In a rear-end collision, the assumption is that the vehicle in front was not moving, and the car in the back struck them. These actions are the definition of a rear-end collision, and as you might assume, the at-fault party is the driver in the back who hits the vehicle in front. When there is an assessment of the scene, the ticket will likely go to the rear driver, barring some exceptions.
Please speak with a rear-end collision lawyer near you to protect your legal rights. The car accident attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, answer your questions.
Is the Car Behind Always at Fault?
The vehicle in the back is not always the one at fault because other situations can cause what seems to be a rear-end collision and can lead to the blame being placed on the wrong driver. Suppose both vehicles are stopped at a light, and the forward driver reverses instead of going forward; they would be at fault. However, they will likely attempt to blame the vehicle in the back.
If the forward driver does not have working brake lights, they can also be responsible for a rear-end accident. Other instances where the rear driver is not at fault include:
- Drunk driving
- Abrupt lane changes
- Pulling over without warning
- Intentionally driving to get hit
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How Is Fault Determined in a Rear-End Collision?
To find out how is fault determined in a rear-end collision, you need to prove negligence by proving the other driver did not use reasonable care, which led to a rear-end collision. The fault is determined differently in each state since some work on total negligence and others on comparative negligence. Discuss your options with a local rear-end car accident lawyer.
How do Police Determine Fault?
While you know what happened and believe you know who is at fault, the police can say something else after a preliminary investigation. They will examine the scene and tire marks and speak to witnesses. They will also interview each driver and write an accident report on what they think occurred.
When you recover the police report, you might find that they blamed the wrong party. Additionally, they will issue a citation and conduct a drug test if they believe someone is under the influence. This information is vital to securing compensation from the correct liable party.
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How do Lawyers Determine Fault?
While the police report is vital to the investigation, it does not always show the complete picture. Law enforcement is in a hurry to clean up the scene, and witnesses may have already left. However, a rear-end accident lawyer can find other critical evidence that can prove or disprove elements of the report in your favor.
Additionally, other parties can be at fault that the police officers missed.
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How do Rear-End Collisions Happen?
When a driver is speeding or acting in another negligent manner, they do not slow down or stop in time to adjust to traffic. There are several ways these accidents happen, and one example is when a person slows for a yellow light and the car behind tries to run the light. The highway is also notorious for these accidents because there are many stops and go during high traffic hours.
Additionally, a driver who abruptly changes lanes and causes an accident can also be the cause of a rear-end collision. While drivers should be ready to react to any hazard, a car that switches lanes without warning is not feasible, but drivers must maintain a proper lookout. Therefore the rear driver may not bear full responsibility.
Following too closely and distractions are also contributing factors in rear-end collisions.
What Is No-Doubt Liability?
Rear-end collisions fall under the no-doubt liability classification, meaning liability is evident in most cases. Left turn accidents are another category. Since there are few exceptions to the rear driver not being at fault, insurance companies find these claims easy to pay or dispute, depending on which side of the coin they fall under.
Police reports and local traffic laws are essential to these cases.
What Injuries Can Happen in a Rear-End Collision?
Hundreds of car accident injuries happen daily, and many are debilitating, requiring medical attention for years. Occupants in the lead vehicle can suffer sprains, soft tissue injuries, whiplash, and broken bones. Those in the rear can suffer head injuries from hitting the steering wheel, broken wrists, or fingers.
Either driver can suffer a concussion, laceration, or bruises or be ejected from the vehicle. Permanent injuries are prevalent.
What Is the Deadline to File a Civil Claim?
While you want to take time to heal, you cannot take long to file a civil claim. Depending on where you live, you will only have two or three years to file a rear-end accident lawsuit. Some states only offer one year for accident victims to begin recovery proceedings.
While these limits seem long, there are other processes that you will need to undergo before filing a civil lawsuit.
Who Is Responsible for a Multi-Vehicle Collision?
The fault is challenging during a multi-vehicle car accident because there are so many vehicles. One vehicle will rear-end another, causing a chain reaction, and therefore the car in the back is at fault. However, liability is very complex, and a thorough investigation is necessary for these cases.
What Compensation Can You Get?
With the help of a local rear-end car accident lawyer, you can recover compensation for the following:
- Medical cost
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scars
- Death benefits
You will need to work with a rear-end car accident lawyer to determine which compensation you can obtain and your case’s worth.
How Do I Recover Compensation for a Rear-End Crash?
First, you will need a rear-end collision lawyer to properly determine who is at fault for the collision, regardless of what the police report says. You can recover compensation through an investigation and by filing an insurance claim. If the issue does not resolve through an insurance claim, Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, will move into the litigation process to recover compensation.