Lawsuit involving rear-end collisions: Fault and Damages

Rear-end collisions are the most common among the various types of collisions that happen on the road. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they make up more than 30% of all highway collisions. If you or someone close to you has been involved in one, a lawsuit might be in order. 

However, there are caveats you need to take into account. In addition, some conditions must be met before you can file your collision lawsuit. So, in this piece, we will overview all you need to know, including what rear-end collision lawyers will require to pursue your case.

Common causes of rear-end collisions 

As the most common type of collision, many causes are known in rear-end collision law. The most common are as follows:

  • Driving while fatigued
  • Road rage or over-speeding
  • Driving under the influence of one substance or another
  • Mechanical or operational failure
  • Tailgating 

Suing for rear-end collision damage 

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You might be able to sue for damages if you have been involved in such an incident. However, the relevant lawsuits are very complex affairs, and many things must be known first. 

For instance, you must know who is liable and to what degree. You also have to assess the extent of the damage and handle some paperwork. All of these must be handled with precision and attention to legal detail, and that’s where rear-end collision lawyers come in. 

Hiring a good one will help you pursue your case and get the best rear-end collision settlements, given the amount of damage. This is especially crucial since insurance firms can sometimes make it hard to tell who is liable.

But then, who is liable when a rear-end collision happens?

Establishing fault

Liability can sometimes be hard to determine, but the person liable usually gets to pay the damages. This is why it is important to pinpoint who is at fault. 

Most of the time, the rear driver is at fault for the crash. This is because it tends to be the rear vehicle that crashes into the front one. Further, drivers are supposed to keep a safe distance when driving behind another vehicle. 

As a rule, they should pass an object at least four seconds after the front vehicle does. As such, when a rear-end collision happens, it might be assumed that the rear driver failed to keep a safe distance or wasn’t paying attention.

However, there are special cases where the driver in front might be at fault for a rear-end collision. For instance, they might have stopped suddenly on a highway or failed to use their trafficator when slowing and turning. It may also be that the front driver suddenly reversed with no prior sign. 


Your lawyer will have to look at some evidence to determine who is liable for the damage in the rear-end collision. This is the evidence that will be tendered at the hearings. 

Your lawyer may go to the scene of the incident, inspect the vehicles involved, and use the data to tell the extent of the damage. However, they will also need other bits of evidence, which will include the following:

  • Testimony from other witnesses to the incident such as bystanders and passengers
  • Any video footage of the event
  • Photos of the crash from after it happened
  • Doctor’s reports on treatments given to anyone who suffered injuries as a result
  • Police reports or statements from the crash scene

Negligence and Rear-End Collision 

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When a person is deemed “negligent” in the eyes of the law, they must pay damages to others hurt due to said negligence. This is why drivers are held liable for the accidents they cause. But what is negligence, to begin with?

Simply put, negligence is failure to act with the right degree of care expected from any reasonable person. This means that a negligent driver is not being as careful as a driver should be on the road. Such a driver has or is failing to do the following:

  • Maintain steady control of his vehicle
  • Pay attention to the road and other vehicles
  • Give the right indications when turning, slowing down, or stopping
  • Obey traffic rules including speed limits

Comparative and Contributory Negligence

These are two main approaches to liability and negligence that you will find in rear-end collision law. Sometimes, the crash is the fault of both the rear and front drivers. In such cases, the shared fault can affect how much compensation the suing party can get. But it is also crucial to know whether the local law system works under contributory or comparative negligence rules.

Contributory Negligence in Rear-End Collision 

Some law systems follow this rule, and it is quite the spartan rule to follow when it comes to rear-end collisions. Under this rule, any fault you have in a collision means you are entitled to zero compensation. 

So, for example, if you are a fraction of a percent to blame for the collision, you get no compensation. The fact that the other driver is 99.9% guilty doesn’t matter. 

Comparative Negligence in Rear-End Collision 

This is the far more common approach to faults in rear-end collision cases. If a driver is partly to blame for the crash, they may still be eligible for some damage payment under comparative negligence laws

For instance, if it were found that the front car driver was 10% at fault and suffered $100,000 in damages, the rear driver would be liable for covering 90% of the losses since they were 90% at fault. 

Depending on your state, pure comparative negligence laws may apply. This means that a driver can get compensation for damages he suffered from a rear-end collision no matter how much of the crash is his fault. 

For instance, if the driver is 85% at fault for the crash, he can still get compensation for 15% of the damage.

What Can You Be Compensated For? 

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So, once you are ready to pursue your lawsuit, what can you expect to get compensation for? You should be able to demand payment to cover the following:

  • The cost of necessary treatment or surgeries for rear-end collision injuries 
  • The cost of all future medication and treatment needed to restore your previous quality of life
  • Lost wages 
  • Lost employment opportunities
  • Psychotherapy and counseling
  • All items ruined in the crash including your car and any items in it that were damaged as a result
  • Any wrongful death due to the crash 

However, you must bear in mind that this is just a general idea of the things you can demand payment for. Every case is unique to some degree, and some of these might not apply to yours.

Closing Thoughts

If you find yourself involved in a rear-end collision accident, you first should seek medical aid if need be.  

And you should gather some evidence yourself by taking snapshots of the scene and getting signed statements from witnesses. Then you should not hesitate to call a lawyer and begin the process of seeking the necessary reparations.