The rules of the road are there for your safety and the safety of other drivers. One very important rule is that a driver must keep a safe distance between their car and the car in front of them. When a careless driver fails to abide by this fundamental rule of driving safety, accidents are bound to happen and a rear end collision is almost unavoidable.
Responsibility Usually Falls on the Person Driving the Car in the Back
In the great majority of cases, responsibility for a rear end collision is clear-cut and falls upon the driver who was driving the car in the back of the car that was rear ended. The reason is simple: had the driver in the back followed the all-important rule of maintaining a safe distance between their car and the car in front of them, he or she would have had sufficient time to apply the brakes or swerve and thereby avoid a collision. But responsibility does not always fall totally (100%) on the driver that failed to keep a safe distance. Responsibility, or in legal terms, liability, can fall totally (100%) on the driver in the front, or it can be apportioned between both drivers.
When Liability Falls on Driver in the Front
In some cases, a person may be driving very cautiously, always maintaining a safe distance in between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them, and suddenly another vehicle may swerve in front of their vehicle without warning and without using a turn signal. In such a case, the driver in back may not be able to avoid a collision and due to no fault of their own. Liability could fall entirely on the driver in the front such that the driver in front could be held 100% responsible for the accident.
When Liability Is Apportioned
Depending on the circumstances, both drivers may be at fault for a rear-end collision. For example, if one driver is driving too fast (in excess of the speed limit) and another driver suddenly and with no warning cuts in front of their vehicle without using a turn signal, both drivers have violated rules of safe driving. Under the rule of comparative fault, which is applied in California car accident cases, both drivers could be found partially responsible. Each can be 50% responsible, or one driver can be 60% responsible and the other 40% responsible, or responsibility can be apportioned according to a different percentage.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, talk to a car accident attorney in order to preserve your legal rights and determine whether you have a case. Even if you were partially responsible, you may still be able to bring a legal claim against the other driver. Call 619-955-5578 today and talk to a personal injury attorney and begin protecting your rights.