]If someone hits you from behind in a car accident, the rear-ending driver is usually at fault. Motorists must keep a safe distance behind the motor vehicle in front. If someone strikes you from behind, it likely indicates they did not maintain a safe distance at the time of the accident.
There are a few exceptions to this general rule of fault, but they are rare. A personal injury attorney can review the facts of your accident and determine who is at fault for your damages.
Why the Rear-Ending Driver Is Usually at Fault When They Hit You from Behind
The rear-ending driver is usually at fault because:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains that motorists must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, which means allowing oneself 3 seconds to 4 seconds to stop.
- The driver in front cannot generally do anything to avoid a rear-end collision, as they are often stopped (and sometimes stopped behind an object that prevents them from moving forward, such as another car).
- Rear-ending another driver can indicate several possible forms of negligence
Your attorney can confirm whether a motorist who hit you from behind is at fault for the accident and, by extension, your accident-related damages.
For a free legal consultation, call 877-239-4878
Types of Negligence That Lead to Rear-End Collisions
There are several potential causes of rear-end car accidents, including:
Failure to Leave Enough Distance Behind the Car in Front
In some cases, failing to leave adequate distance qualifies as tailgating, but not always. A motorist may not necessarily be riding another vehicle’s bumper. Yet, if they cannot stop in time to avoid an accident (despite paying attention to the road), they cannot leave enough distance between their vehicle and the one in front.
Failure to Adjust to Dangerous Driving Conditions
When motorists encounter dangerous driving conditions, they must generally reduce their speed, increase their distance behind the vehicle in front, and exercise abundant caution. Dangerous driving conditions include:
- Work zones
- High traffic
- Poor lighting at night
- Blinding sun
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
Abnormal driving conditions are often dangerous driving conditions. If a motorist fails to take excess precautions in such conditions, they may increase the risk of a rear-end car accident.
Speeding contributes to about one-third of motor vehicle accidents, as the Insurance Information Institute (III) explains. Some percentages of those accidents are rear-end collisions. This makes sense because a speeding motorist:
- Takes longer to brake than a motorist traveling at or below the posted speed limits
- Is more likely to lose control of their vehicle and strike other vehicles
- May not be concerned with keeping a safe distance from other vehicles
- May change lanes to avoid hitting one vehicle, only to strike the rear of a vehicle in the lane they merge into
Every motorist knows speeding is dangerous. Therefore, if a speeding motorist hits you from behind in a car accident, they are likely responsible for your accident-related damages.
Distracted driving, one of the most apparent accident hazards, happens when a motorist:
- Takes their hand off the steering wheel
- Takes their attention away from driving
- Takes the eyes off the road
- Engages in any act that detracts from their focus on safe driving
Texting while driving, eating or drinking, taking photos or videos, and engaging in conversations are common examples of distracted driving.
A motorist whose attention is away from the road or whose hands are not on the wheel may not see hazards like braking vehicles or being unable to brake in time to avoid a collision.
Drunk driving, drugged driving, drowsy driving, enraged driving, and other types of impaired driving may:
- Make the motorist more prone to aggressive driving
- Slow the motorist’s reaction time
- Alter the motorist’s depth perception
- Make the motorist more likely to cause a rear-end accident
If a motorist was driving while impaired, it would explain why they hit your vehicle from behind.
Reasons Why a Rear-Ending Driver May Not Be at Fault for a Rear-End Collision
There are a select few instances where the rear-ending motorist may not be liable for their accident, including:
The Motorist in Front Stops for No Reason
If a motorist stops without reason, that motorist may share fault or be entirely at fault for the rear-end accident.
A Vehicle Defect Causes the Collision
If tires, brakes, or another vehicle component fails and causes an accident, the motorist could be liable. For example, if a motorist fails to replace tires that show obvious signs of wear, the motorist may be liable for a resulting rear-end collision.
However, if the vehicle or component that contributed to the accident was defective because of flawed design, components, or assembly, the product manufacturer may be liable for the accident and damages.
Dangerous Road Conditions Cause the Collision
If conditions outside the motorist’s control contribute to the rear-end accident, the party responsible for those conditions may be liable for your accident-related damages. Such conditions may include:
- Potholes or uneven surfaces that cause a tire blowout leading to a rear-end accident
- Malfunctioning traffic lights that require motorists to navigate intersections on their own
- Work crews positioned too close to the roadway, which may cause a motorist to stop suddenly and lead to a rear-end accident
The public institution may be liable for victims’ damages if any other road conditions in the municipality’s control lead to a rear-end accident.
Contact our personal injury lawyers today
Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins to Seek a Financial Recovery for a Rear-End Collision
Do not wait to call in the Strong Arm, as we may face a deadline for filing your case. A car accident lawyer from our team can lead your case so you can focus on restoring your health and well-being.
Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins today for a free consultation.