When authorities assess the scene of a rear-end collision, procedure demands the investigation of the factors involved in the crash to discern which driver is at fault. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33% of accidents in 2012 resulted from rear-end collisions. Assigning fault requires the careful interpretation of specific details involved in each accident.
Motorists have a duty to make careful, responsible decisions when driving. When a driver fails to adhere to standard driving laws, negligent driving may be determined to be involved in the car accident. Negligence results from a driver’s inadequate response to traffic or road conditions that leads to an accident.
Who is at Fault?
The Assured Clear Distance Ahead rule stems from the expectation that drivers in the tailing car will travel a safe distance behind the leading car. Therefore, the tailing driver is often assigned fault in rear-end collisions due to failure to abide by this rule. Rear car drivers need to account for unexpected driving changes by the leading car when determining an appropriate distance to maintain between vehicles. In the event that the leading car stops suddenly to avoid an oncoming accident, a rear car following too closely may inadvertently cause a rear-end collision.
Fault is not automatically assigned to the tailing driver, however. The circumstances surrounding the accident can indicate that the leading driver needs to be held accountable for irresponsible driving. For example, an impact resulting from the leading car accidentally reversing into the rear car usually clears the tailing driver from fault since the leading car made the obvious driving mistake. Thus, each rear-end collision must be analyzed for telling details that explain the nature of the accident.
When assessing negligent behaviors, it needs to be determined that the duty to exercise caution while driving was violated by one or both of the parties involved. Verifiable indications of the violation must be present to confirm that the accountable driver did indeed cause the accident and related damages. Negligent behaviors include:
- Distracted or reckless driving
- Failure to stop
- Losing control of a vehicle
- Sudden and accidental reversing
- Failure to signal
- Failure to heed posted speed limits
The Bottom Line
Every auto accident involves individual variables that contribute to the collision. In regards to rear-end accidents, a likelihood exists that the tailing driver will be directly or partially faulted for the crash. Not all accidents will be implicitly evident of the tailing driver’s negligent behavior, however. Thus, all factors need to be considered to ensure that the correct conclusion is drawn from accident details. Accidents can be caused by the leading car, the tailing car, or unexpected hazards such as the careless behavior of pedestrians illegally entering the flow of traffic. Since all accidents are considered preventable, assigning fault is typically warranted and necessary for subsequent matters involving damages and injuries.
If complicating factors raise question marks in the case, legal representation may be necessary to protect the rights of the parties involved. Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, an experienced Philadelphia injury attorney, is proficient in handling rear-end collisions. If legal action is necessary, contact Jeffrey Harlan Penneys today at 1-800InjuryLaw (1-800-465-8795) for competent legal services regarding rear-end collisions.