Many drivers believe that in an accident involving a rear-end collision, the rear-end driver is always at fault. However, this is not always the case. Depending on the laws in your state and the circumstances of your accident, it might be possible that the driver you rear-ended could be responsible for the accident. If you were the rear-end driver, here is what you need to know.
What Do You Have to Prove?
In car accidents, negligence plays a big role in whether or not a driver is responsible for the accident. Depending on the state in which you live, if you can prove that the driver you rear-ended was negligent, you might be able to argue that he or she was responsible for the accident. If you are successful in your claim, you could possibly receive compensation for your injuries and other damage.
To prove negligence, you will need to focus on the actions of the other driver and how the state law applies to his or her actions. For instance, if the other driver had brake lights that were not functioning, you could argue that the lack of working lights prevented you from knowing the other driver was stopping and also violated the state's laws for having functional brake lights.
What If You Are Partially Responsible?
In some states, the law allows for a percentage of fault to be assigned to each driver. If you are unable to prove that the other driver caused the accident, you might be able to argue that his or her actions contributed to the accident. If you are successful, the amount of responsibility you have could be reduced.
For instance, if the other driver jammed on his or her brakes without warning and you rear-ended his or her car because you were following too closely to stop at a safe distance, you and the other driver might split the blame 50-50.
What Can You Do?
Regardless of if you can prove the other driver is at fault, you still need to go through the proper steps to work towards a settlement. Even if the other driver is found to be not at fault, you will still need to file a claim with your own insurance company.
Immediately following the accident, you should seek medical treatment and consult with a car accident attorney, such as those found at Monohan & Blankenship. He or she can review your accident and help you understand whether or not your state's laws will help you recover any compensation from the other driver.