various levels of liability.

Even in rear-end accidents, a driver must be proved negligent in one way or another. All drivers are expected to live up to a duty to exercise care when operating a vehicle. Additionally, it must also be proved that the driver breached that duty.

There are a number of ways in which a driver can breach the duty of care, such as:

  • Not paying attention to the road and watch for hazards
  • Not stopping within a reasonable time and distance
  • Not driving at a reasonable speed based on the posted speed limit as well as the road conditions
  • Not maintaining control over the vehicle
  • Not yielding to the right of way
  • Not using turn signals
  • Not following at a safe distance

If a driver’s breach of duty causes an accident and you are left with actual damages as a result, you may be able to recover compensation to pay for your losses.

The Leading Driver May Also Be to Blame

While the driver in the rear is almost always assigned some portion of the blame for a rear-end collision since all drivers are required to follow at a safe distance, there are instances where the leading driver may also be responsible. Consider the following scenarios in which the leading driver may also share fault:

  • The driver suddenly backs up
  • The driver suddenly slows or stops to turn and then decides not to turn
  • The driver’s brake lights don’t work
  • The driver gets a flat tire but fails to pull over or engage the vehicle’s hazard signals

Of course, liability is all determined based on each driver’s level of negligence that contributes to an accident.

No one likes getting into accidents, especially preventable ones caused by others. If you’ve been injured in a collision, our team is here to help.

Call the Ozone Park lawyers at The Cassisi Law Firm today at (718) 524-3398 to speak with an experienced attorney about your case.



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