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Who is Liable in a Rear-End Collision?

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Rear-end car collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents that occur. Determining liability is usually not difficult, as a rear-end occurs when a vehicle is struck from the back while traveling in the same lane.

While most cases will place fault on the driver that struck the other vehicle, some situations may create murkier waters when deciphering who is to blame. It is essential to understand which instances create problems for proving liability when you are in this situation.

Rear-End Collision Liability is Typically not Difficult to Discern

When this type of accident occurs, the liable party is almost always the driver in the back. Usually, this driver was distracted and did not notice the stopped vehicle in front of them or had the means to prevent the crash from occurring.

Texas and New Mexico laws are clear that drivers must leave substantial distance between them and the car in front of them. These laws are in place to try and ensure safety when a driver has to stop or slow down suddenly. Leaving space between yourself and the driver ahead of you gives you ample reaction time. Violating this law is what usually makes liability easy to determine in rear-end collision cases.

When the Driver in the Back is Not At Fault

With that said, there are several situations you can be thrust into that make proving liability much trickier. A driver in the back of a rear-end collision might not be to blame in the following scenarios:

  • A vehicle is at a complete standstill in the middle of the road
  • The vehicle is malfunctioning but the driver fails to turn on its hazard lights
  • A multiple car collision that pushed your vehicle forward
  • The front driver does not signal their turn
  • The front driver’s brake lights don’t work
  • The front driver accelerates in reverse
  • A recalled design on a vehicle that causes an issue while driving
    • This makes the car manufacturer the liable party

How Do You Prove Liability

When you find yourself in this situation, you are in charge of proving liability. There are several ways that you can establish your case. If there are bystanders nearby, ask them to provide eyewitness testimonies.

Look at the police report that was made and see if it gives any details that provide evidence like what happened right before the collision took place or the names and contact information for the witnesses. Check to see if photographs were taken of skid marks on the road, debris, and damage to your vehicle.

Sometimes your case may need an expert in accident reconstruction. It is their job to evaluate the damages to your vehicle and collect other sources of evidence to determine critical details of the crash that will help determine the liability of the case.

If the cause of your crash was because of defective parts from your car’s manufacturer, you must take your car to a shop to be inspected. If one part of your car malfunctioned, you must look to see if any other areas of the vehicle need to be repaired to avoid another collision. After that, start researching to see if other drivers of the exact vehicle have had a similar problem as you.

What Our Attorneys at Templeton Smithee Hayes Heinrich & Russell, LLP Can Do For You

When you are involved in a rear-end collision, your car accident attorney at Templeton Smithee Hayes Heinrich & Russell, LLP can aid you in sorting through the details of the case. Though the driver in the back is most commonly the one to blame, they are not always liable.

Whether you need various sources of evidence like photographs, eyewitness accounts, testimonies, or an expert in accident reconstruction, our team can help guide you through the process to help you get justice and the compensation you may be entitled to.

After fault is determined, our attorneys will help you start your claim. We might be able to write a letter to your insurance company on your behalf, and we will help you stay informed on all matters of your case. We will help you decide if you should accept a settlement or have you back in a courtroom if your case proceeds to trial.

At any stage of your case, our team is here to help you. Let us stand by your side and get you the help you deserve.

Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and have us start reviewing your case. We have represented thousands of clients in the Texas panhandle and Eastern New Mexico, and we want to do the same for you. Don’t hesitate, call today.