Who Is Responsible for a Rear-End Car Accident?

Rear-end car accidents are often brushed off as “taps” or even “fender benders,” but the truth is that this type of auto accident affects thousands of Americans every year. In fact, the Washington Post reported in 2015 that there are approximately 1.7 million rear-end collisions each year, with an average of 500,000 people injured in these wrecks.

Whether caused by a distracted driver, a multi-car pileup on the freeway, or an unfortunate weather incident, your rear-end car accident may leave you with lasting injuries and whiplash. With over 150 years of combined professional experience, the team at Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C. can help you seek the compensation that you deserve after such a collision.

The first step, however, is to determine who is responsible for your rear-end crash. While this may sound pretty straightforward, there are a few things you should keep in mind before filing a claim.

Understanding Liability for Car Accidents

Each state has different rules governing car accident fault and liability, so it’s important to review your case with an attorney who knows the laws in your state. In an “at fault” state like Georgia, the driver who caused the crash will be held responsible for the other driver’s injuries. Georgia also goes by the rule of “modified comparative fault,” which means that you cannot recover compensation if you are more than 50% responsible for your car accident.

Who Is Responsible for a Rear-End Crash?

Although the concept of fault is fairly easy to understand in theory, it can be difficult to apply in real-life scenarios – particularly when you have been involved in a rear-end accident. Many people assume that the tailing driver is always responsible, because the collision takes place at the back of the car. However, many factors can contribute to a rear-end collision and liability isn’t always clear-cut. If you were the tailing driver and were not responsible for the crash, you will need seasoned representation to make your case.

Here are a few situations where the rear-end driver may not be at fault:

  • Bad weather conditions (such as icy roads or hurricanes) forced the tailing driver into the back of the front driver’s car.
  • The front driver braked suddenly and without any warning.
  • The front driver failed to maintain their brake or back tail lights, resulting in a lack of visibility.
  • A second rear driver bumped into the tailing driver, causing a multi-car collision.
  • The front driver executed an unsuccessful turn, causing the back driver to collide with them.
  • The front driver went into reverse without warning or reason.
  • Heavy traffic conditions on the freeway caused a “domino effect” with dozens of cars.

In any of the scenarios above, an attorney would need to perform an extensive investigation and clarify which driver was ultimately responsible for the crash. In the event of bad weather, liability will be determined based on how drivers responded to the changing road conditions – for example, by speeding up or braking too quickly at the wrong moment.

There are also many scenarios where a tailing driver could be responsible for a rear-end crash:

  • Distracted driving, such as texting behind the wheel
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
  • Following too closely to the preceding car (tailgating)
  • Engaging in road rage and aggressive following behavior
  • Not accounting for speed limit changes

What Is the Result of a Rear-End Car Accident?

Aside from causing major property damage, rear-end car accidents can leave both front and rear drivers with lasting, catastrophic injuries. If the airbag fails to deploy in either car, drivers can be thrown into the front dashboard or even against the front window, resulting in traumatic brain injury (TBI), full-body paralysis, and fractures along the front side of the body.

Whiplash is also a common side effect in rear-end car accidents, due to the back-and-forth motion that these crashes generate. The effects are more pronounced when drivers are caught unawares, as the muscles relax and become more flexible than if they were prepared for a crash.

Call Our Cobb County Attorneys Today

Whatever your role in a rear-end car accident, it’s important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Without legal guidance, it may be difficult to secure the compensation you need for serious injuries. At Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C., we prepare every case for trial litigation and strive to deliver cost-effective services to our clients. Learn what makes us different when you call today!

We’re available at (770) 629-0154 for inquiries or to schedule a free case evaluation.

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