If you're ever involved in an auto accident where another driver rear-ends your vehicle, you'd expect that driver to be found at fault. While this happens most of the time, there are exceptions to the rule. In some cases, you could end up sharing some of the blame for the accident in question.
Being deemed partially at fault for being rear-ended often comes as a shock to accident victims. The following explains just how you could be found at fault, why it happens, and what you can do to limit your liability and receive compensation for your injuries.
Understanding the Rules of the Road
Whenever you're behind the wheel of a vehicle, you're expected to use good judgment to keep yourself and other motorists out of harm's way. Part of that judgment includes establishing a safe following distance from other vehicles in case the lead vehicle makes a sudden stop.
Most states don't mandate a specific following distance for motorists, so drivers typically adhere to the two-second or three-second rule, where drivers maintain at least two seconds worth of space between each other. Under ideal circumstances, this rule gives following drivers enough time to take evasive action in case the lead vehicle makes a panic stop.
Ways You Can Share the Blame
While the following driver has a duty to avoid a potential collision with the lead vehicle by maintaining a safe following distance, the lead driver also has responsibilities of their own. It's up to the lead driver to avoid scenarios where they could potentially trigger a rear-end collision due to their negligence. As a result, there are plenty of ways you could share the blame for a rear-end collision as the lead vehicle.
Braking hard for a missed turn or braking in preparation for a turn only to change your mind at the last minute are just two lapses in judgment that could translate into fault in the event of an accident. Having non-functioning brake lights on your vehicle also constitutes negligence, which could also leave you at fault during an accident.
Brake checking is also another action that could have you deemed at fault for any rear-end collision that follows. Not only is it a reckless act, but it's also one that could carry criminal penalties. The proliferation of dash-mounted cameras has made actions like these easier for insurance companies to investigate and law enforcement agencies to prosecute.
How It Affects Your Injury Claims
As with any other type of at-fault accident, your level of liability for a rear-end collision depends on a variety of factors, including the insurance company's findings, eyewitness accounts and even proof from dash camera footage. But the most important thing to worry about is how your state deals with dividing the liability between yourself and the other driver.
The majority of states assign liability based on the concept of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence allows the liability to be split between the following and lead drivers based on their level of negligence. For instance, if you're found 30 percent liable for a rear-end collision, you'll only receive 70 percent of the total possible damages from the following driver.
Some states rely on modified comparative negligence, which places a threshold on the level of fault both drivers can share. If the following driver is found more than 50 percent at fault, for instance, they won't be able to recover damages from you no matter how much fault you're responsible for.
A few states utilize contributory negligence, which means that you could be barred from collecting any compensation from the following driver if said driver proves your negligence was a factor in causing the accident, regardless of how minor that contribution was.
How to Seek Proper Compensation
Just because you're found partially at fault for a rear-end collision doesn't mean you'll totally forfeit your ability to be compensated for your damages. However, the added liability can make the process more difficult. Consult with your auto accident lawyer as soon as possible to learn where you stand and how you can move forward with your case.Share
27 August 2018
Hello, my name is Matthew. Welcome to my site. I am here to talk to you about accident and personal injury attorneys. When I was involved in a serious accident, I had to recover for months in the hospital. My finances suffered due to mounting medical bills and lost wages. I dealt with considerable pain through every phase of the healing process. I worked with an accident and personal injury attorney to obtain compensation for the repercussions of the accident. I created this site to help others find an attorney to work with so they too could acquire compensation following an accident.