Is the Lead Driver Ever at Fault in a Rear End Auto Accident?

,In a rear-end, auto accident fault may seem fairly simple to determine. Isn’t the car in the back the one that’s probably at fault?

Usually, but not always. There are times when the lead car is at fault. You should expect police and other investigators to go through the same process when determining fault after a rear-end accident as they’d go through for any accident.

Examples of Lead Car Liability in a Rear-End Accident

One common example of an accident where the lead car might be at fault is an accident where the driver makes an improper lane change, cutting the rear driver off. Another example might be a driver who stops suddenly to make a turn and fails to execute it.

Another common example is a driver who gets a flat tire and fails to pull over before the vehicle comes to a stop, or who fails to engage emergency lighting to let the drivers behind them know there is a problem. 

Drivers who drive with improperly maintained vehicles might also be at fault. For example, if the brake lights are out then the driver behind the vehicle will have no way of knowing that the driver in front of them is about to come to a stop.

What about sudden braking?

Fault in an accident where the lead driver hit the brakes suddenly will be determined by whether the other driver was maintaining a safe following distance. Cars should be leaving several car lengths of distance between one another to prevent these sorts of accidents.

It may also depend on whether the rear-ending driver was distracted at the time of the collision. For example, if you were struggling with your GPS system at the time of the accident then you might be at fault when you plow into a driver who comes to a sudden stop in front of you.

Never assume you’re in the clear!

Never assume you’re in a “no-doubt” liability situation with another driver, even if you were in the car that got rear-ended. While there’s a 99% chance the other driver was at fault, you still want to take the same steps and precautions that you’d take in any other car accident. 

This means you’re going to get insurance information. Get contact information from all witnesses, take plenty of photos, get medical attention. After gathering all of those stuff, call your attorney as soon as possible. If at all possible you’re going to avoid giving a statement to an insurance adjuster. You’re going to let your attorney do that for you.

Insurance companies will do everything they can to use Arizona’s comparative negligence laws against you. The more fault they can assign to you, the less money they have to pay. Don’t assume fault until the fault has been officially determined.

Have you been injured in a rear-end auto accident? Contact Tony Merchant today. We offer video and phone appointments. That means you can get help from in town or city in the state of Arizona. We’re here to help.