In some ways, it can seem as though rear-ended collisions are open and shut cases, with liability being easy to determine according to who has rear-ended who. While this is true in theory, it does not always work out so neatly in reality.
Not only can it be tricky to determine liability even in a supposedly clear-cut case, but you will also have to battle with insurance companies who will be doing everything they possibly can to wriggle out of paying and recovering damages.
What to Consider When Determining Fault
It can be hard to prove liability, but there is a range of considerations which can help with the process, whether you were the front or back car. The main priority is to prove that the other driver was negligent.
- Was the driver distracted?
Maybe they were texting or talking on their cell phone or distracted by another source. Consider witness statements, dash cam footage, footage from security or other cameras, and checking data from the driver’s phone.
- Did the driver leave a 3-second gap between vehicles?
All drivers should ensure that there is a 3-second gap between them and the vehicle ahead of them. This gives plenty of time for drivers to respond to a change in speed or direction.
- Were their brake lights and turn signals correctly?
If the accident was caused by a vehicle with poorly maintained equipment, and this led to the accident, the other party may be entirely or partially at fault. For example, if their brake lights or turn signal was not functioning or used.
- Did you have to slow down due to a bad road condition?
If you are able to prove that you had to slow down thanks to a pothole, uneven surface, or other poor road condition, you are in a position to state that the driver of the rear vehicle should have noticed the poor condition, and you reducing speed as a result of that condition. If they failed to do so, you might be able to prove negligence.
Rear-End Collision Lawyer: Seeking Advice
Even if you believe that the liability issue is clear and simple, it is still worth getting the advice of a rear-end collision lawyer for extra backup. Remember that if the other driver can prove that you were somehow negligence, for example, by failing to provide adequate signals, merging into a lane without warning, or braking suddenly for no reason, then your compensation will be reduced by a certain percentage.
Our team has the tools and skills to help you see parts of the puzzle you may have missed and will be on hand to help you gather evidence of negligence on the part of other drivers. We are also equipped to deal with insurance companies on your behalf, removing some of the stress and speeding up the proceedings. Even if a rear-end collision seems straightforward on the surface, it is best to protect yourself and get the best advice from the start to ensure a fair outcome.