How To Determine Fault In A Rear-End Collision

Fault in a rear-end collision can be one of the most difficult types of claims to handle. Even if the driver rear-ended someone else, determining who is at fault can prove very difficult for both insurance companies and accident victims.

If you’re involved in a rear-end collision the instinctive reaction is to assume it’s the other driver’s fault. But this may be false. Sometimes the other driver was at fault, but sometimes not. How is a fault then determined? Read on, and we will fill you in on the basics. 

Comparative Negligence

There is no exact rule for determining fault in a rear-end collision. The guiding principle here is comparative negligence law which states that both parties can be considered negligent even if their degree of negligence varies. Comparative negligence determines how the damages are split between the two parties involved in a rear-end collision and relies on evidence such as witness testimony, police reports, and insurance reports to determine fault.

How Can Fault in a Rear-End Collision Be Determined?

The damage to your vehicle is a vital piece of evidence, but it is not the only evidence that will be required most times. The attorney from your car accident law firm will need to assess the information meticulously to determine the careless conduct of which driver caused the accident. These include:

Witness Testimony

There are a number of ways that you can tell who is at fault in a rear-end collision. The first is witness testimony. If there are other witnesses to the accident, or if someone is recording on a cell phone, you always want to remind them not to discuss the situation until they are interviewed by an accident attorney. This way they will not give the insurance companies information that could be harmful to your case, such as what their opinions are on who was at fault.

Medical Records

If you were involved in a rear-end collision, you are entitled to receive a copy of any medical records related to the accident. Medical records can help to ascertain who was at fault for the accident. Impact and injuries sustained can be analyzed to get the desired result.

Debris on the Road

Often, how debris is scattered around the road can provide valuable clues as to who is at fault. Tire tracks are important details, too.

Cell Phone Records

In a typical rear-end accident case the determining factor of who is at fault comes down to an analysis of the drivers’ actions before the accident. These logs may indicate that a driver was speaking on the phone or sending texts when the collision happened reckless action that may render them responsible for the accident. 

Surveillance Video

If you have been in a rear-end accident, video surveillance footage can be crucial for proving fault in your case, whether against another driver or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Video surveillance footage can make the difference between winning or losing your case and obtaining full compensation.

When Can a Driver In Back Not Be At Fault?

There are cases in which the driver in the back cannot be held responsible for a rear-end collision. In any of the following cases, the rear end driver may not be to respond or maybe partly responsible:

  • Deficient vehicle design or production issues unexpectedly hinder the driver from stopping. In this scenario, the producer of the vehicle may be the party to blame.
  • Either or both tail lights are not functioning on the car in front.
  • Multiple cars are involved, and another car has forced their vehicle forward.
  • There’s a car stopping in the lane.
  • The front driver accelerated in reverse.
  • The car at the front seems to have a flat tire or other faults, but the driver does not switch the hazard lights on.

Seek the Guidance of a Car Accident Attorney

Your rear-end accident attorney will help guide you through the legal process. The first thing a lawyer will do is discuss a plan for handling your case. Since they have experience with this, they can tell you what to expect and inform you about your options, so you know how to proceed.

In the event of a rear-end collision, there are several elements to determine fault. These elements come in the form of laws that have been put in place to help establish fault and ensure compensation to those who have been involved in an accident. By using the information presented here, you should have a better understanding of how states handle rear-end collisions and what the steps are to determining fault.

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