Which Driver is Liable for a Rear-End Collision?

Rear-end collisions can cause whiplash, bruising, and other serious injuries. To determine liability for these types of car accidents, factors such as driver distraction may be considered. Although rear-end collisions can be caused by many different things, fault is automatically assigned to the driver who is behind the other driver, in many cases. However, this is not always the case. It is possible for other drivers and different parties to be liable for a rear-end collision.

Back Driver Liability

It is common for the back driver to be held liable for a rear-end collision. This is because rear-end collisions are frequently caused by drivers who are not paying attention to the road and other drivers in front of them. This may be because the driver is distracted, inebriated, or simply just unaware. If you were rear-ended by another driver, it is likely that proving their liability will not be difficult.

Front Driver Liability

Although back drivers are frequently held liable for rear-end collisions, it is possible for the front driver to be found at fault as well. This may be because of a lack of awareness or reckless driving.

The front driver may be held liable for a rear-end collision if they:

  • Are distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Stop abruptly

  • Make a sudden turn

  • Back into another driver

Liability for Multi-Vehicle Collisions

When multiple vehicles are involved in a rear-end-type collision, determining liability can be complex. Finding at-fault parties may involve analyzing the negligence of each driver.

In the state of California, comparative negligence laws are in place so multiple parties can be held liable for damages. Each involved party will be assigned a percentage of fault, which determines how much their compensation will be reduced. For example, a person who is entitled to $50,000 in damages would have their compensation reduced by $5,000 if they are found to be 10% at fault for the accident. Even in cases involving two drivers, it’s possible that the front and back driver could be found at fault under California’s comparative negligence laws.

Third-Party Liability

It is possible for people or entities other than drivers to be held liable for rear-end collisions as well. Mechanics and vehicle manufacturers can be held liable for collisions caused by maintenance issues. Construction companies and government entities may be held liable for accidents caused by road conditions.

Determining liability will depend on the details of your case. Tedford & Associates can represent you if you have been injured in a car accident. Contact us today to discuss your collision claim.

To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, complete our contact form or call (626) 325-0142.


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