Common sense and basic knowledge of traffic laws might make it seem like any driver that runs into the back of another is completely at-fault. Although it is true that drivers must maintain a safe distance from the car ahead, there are plenty of circumstances that would be considered shared liability. Don’t assume that you will be determined completely innocent just because you were struck in the back of your vehicle. Rear-end collisions are very common, and it’s important that all drivers are aware of potential liability when involved in such an accident.
Liability Based on Damage
An investigation of any car accident is going to entail evaluating the damage that has been done to each vehicle. A lot of details will come to light that could potentially prove that the driver of the front vehicle in a rear-end collision has some fault. Accidents that involve more than two vehicles are more complicated because the driver of the middle car may not be liable. If a third car driver smashed into the second car with enough impact to collide with the first car, they could be dealing with a claim from both other drivers. Every accident is different, and it’s possible to be found liable in any position if you are believed to have contributed or caused the crash to occur.
Rear-Ended Driver Negligence
You could be liable for another car crashing into the back of your vehicle if you were driving unsafely or violating traffic laws. Partial liability is determined based on the cause of the accident, such as a blown tire that causes you to lose control. Fault brake lights that fail to signal to the driver behind you could be considered negligence regarding vehicle maintenance. Even though your car may have been hit from behind, you may have trouble recovering money if you somehow contributed to the accident.
Legally Favorable Rear-End Collisions
It would be foolish to say that any auto accident is favorable, but it’s always reassuring to know that you aren’t at-fault. A car that is following too closely doesn’t have time to react if you must make a sudden stop for any reason, and that driver will almost always be responsible. It’s common that rear-end collisions occur due to a negligent driver on their cell phone or distracted by something other than the task of driving. More than half of the rear-end collision accidents reported in 2013 were caused by texting or talking on a cell phone. Although the circumstances are unfortunate for both drivers, the person that was rear-ended is going to have an easier time proving that they have no liability.
Understanding Comparative or Contributory Negligence
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision that caused a personal injury or vehicle damage, you’ll need the law on your side to claim a settlement. There may be a chance to collect some money even if you know that you contributed to some degree. Comparative negligence basically relies on determining how much fault each driver has so that the plaintiff can get a reasonable settlement. The idea of contributory negligence is a bit harsher because the plaintiff may not be able to get any financial help if they are somewhat responsible for the accident.
Taking Legal Action
Suffering a personal injury and the expense of vehicle repairs following a rear-end collision is potentially life-changing. Most people cannot afford unexpected medical treatment, car repair or replacement, and lost wages that typically result from a serious accident. Severe injuries may make it impossible to perform at work, and victims often have outrageous medical expenses that push them into debt. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands all of the current laws pertaining to rear-end collisions and determining liability for such circumstances. They are your absolute best asset when it comes to making a claim for financial compensation, and an attorney will fight for a better offer than the insurance companies typically make to a victim. Even if you did contribute to the accident in some way, it may be possible to make a claim that will help you overcome the financial burdens.