In a rear-end crash, is the rear driver always at fault?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2024 | Personal Injury

You may have heard people say that the rear driver is always at fault in a rear-end car accident. They are the one who ran into the car ahead of them, so they are liable for the damages in that crash.

This is generally true, but the key thing to remember is that there’s no law saying that the rear driver is always at fault. Instead, the authorities are going to consider which driver was negligent and caused the accident. The negligent driver is at fault. 

In many cases, the rear driver is the one who exhibited negligence because they are supposed to maintain a safe following distance. Even if the driver ahead of them has to stop unexpectedly – such as when a child runs into the street – that driver should have a distance that allows them to safely stop in time.

The front driver can also be negligent

But there are cases in which negligence may be attributed to the driver who was in front. An example of this is if they try to “brake check” the car behind them. This means intentionally slamming on the brakes, probably because they thought that the driver behind them was tailgating.

Brake checking is common, but it’s also illegal. It’s an intentional action designed to cause a car accident. In a scenario like that, the front driver could still be responsible – even if they believe the oft-repeated myth that the rear driver is always at fault. Some people even engage in brake-checking specifically because they believe they can’t be charged, but this is not the case.

Have you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence? If you have, then you need to know all about your legal options to seek compensation.

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