Who Is At Fault for a Rear-End Car Accident?

February 21, 2024
Our Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Represent Clients Injured in Rear-End Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that the most common reason for rear-end collisions is distracted driving, followed by tailgating. Even so, while the driver in the back vehicle is usually found liable, the fault for a rear-end car accident can lie elsewhere. How can that be determined?

The NHTSA reports that distracted drivers cause 87 percent of rear-end collisions. Common distractions include texting and driving, playing with a GPS, arguing with another passenger, and fixing one’s hair in the rearview mirrors. The likelihood of these crashes increases significantly when distracted drivers are following too closely.

These are other negligent behaviors that can cause rear-end accidents:

  • Driving under influence
  • Fatigue
  • Ignoring traffic signs and signal
  • Inexperience
  • Improper turns
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating or following at other unsafe distances

What Is Brake Checking?

It is also possible for drivers in the first cars to contribute to rear-end accidents. One example is brake checking, when the lead driver purposely hits their brakes to intimidate, frighten, or anger the driver behind them. It can be seen as aggression or even road rage. This behavior is hazardous, often leading to collisions and dangerous or deadly escalations of anger. It typically counts as a traffic violation and might lead to reckless driving charges.

The vehicle’s rear-ended driver could also be deemed negligent for suddenly putting their car into reverse when someone is behind them. The lead vehicle’s brake lights might have been out during the accident; another case might involve the lead car having a mechanical defect that the owner did not address.

Determining Fault

Proving fault in rear-end accidents generally starts with a police report that details what happened. The reporting officer might include information about what caused the crash, which might work in your favor.

Eyewitnesses can also provide evidence. Another source is video footage from traffic cameras. Some cars have “black boxes” that record speed, force of impact, and other important information as well.

The NHTSA reports that motorists are usually responsible for rear-end accidents. Other, less likely possibilities include:

  • Mechanics: If a body shop employee performed subpar work on your car, you could file a claim against them or their employer.
  • Vehicle or parts manufacturers: Brakes can fail because of faulty parts, paving the way for product liability claims.
  • Government agencies: Poor road design and maintenance can lead to a rear-end collision, but holding these agencies accountable can be challenging.

Our Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Represent Clients Injured in Rear-End Accidents

Liability in rear-end accidents is not always straightforward. For a confidential consultation, contact our experienced Chester County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.