Rear-end collisions are some of the most commonly reported vehicle accidents in California. These accidents happen in many different places for various reasons. In most rear-end collisions, the trailing driver is responsible for the incident. All drivers have a duty of care to prevent collisions with vehicles in front of them. If a driver is not paying attention, speeding, or tailgating closely to a leading driver, they can easily cause a rear-end collision.

While many drivers assume that a trailing driver is always liable for a rear-end collision, this is not necessarily true, and there are several possible scenarios in which the leading driver bears some or all liability for a rear-end collision, even when they are driving in the lead. If you have recently been involved in a rear-end collision with unclear liability, an experienced lawyer is the best resource to consult to determine your best options for legal recourse.

Who is at fault in a rear end collision?

How Can Rear-End Collisions Happen?

Rear-end collisions can happen virtually anywhere. Some of the most commonly reported causes of rear-end collisions include:

  • Speeding. When drivers exceed posted speed limits they may not have adequate time or distance to avoid crashing into another vehicle in front of them.
  • Dangerous road conditions. While southern California generally enjoys very pleasant weather throughout most of the year, severe weather is possible, and various other issues can make roads slick. Always use caution if road quality is a concern. Braking inappropriately in dangerous road conditions can easily cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Distraction. Distracted driving is the leading cause of all traffic accidents in the US. When a driver isn’t paying attention to the road in front of them, they may fail to notice a leading driver slowing down or stopping in time to avoid crashing into them.
  • Improper reversing. Some rear-end collisions occur when leading drivers back up into the vehicles behind them.
  • Impaired driving. Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal and very dangerous. Impaired drivers typically experience diminished judgment and spatial awareness, and they can easily cause rear-end collisions with other vehicles.
  • Broken vehicle lights. If a driver’s brake lights are malfunctioning, a driver behind them may not notice they are slowing down or stopping and collide with their vehicle. While the trailing driver would bear some fault for this kind of accident, it is also possible for the leading driver to absorb some fault if they failed to fix their brake lights after realizing they were not working.
  • Faulty brakes. If there is any issue with your vehicle’s brakes you must have it checked as soon as possible. Your braking system is one of the most important components of your vehicle, and faulty brakes may prevent you from stopping in time to avoid a rear-end collision with another vehicle.

Ultimately, rear-end collisions can happen on virtually any road for a variety of reasons, and fault for this kind of accident isn’t always immediately clear. If you recently suffered injuries and other damages in a rear-end collision and believe another driver is to blame, it’s vital to consult an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to determine your best options for legal recourse.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Determining fault for a car accident is the first step toward recovering compensation for your damages. If another driver is to blame for your recent rear-end collision, an attorney can help you prove their liability and help you secure compensation for your damages. Some car accidents can be resolved through insurance, and California requires all drivers to carry auto insurance that provides liability coverage. However, insurance may not fully cover the damages from a severe accident.

If you need to take legal action beyond an insurance claim it’s essential to consult an experienced lawyer to start building your case. Attorney can obtain evidence that can support their clients’ claims, help their clients calculate the damages they can seek with their legal actions, and ultimately improve the client’s chances of securing the compensation they deserve after a rear-end collision.

FAQs

Q: How Is Fault Determined in a Rear-End Collision Claim?
A:
In most rear-end collision cases, the trailing driver is responsible for this type of crash. However, there are many situations in which a leading driver could also bear fault. Determining liability will be different for every rear-end collision case. You may need an attorney to help you obtain traffic camera recordings and other data and to secure eyewitness testimony from others who saw the accident happen.

Q: Is It Always My Fault If I Rear-End Another Driver?
A:
Typically, you will bear liability if you cause a rear-end collision with another vehicle. However, there are some situations in which the other driver may share fault for the incident. If they suddenly stopped inappropriately, failed to fix a broken brake light or deteriorated braking system, or if they negligently backed up into your vehicle, they would bear at least partial liability for the incident.

Q: Can I File an Insurance Claim for a Rear-End Collision?
A:
California uses a fault system for resolving car accidents. This means that if another driver causes an accident with your vehicle you have the right to file a claim against their auto insurance policy. On the other hand, if you cause an accident with another driver they would have the right to claim against your insurance. An experienced attorney can help you navigate any complex insurance issues you encounter after a rear-end collision.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Car Accident Dispute?
A:
Some car accident claims can be resolved in a matter of weeks while others will take much longer. A few of the factors that determine the most likely timetable for a car accident case are the clearness of liability, the availability of evidence, and the willingness of the parties involved to negotiate a settlement.

Rear-end collisions can be frustrating and damaging experiences, and fault isn’t always immediately clear. If you need legal assistance following a rear-end collision, the team at Easton & Easton can assist you. Our firm has helped many past clients resolve complex car accident claims and we can put this experience to work for you. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can help you recover from your recent accident in southern California.