How To Determine Fault In A Rear-End Accident
Rear-end accidents are among the most common types of car crashes. A rear-end collision (being “hit from behind”) occurs when a driver hits another automobile’s rear end, while in the same direction of travel. These types of crashes are among some of the simplest crashes in determining fault.
That said, it’s not always a straightforward determination. It’s imperative to understand which scenarios will place fault in the event you ever fall victim to this type of collision. An experienced car accident attorney can look closely at the details of your claim to determine the best approach for success. In this article, we will explain how to determine fault in a rear-end accident.
Determining liability in a rear end accident
When another driver is struck from behind, the responsible party is usually the person who hit them. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle in the rear is the party liable for the crash. That is because the driver in the back could and should have been paying more attention to prevent the crash from happening in the first place.
Drivers must leave enough following distance
Nevada law 484B.127 requires drivers to leave a reasonable and prudent distance between their vehicle and any vehicle in front of them. If a driver doesn’t provide enough distance and a crash occurs, it is proof enough that they’ve acted negligently. They will also likely receive a traffic ticket for breaking the rules of the road, which is further proof that they are the responsible party.
Cases when the driver in the back may not be liable
There are some situations where the driver in the back may not be liable for a rear-end collision. A rear-end driver may not be to blame or may only be partially to blame in any of the following situations:
- It is a multi-car accident and another car pushed a vehicle forward
- The driver in front accelerated in reverse
- The driver in front was braking recklessly
- The driver in front was drunk driving
- The front drivers’ taillights are not working
- A vehicle is illegally stopped in the road
- The vehicle in front has stopped due to a flat tire or other emergency and fails to turn on hazard lights
- A defective vehicle design or manufacturing issue prevents the driver from stopping. In this case, you’ll be looking at a product defect claim.
Related: Can Both Parties Be At Fault In An Accident?
Who is at fault if the driver in the front was driving recklessly?
One of the most common causes of a rear-end accident is due to the front driver braking suddenly, causing the rear driver to hit the backside of the front driver’s vehicle. Although the rear driver may blame the front driver for braking suddenly, the rear driver may still be found liable for the crash.
Nevada’s vehicle laws require drivers to leave enough space for cars in front to be able to stop safely. According to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, Driver Handbook, here are a few examples of when you should adjust your distance for safe driving:
- Driving at night
- Wet/snowy roads
- Heavy truck-load
- Rush hour traffic
- Construction zones
Collision with multiple vehicles
In certain cases, a rear-end collision can occur with more than two vehicles. When this happens, a driver may leave a reasonable distance between them and the vehicle in front of them, only to be pushed into the vehicle directly in front of them by the vehicle behind them. In this case, the middle driver will not be held at fault.
How do I prove fault in a rear-end accident case?
When you are involved in a rear end accident, it is your responsibility to provide proof of liability. There are a variety of ways you can go about making your claim. Perhaps you have witnesses who are willing to help you, you can call on the police to make an official report, or you can document skid marks and debris.
In extreme cases, it is helpful to request the assistance of an accident reconstructionist expert. They can help reconstruct the accident to evaluate factors such as speed and negligence. Lastly, if the cause of the crash could be a result of a defective design or product, you can have your vehicle professionally inspected to determine whether other drivers with your vehicle have reported similar problems.
Related: Am I At Fault For A Car Accident?
How can an attorney help me in a rear-end collision?
So, if you find yourself wondering, “is it always your fault if you rear-end someone?” an accident attorney can help you sort through the details to help you determine liability in a free consultation. Once you’ve determined fault in your case, our Las Vegas car accident lawyer can write a demand letter to the applicable insurance company on your behalf. They can also advise as to whether or not your settlement offer is fair, and offer further advice on whether or not you should escalate to trial. At each phase, it is important to consult with your attorney to reach the best result possible.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end collision, contact attorney Brian M. Boyer immediately for a free, no-obligation case evaluation at (702) 800-0988. Let’s get you on the road to recovery, today!