Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of auto accidents. When this type of crash occurs, the driver in the rear is usually held liable for any resulting damages. However, that isn't always the case. Other parties may be involved or circumstances at play that can affect who is responsible for a rear-end crash. Let's take a closer look at these scenarios.
Rear-End Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were approximately 1,457,000 rear-end accidents in 2020. Of those, around 2,428 resulted in collisions, while over 417,000 resulted in injury. Fatal rear-end accidents made up 6.8 percent of all fatal accidents in 2020.
The Rear Driver
In most cases, it will be the rear driver who is found to be legally responsible for a rear-end collision. This is because the rear driver is responsible for keeping a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. If they fail to do so and cause an accident, they may be found negligent and held liable for any resulting damages. Common examples of a rear driver being at-fault include:
- Distracted Driving - When the rear driver is texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise distracted while driving, they may not be keeping a safe distance between their vehicle and the one in front.
- Drunk Driving - When the rear driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, their reaction times are drastically impaired, turning the possibility of an accident from an "if" to a "when."
- Following Too Closely - When the rear driver is following too closely, or tailgating, and doesn't leave themself enough time to stop when the vehicle in front of them stops.
The Driver in Front
In some cases, however, it may not just be the rear driver that is responsible for a rear-end collision. The driver in front can also bear some responsibility if they were driving erratically or failed to signal when changing lanes or turning. That being said, the majority of the fault will still likely fall on the rear driver – especially if they weren't following traffic laws or weren't keeping an appropriate distance from the vehicle in front of them prior to impact. Scenarios in which the driver in front would bear the majority of fault may be:
- Brake Checking - When the driver in front slams on their brakes to try and force the rear driver to stop, leading to a collision.
- Vehicle in Reverse - When the driver in front is backing up into the rear driver, they may bear more fault.
- Unchecked Blind Spot Lane Change - When the driver in front changes lanes without checking their blind spot and collides with the rear driver.
Other Parties Involved
Finally, it's important to note that there may be other parties involved in a rear-end collision who could also bear some responsibility. For example, if you have defective brakes on your car and get into an accident due to brake failure, then you may have grounds to file a claim against your mechanic who installed them or against the company that manufactured them (depending on what caused the brake failure). Additionally, your local municipality may be held accountable for failing to maintain safe roads if road conditions such as worn pavement or potholes contributed to your accident.
Rear-end collisions are no joke; they can result in severe injury and even death. In most cases involving this type of crash, it will be determined that the driver in the back was negligent – and thus responsible for any resulting damages – but this isn't always true; there may be other parties involved or even circumstances beyond anyone's control that could change liability outcomes entirely. It's important for drivers involved in an auto accident to speak with an experienced attorney who can help them determine who is ultimately at fault and how best to proceed with filing a claim against those responsible parties accordingly.
Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Denver, CO
At Boesen Law, we understand how difficult it can be to determine fault in a car accident. That's why our knowledgeable car accident attorneys are here to help you every step of the way. We have extensive experience in handling auto accident cases, and we're dedicated to fighting for your rights so that you can get the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.
For a free initial consultation, call us today at (303) 327-9988.