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Determining Fault In A Rear- End Collision

Law Blog

According to the National Safety Council, the most common type of automobile accident is a rear end collision. Over 2.5 million rear end collisions are reported to law enforcement agencies and insurance companies every year. Determining fault in any accident situation is vital to the claims and legal process.

The General Rule Of Thumb Rule

The driver of the rear-ending car is generally ruled at fault for the accident in the majority of rear-end collision cases. Rear-end collisions are generally caused by a driver who is distracted or not paying attention when they bump or rear-end the vehicle in front of them. That means the driver of the rear-ending car is liable for the damages both cars sustained.

No-Fault State Exception

The biggest exception to the general rule that the rear-ending car is at fault for a rear-end collision is the no-fault state exception. In the United States, 12 states have no-fault rules on the books. All drivers in these states are required to carry their own auto insurance. If you or your vehicle is injured in a no-fault state, your insurance company is required to compensate you for the damages, no matter who is at fault for the accident.

This system was put in place to avoid overwhelming the courts with lawsuits related to car accidents. So if you rear-end someone in a no-fault state or are rear-ended, it does not matter who caused the accident, your own insurance company is responsible for paying damages.

Multi-Car Collision Rule

The other time that the general rule of thumb does not apply in a rear-end collision is when multiple cars are involved in an accident. In this case, the rear-end vehicle is pushed into the vehicle in front of it by a third vehicle. If the third vehicle caused the middle vehicle to hit front vehicle, it is the third or last vehicle's fault for causing the accident.

If you hit someone from behind, and no other vehicles were involved in the accident, chances are you will be ruled at fault for the accident. However, if you were the driver who was rear-ending, you will most likely be ruled as not-at-fault for the accident. If multiple vehicles were involved, it becomes more complicated determining who was at fault.

Make sure you provide the police and your insurance company with accurate information if you are involved in a rear-end collision. The result of their investigation, if you are at fault, will increase your insurance premium and may result in a civil suit against you. Check out companies like Gazewood & Weiner PC for help. 


3 December 2014