Rear end collision fault is not always as straightforward as it seems. Often, people believe that the person who was driving the car in the rear is automatically at fault. In fact, in most states, the law creates something called a "rebuttable presumption" that would indicate that the rear driver has to take the blame. However, just because it is true that most often the driver in back is at fault doesn't automatically mean that the rear driver is always going to be liable.
Fault and Rear End Collisions
As stated, in most states, there is a rebuttable presumption that the driver in the rear caused the accident. This means that the driver in the front, should he choose to file a lawsuit, doesn't have to actually prove that the driver in back caused the accident- it is assumed. However, the rear driver can rebut that rebuttable presumption or prove it wrong. He will have to do so by presenting evidence that he really was not at fault and that the driver in front- either in whole or in part- caused the accident.
The rebuttable presumption exists because the driving code in most states mandates that drivers all drive with a sufficient distance that they can stop safely. By definition, if you are keeping a reasonable distance from the car in front of you, then you should be able to stop and avoid hitting the other car. However, there are several examples of circumstances where the front driver has to take at least part of the blame. For example:
- If the front driver illegally pulls out in front of the driver in the back, the front driver can be at fault for the rear end collision
- If the front driver makes an illegal stop or stops short suddenly with no warning, then he can be at least partially at fault.
There may also be other circumstances wherein neither driver is really at fault- such as if there was a third car in the back that pushed the middle car into the first car in the line, or if there was a malfunction with the vehicle that hit the front car.
Rear end collision fault is important because, at least under certain circumstances, the driver who is at fault for a car accident is responsible for paying the damages for the other party. Therefore, if you have been involved in a rear end collision, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you collect the evidence you need to prove who was at fault and determine a fair compensation for the accident. You want to make sure you are treated fairly and have a fair accident compensation under the law for your car accident injuries, so a correct determination of fault is essential.