Rear-end collisions happen in a moment. All it takes is a moment of lapsed judgment, inattention, or a risky maneuver from another vehicle to result in an accident. In the United States, there are approximately 1.7 million rear-end collisions per year.
If you were in a rear-end collision where your vehicle was the one in the rear, you might be wondering if you are automatically at fault. Many people would assume so, but this isn’t always the case. There are many circumstances where the car in front is at fault.
It is always best to talk with an experienced car accident attorney before drawing any conclusions or admitting guilt in a car accident. Don’t allow insurance companies or the other party to bully you into assuming fault that is not yours. Determining who is at fault can be a complicated process, but having a dedicated car accident attorney can ensure that your case is handled properly and you get the compensation you deserve.
When Would I Not Be At Fault for a Rear-End Collision?
When you are looking to determine which party is at fault for the accident, it is important to note whether either driver acted negligently or exhibited any unpredictable or dangerous behavior. If any of the following things happened at the time of your collision, it may be the driver in front who was at fault, not the driver in the rear:
The Driver was Distracted
If the other driver was talking on the phone, texting, eating, fiddling with the radio, or engaging in any other kind of distracted behavior, that driver may be at fault. This is especially true if the driver was driving erratically, drifting across lanes, or making unpredictable/unexpected moves.
According to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents in the United States. In fact, in 2017, distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives. The leading causes are often talking or texting on the phone while driving, adjusting music controls, or using the GPS. Unfortunately, even the safest driver cannot predict or control the behavior of another driver. Even if you are keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you, the most dangerous actions can happen unexpectedly in a matter of seconds, giving you no room to react.
The Other Driver Was Drunk or Impaired
If the driver in front of you was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may not be at fault for the collision. Driving while impaired is known to reduce the reaction time, reasoning, and coordination of drivers. This may be the case if the driver in front of you was driving sporadically or suddenly switched lanes.
The Other Vehicle Was Standing Still in the Middle of Traffic
All drivers are taught that if their car breaks down, it is best to try and move the vehicle safely to the side of the road. However, sometimes this isn’t possible. When a car suddenly breaks down in the road, or has been broken down but has no indicator on such as hazard lights, an accident is likely to happen. Even if you are driving safely, it is still possible that you may not be able to get out of the way in time, or that you don’t see the broken down car until too late because of obstructions near the road.
The Other Driver Made an Improper Turn
If a driver makes an illegal turn and cuts you off, causing you to rear-end them, they may be at fault. Even if the other driver had the right to make a turn, they must first make sure that traffic has cleared and it is safe to make the turn.
The Other Driver Backed Up Suddenly
If the driver in front of you suddenly slammed on their brakes for no reason, then you might not be at fault for the rear-end collision.
The Other Driver’s Brake Lights Weren’t Working Properly
If the other driver’s brake lights were not indicating that the vehicle was slowing down, you may not be at fault for the collision.
Establishing Fault In a Rear-End Collision
When it comes to most traffic laws, the rule of thumb is that drivers are required to have enough space between them and the vehicle in front of them so that they can safely stop if there is traffic or an obstruction up ahead. A driver who is not able to safely stop is driving too close. However, there are circumstances in which even a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you is not able to stop you from getting into an accident. In these circumstances, it is important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side. They can look at the facts from the accident, such as damage to both vehicles, the state of the driver who was hit and witness testimony to show the fault of the other driver.
Texas Car Accident Attorneys Will Fight for You
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end collision, you need to get the right legal team to help you prove your case and get you the compensation you deserve. It takes a lot of legal knowledge and experience with car accident cases to prove that the front driver was at fault in a rear-end collision. The attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. have that experience. They leave no stone unturned in their quest to get you all the compensation that you are entitled to. Contact our team today for a free, no-obligation consultation.