Is it always your fault if you hit another car from behind?

A rear-end accident occurs when one vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle. These types of collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents in the United States. More than 6 million car crashes are reported to law enforcement each year and rear-end collisions account for more than one-third of those accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic California Residents Arguing About the Blame of a Rear-End CollisionSafety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, more people are injured in rear-end accidents than any other type of crash; these collisions injure more than 500,000 and kill nearly 2,000 people annually.

After a rear-end accident, many people just assume that the driver who did the rear-ending is the one to blame. This is often correct since many of these collisions are caused by excessive speed, traveling too closely behind another vehicle or distracted driving.  One NHTSA study found that distraction of the trailing driver was a factor in 87 percent of rear-end accidents. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. The first driver may potentially share in liability if they:

  • Reverse suddenly
  • Have non-functioning brake lights
  • Stop to turn, but then change direction at the last moment
  • Leave a disabled vehicle in the middle of the road without turning on hazard lights or setting up emergency triangles
  • Stopping quickly for no reason

It's also important to note that being partially responsible for a rear-end accident doesn't necessarily preclude a driver from collecting compensation for damages. California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that each party is liable for their percentage of fault and their financial award is reduced according to their respective liability.

Do You Have Questions About a California Rear-End Accident?

If you were injured in a rear-end accident that was not your fault, or even partially your fault, you may be concerned about whether you're eligible to collect compensation for medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and other losses. The knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can review the details of your case, and help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 to request an appointment for a free initial case consultation.