A car accident can happen in multiple ways, from a minor fender bender to a fatal head-on collision. One of the most common accident types is where one vehicle hits another in the rear. There is a widespread assumption that a rear-end accident is always the fault of the following driver, but this is not always true. This article will describe why and when a rear-end driver may not be at fault.
Negligence As It Applies to Auto Accident Cases
Negligence is the legal term used to describe when a party’s conduct is below the ordinary standard of care. Essentially, a person is considered negligent if their actions are short of what a reasonable person would (or would not) do in a particular situation. To prove a driver’s negligence in an auto accident, car accident attorneys in Tucson, AZ must prove that the other driver owed a duty of care. This part is simple because all motorists are required to exercise care. Secondly, the plaintiff must prove that the duty was breached. A driver can breach the duty of care by:
- Failing to look for hazards or pay attention.
- Failing to stop in time.
- Not maintaining control of the car.
- Not yielding the right of way.
- Not using turn signals.
- Following at an unsafe distance.
Finally, plaintiffs and car accident attorneys in Tucson, AZ must prove that the other person’s breach caused the accident, and that the breach left them with measurable losses such as property damage and bodily injury.
Determining Fault in a Rear-End Collision
The following driver in a rear-end collision is usually considered partially negligent because everyone has a duty to follow at a safe distance. Drivers sometimes stop unexpectedly to avoid road hazards or because of congestion. Motorists should keep enough distance between cars to prevent a collision in the event of a sudden stop. However, the driver in front can be negligent in some cases, such as:
- When they suddenly back up.
- When they stop to turn and fail to do so.
- When brake lights fail.
- When the vehicle has a mechanical issue but does not turn on hazard lights.
In these scenarios, the driver in front would be considered negligent. The effects of the plaintiff’s negligence depend on its contribution to the accident and the way the state handles accidents where parties share the blame. Consult an attorney with for a free evaluation of an auto accident claim.