Who’s at fault in a rear end accident?


In almost all cases, if you hit a car in the back with your car, you will be ruled at fault. As a driver, you are responsible for what your car does. A basic rule of the road is that you should be able to control your vehicle enough to be able to make it stop and avoid an accident. There are some exceptions, and it can get tricky if there are more than two cars involved. If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, it would be a good idea to consult a car accident attorney and discuss your case. When Spanish speaking workers need a lawyer (abogado de accidente de coche), it is wise to consult an attorney who speaks your language.

No-fault states

States set their own rules for car safety rules, and this applies to accidents as well. Traditionally the investigating officer determines who is at fault, and the person at fault’s insurance pays most of the costs. Usually, it is obvious who was at fault. Some states have adopted a no-fault process when it comes to insurance. This means regardless of who is at fault, every person files a claim with their own insurance company. There are positives and negatives to any system, but a no-fault system limits your ability to collect for pain and suffering, so an attorney will be needed if you need to try to recoup more losses.

In Texas, there can be degrees of fault, and that can make it more complicated. Most of the time the driver who rear-ended another vehicle will be at fault because you are supposed to be in control of your vehicle. There are exceptions and in some cases, the person who was rear-ended can be ruled at fault.

Exceptions to the rule

If a car owner or driver is negligent in some way, that could have caused the accident. Someone parking their car, or a trailer, in a traffic lane on a road with no warning signs, could be at fault for leaving a vehicle in the roadway.  Another scenario would be if a driver did not have the car lights on at night, so as a driver you could not reasonably be expected to see a car on the road with no lights. If someone’s car breaks down and they do not have emergency flashers flashing, they could be considered negligent.

There is also the idea of comparative negligence in many states, including Texas. This can get into a judgment call by the investigating officer, but the purpose is to consider how much responsibility each driver had in causing the accident. One person might be 70 percent at fault and the other person 30 percent, for instance.

Proving negligence

In almost all car accidents, the accident was caused by negligence by one or more drivers. Proving that can be tricky. Police reports provide the details, but they are often not allowed as evidence in court cases, though parts of them could be. When you are in an accident it is important to gather as much information as you can, and document as much as you can. Use your phone to take pictures immediately after the accident. Try to find some witnesses who saw the accident and who will give a statement. 

It is very important to get the police report as that will be part of the evidence you need for your case. In Texas if there is a death or injury, or if there is more than $1,000 in damages, you must file a police report in 10 days. if the police investigated your accident, they will have that report.

Getting an attorney

If you have a serious injury, or you realized you have an injury sometime after the accident, it is important to get in touch with a car accident lawyer. In most traffic accidents the reason and liability are fairly obvious, and in many accidents, the damage is relatively minor.

In many cases, there is major damage, and you can be severely injured in a car accident. It is important to not sign a waiver or release of the case because the severity of an injury might not show up until later. Especially in something like a rear-end collision, the laws are complicated and you need a qualified attorney on your side. If you are going against an insurance company, you can be sure they will have a team of lawyers ready to defend the insurance company. Make sure you are on the same level by having your own qualified attorney to represent you in court.



Author: Brandon Park