Rear-end collisions usually occur when one driver is following too close to the driver in front of them. However, in some cases, the driver in front may be liable for an accident.
When the Driver in the Back Is Liable for a Rear-End Collision
A driver who is following another vehicle has a duty to leave sufficient space between the two cars so that he or she will be able to slow down or stop suddenly, if necessary. If one vehicle hits another from behind, the driver in the rear vehicle is usually found liable.
The person in front may hit the brakes suddenly because of an animal in the road, a pothole, a car or bicycle entering the roadway unexpectedly, a traffic jam, or for another reason.
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When the Driver in Front May Be Responsible
Drivers have a duty to obey the rules of the road and to act reasonably and responsibly. If a motorist changes lanes suddenly without signaling, misses a turn, and then puts the vehicle in reverse, that person’s erratic and unpredictable behavior may cause the driver in the back to hit the lead vehicle.
A driver of a defective vehicle has a duty to protect other motorists from harm. If a vehicle breaks down, the operator should remove it from the road, if possible. If a driver is unable to get a defective vehicle out of a traffic lane, he or she should use the hazard lights to warn other motorists who could be in danger so they can avoid a crash.
When Both Drivers May Share Liability
Sometimes both drivers contribute to a crash. Under those circumstances, laws on comparative negligence can affect each party’s ability to obtain financial compensation. Comparative negligence statutes differ from state to state.
Some states follow the principle of pure contributory negligence. In those jurisdictions, a person who is even one percent liable for an accident may not collect compensation for his or her injuries and associated losses.
Other states adhere to the principle of pure comparative fault. A person who is 99 percent liable for a collision may collect compensation, but a financial award will be reduced to account for that person’s amount of liability.
Many states have laws that are based on the principle of modified comparative fault. For example, in some states, an injured person may recover a financial award, as long as he or she is less than 50 percent responsible for an accident.
How a Personal Injury Attorney May Be Able to Help You
If you were hurt in a rear-end collision, you may have suffered serious injuries. One of the most common injuries in a rear-end collision is whiplash. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is a soft tissue injury that happens when the neck snaps back and forth quickly. Symptoms of whiplash and other injuries could have left you unable to work, either temporarily or permanently. You may require ongoing care for months or years, or even for the rest of your life. The accident may permanently affect your ability to care for yourself and to earn a living.
You may be entitled to a financial award to cover your costs for past and future medical care, lost income, lost or reduced earning capacity, and pain and suffering. An attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf against the other driver.
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Berger and Green has represented thousands of clients who were injured in car accidents and helped them seek justice. We may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused the rear-end collision and seek a financial award on your behalf.
Personal injury cases related to car accidents can be settled out of court. That can save time and money for both parties. If we are unable to come to an agreement with an attorney representing the other party, however, we may take the case to trial.
You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. Each state has a statute of limitations that requires people who have suffered personal injuries to file a lawsuit within a specific period of time. If you miss the deadline, you may be unable to seek financial compensation for your losses.
A member of our team can listen to what happened to you and explain how your state’s laws may affect your ability to seek a financial award. Call Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 to discuss your case.