Is the Driver Who Rear-Ends Another Automatically Liable for Damages?

rear-end collisionMost people assume that determining liability for a rear-end collision is a simple process. In most cases, this would be an accurate assumption. However, there are some situations when it is not. Proving that any driver who was involved in a rear-end collision may be liable for damages may also be complex.

Our knowledgeable car accident lawyers in Sacramento are prepared to help you file a claim if you were involved in a rear-end collision that was not your fault. The consultation is free and there are no fees while we work on your case.

Situations When the Lead Driver May Be at Fault

The lead driver in a rear-end crash may be liable because of:

Negligent Driving

If the driver of a vehicle that was rear-ended was driving in a negligent manner, he or she may be found liable for the crash. Typically, these drivers offer little to no time for others to react to their actions on the road. For example, if a driver is weaving in and out of traffic and following other vehicles too closely, a sudden obstruction on the road may force him or her to slam on the brakes, resulting in a rear-end collision.

Sometimes a driver may be more than just negligent. He or she may be driving in a purposely aggressive manner, whether that be due to road rage or something else. Aggressive drivers are known to cut in front of other drivers and “brake-check” them.

Negligent Vehicle Maintenance

Drivers are not only required to minimize potential danger to others by how they drive, but also by how they maintain their vehicles. This means drivers are required to keep their vehicles in safe working order by ensuring their brake lights and headlights work. The lead driver of a vehicle involved in a rear-end collision may be held liable for the crash if the vehicle’s brake lights were broken and he or she was aware of it yet refused to get the issue corrected.

If you can prove another driver’s negligent vehicle maintenance caused you to crash into the back of his or her vehicle, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.

Chain Reaction

When an accident involving more than just two vehicles is caused by one vehicle crashing into the rear of another and setting off a wave of collisions, it is known as a chain reaction accident. The driver liable for these accidents is generally the vehicle at the very end (or beginning, depending on how you look at it) of the chain. However, the vehicle caught in the middle, which may have rear-ended another in front of it, might not be liable for the damages of the vehicle it rammed into.

Chain reaction accidents are complex claims, so you should strongly consider speaking to an attorney to help you through the process of filing a claim.

Staged Accidents

A staged accident may be one of the rare scenarios when the driver of the lead vehicle may be responsible for a rear-end collision. One of the most popular types of staged crashes involving rear-end collisions is “swoop and squat.”

This type of staged accident involves two vehicles that are in on the con. One vehicle will pull in front of yours while another will pull up alongside yours. Once you are boxed in and unable to swerve to avoid a collision, the vehicle in front of you will brake hard, causing you to collide with it.

What Are My Options if the Lead Vehicle’s Driver is Denying Fault?

If the driver of the lead vehicle caused the crash but is denying it, you may still have options for recovering compensation. First, you may be able to file a claim with the driver’s liability insurance, which most likely will deny liability or try to blame you, since you rear-ended the other vehicle. If your claim is denied, or the insurance company is refusing to negotiate, then you may need to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation.

However, to achieve the desired result, you will need to prove the lead vehicle in a rear-end collision is responsible for the crash.

Proving the Lead Vehicle is at Fault

Proof for rear-end collisions caused by a lead vehicle may be difficult to recover, as it is generally accepted that the vehicle that rear-ends another is the at-fault party.

Fortunately, our experienced attorneys are prepared to gather witness testimony, surveillance/traffic camera footage or any other type of evidence necessary to back your claim that the driver of the vehicle you crashed into is responsible for the collision. If broken brake lights were the cause, we may be able to help you gather information about past citations for broken taillights to help prove your case.

Call Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Rear-end collisions are not always open and closed cases where liability can easily be determined. Fortunately, you may have options for pursuing compensation if you were injured in a rear-end collision that was not your fault.

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced attorney to learn more about the legal options that may be available to you.

Call 916-777-7777 today.