Car accidents occur in many different ways. One scenario involves a trailing car rear-ending the one in front of it. This type of accident is very common—in fact, there are about 1.7 million rear-end car accidents in the U.S. every year. Many people believe that the trailing driver—the one who rear-ends the other car—is automatically held liable in accidents like these. But, that’s not necessarily true.
When is the Trailing Driver Liable?
Every driver is responsible for leaving ample space between his car and the car in front of him. This way, each driver has enough space to stop his car and avoid a collision if the driver in front of him suddenly slows down or slams on his brakes. If a driver fails to leave enough space, he could rear-end the car in front of him when he is forced to suddenly come to a stop. This accident could have been avoided if the trailing driver had simply fulfilled his legal duty as a safe driver. For this reason, the trailing driver is often held liable for rear-end accidents.
When is the Leading Driver Liable?
The fault does not always lie solely with the trailing driver. Sometimes, the leading driver is partially to blame for a rear-end accident. For example, let’s say the leading driver’s car did not have brake lights at the time of the accident. As a result, the trailing driver could not tell when the leading driver was braking. In this case, both drivers may share fault. The leading driver is at fault for driving a car that did not have brake lights, whereas the trailing driver is at fault for not leaving enough space between the two cars to safely come to a stop.
If both drivers are partly to blame, who will recover compensation? The laws of comparative negligence come into play when two or more parties share fault in a personal injury case. These laws state that a jury must decide how each party contributed to the accident before compensation is awarded. For instance, let’s say a jury believes the trailing driver is 60% liable, and the leading driver is 40% liable for the crash. The jury also decides that the leading driver is entitled to $10,000 for his injuries. Since the leading driver was 40% liable, he will only receive 60% of the compensation he has been awarded. This ensures the driver is not fully compensated for an accident that he is partially responsible for causing.
Have you been injured in a rear-end accident? If so, contact The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC at once. Rear-end accidents can lead to serious long-term injuries, and our personal injury attorneys will ensure you are fully compensated for these damages. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation today.