Determining Fault in Rear-End Collision
PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS SINCE 1983
A rear-end accident can happen in a split second. When it happens, you immediately start to wonder whether you’re to blame for the accident. While rear-end accidents might seem like they’re always the fault of the driver in the back, that isn’t always the case. Here’s what you need to know about rear-end collisions and fault from our Miami car accident lawyers.
Who Is at Fault for a Rear-End Collision?
The driver in the back is almost always at fault for a rear-end collision. Each driver must leave enough distance to stop if the vehicle in front of them stops. The driver must take all of the factors into account, including the weather, other drivers on the road, their braking capacity, and anything else that might impact their ability to stop for the vehicle ahead. Sometimes, the driver in front can be to blame for a rear-end collision.
What Percentage of Car Accidents Are Rear-End Collisions?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29 percent of accidents are rear-end collisions. Any accident where the vehicle in front is stopped or traveling very slowly at the time of the crash counts as a rear-end collision. They say about 64 percent of rear-end accidents involve a driver taking their eyes off the road.
Who Is at Fault When a Car Is Hit From Behind?
When a car is hit from behind, the car in the back is almost always at fault. All states have laws that require each driver to leave sufficient following distance for the vehicle in front of them. Even if the car in front stops suddenly, the driver in the back should have enough space to be able to come to a stop. There are some rare exceptions when the car in front may be at fault for an accident.
Are Rear Ends Always at Fault?
No, rear ends are not always at fault. There are limited circumstances where the vehicle in front may be at fault for an accident. However, instances where the driver in the front vehicle is to blame for a crash are uncommon. It’s almost always the vehicle in the back that’s at fault for a collision.
When Is the Driver in Front at Fault for a Rear-End Accident?
There are a few circumstances when the driver in front can be at fault for a rear-end accident:
Vehicle in Front Backs Up
Some drivers back up their vehicles after they stop. If you’re stopped at a light and the vehicle in front of you backs into you, that’s not your fault. Some drivers might back up at a light by accident, but some drivers back up into other vehicles to commit insurance fraud.
Broken Tail Lights or Other Defective Equipment
Another circumstance where the driver in front can be at fault for an accident is when they have defective vehicle equipment. For example, if their brake lights aren’t working, they may not be able to signal to the vehicle behind them that they’re stopping. Broken brake lights or even a flat tire can be a problem for the driver in front. Poor vehicle maintenance can make the driver in front at fault for a rear-end collision.
A time where the driver in front may be at fault is when they’re unlawfully obstructing traffic. Florida law 316.1945 prohibits drivers from stopping their vehicles in the roadway or an intersection. A driver may not obstruct the traffic behind them. When a driver blocks traffic with their car, they may be at fault when another driver hits them from behind.
Multi-Car Pile Up
Finally, one way that a rear-end traffic accident may not be the fault of the driver in the back is in a multi-car pile up. If a driver is stopped, they may be pushed into the vehicle in front of them by a car behind them. When there are more than two vehicles involved, the driver immediately behind the first driver may not be the one to blame for an accident.
Florida Law 316.0895 – Following Too Closely
Florida law 316.0895 prohibits drivers from following too closely to the vehicle in front of them. The law says that each driver must leave a “reasonable and prudent” space between them and the driver in front of them. Each driver must consider the amount of traffic on the road and current road conditions when they decide how much space to leave.
If you’re responsible for a rear-end collision, there’s a good chance that you’ll receive a citation for following too closely. Following too closely is a non-criminal moving infraction. Drivers who are towing a trailer or another vehicle must leave at least 300 feet of following distance on highways and freeways.
Rear End Collisions and Florida Car Accident Lawsuits
If you’re in a rear-end collision, you may deserve financial compensation for your injuries. Although the driver in the back is almost always to blame for the crash, it’s important not to make assumptions about fault when an accident occurs. It’s up to the party making a claim to prove each element of the case. In addition, there may be questions of comparative fault where the parties share different amounts of blame for the crash.
When a rear-end accident occurs, it’s essential to work carefully to investigate fault and build the evidence in the case. The claim may be more complex than you realize. However, when you work diligently, you can receive the full compensation that you deserve after an accident.
Contact An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Have you been in a rear-end accident? Are you wondering about fault and whether you have a claim for damages? The skilled legal team at Bernstein & Maryanoff can help.
When you work with us, you have a team of dedicated professionals who are determined to help you get the most for your car accident claim. We help good people fight for justice when a car accident occurs. Call us today for a confidential consultation about your case.