It is possible to be found liable if your car is rear-ended, but rear end collisions are usually the fault of the driver in the rear. Liability in rear-end collisions is typically based on negligence, and this means that you can be held liable if you were not driving in a reasonably safe manner for the road conditions.
Liability is often straightforward in rear end crashes. If you are sitting at a stop light and another vehicle crashes into you, it may be obvious that the other driver was 100 percent at fault. Occasionally, however, rear end collisions are much more complicated, and the driver in front is not always blameless. A lawyer’s help can be critical to showing how the accident really happened, and who is truly to blame.
What really counts as a “rear end crash”?
Most people think of a rear end collision as one car slamming directly into another from the rear. But rear end collisions actually include any accident where the front of one car strikes the rear of another, even if it just glances off one side of the bumper.
Rear end collisions are quite common at slow speeds in parking lots, where drivers tend to have a lot of distractions. But they can also be serious and deadly, especially when they happen on highways and interstates. And many rear end collisions set off a chain reaction, with the car that is hit being propelled forward and hitting the car in front of it.
Why is the driver in the rear usually liable?
Most of the time, if the driver in the rear had been following traffic laws and using safe driving practices, the accident would never have happened. In legal terms, this type of carelessness is known as negligence. When a driver is negligent, he or she is legally liable and his or her insurance policy must pay for all injuries and property damage.
Many rear end accidents happen because a driver was distracted by a cell phone, the controls on the dashboard, or something along the side of the road. When a driver isn’t paying attention to the road and doesn’t see the need to slow down or stop, that driver is negligent. Rear end accidents also commonly happen when one driver is following too closely and doesn’t have enough time to react when the driver in front brakes.
How can the driver in the front be liable?
There are several scenarios where the driver who was rear ended may be held liable for the accident. These include:
- The driver failed to keep the brake lights in working condition
- The driver had the car in reverse when the accident happened
- The driver “cut off” a car by turning or changing laneswithout signaling
- The front driver used the brakes for no reason
- The driver didn’t pull the car off the road when it broke down
Insurance companies often assume that the driver in the rear is liable, even when the circumstances indicate that the accident may actually have been the fault of the driver in front. More investigation and a lawyer’s help may be needed to determine who was really at fault.
Can more than one driver be liable?
Yes. Car accidents are not always all-or-nothing, and sometimes more than one driver was negligent. When this happens, Georgia uses a comparative fault system to determine which insurance company must pay for the injuries and damage. You can still recover money even if you were partly at fault, as long as your proportion of the fault is less than 50 percent.
If the insurance company claims you are partly or completely at fault, you should know that this is a common insurance company tactic. If you share the fault, the insurance company doesn’t have to pay as much, and that means bigger profits for the insurance company. The best way to handle this is to talk to an experienced rear end collision lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
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Our firm has been helping rear end accident victims for decades, and we never charge you a fee unless we win you money. Let us give you a FREE consultation to discuss your accident and answer your questions. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.