Is it true that if you hit someone from behind, you are always at fault?

car after accident

One car smacks another car in the rear end. This type of auto accident is called a Rear-End Collision.

For the sake of clarity, let’s call these the Rear Car and the Front Car.

Car Accidents, And The Law

Any car accident lawyer in Cincinnati will tell you that the law is firmly in favor of the Front Car. The Rear Car needs to be far enough back behind the Front Car in traffic. The Rear Car needs to follow with enough space between the cars so that it can stop without a collision, no matter what reason the Front Car may have for stopping.

The damage also makes this type of collision very easy to argue in court. If your car’s rear end is damaged, and their front end is damaged, then… you are the Front Car and they are the Rear Car. The responsibility for repair is theirs.

Does The Rear Car Have A Case?

That is not to say that the Rear Car does not have other claims to make, potentially. They could raise a claim against a third car — say, one that struck the Rear Car from behind and pushed it into the Front Car. Or, against someone else who caused the Front Car to stop suddenly. None of this, however, would change the responsibility that the original Rear Car has to the original Front Car. The Rear Car struck the Front Car from behind, and therefore bears responsibility.

There are cases in which the Front Car bears some responsibility, however. An attorney can make the case — successfully — that the Front Car is due less compensation due to the Front Car’s “comparative negligence.” If one or both of the Front Car’s brake lights or tail lights were out, then there is comparative negligence. If the Front Car had broken down in the street, but did not do all they could do to move the car out of the road, that could be considered comparative negligence.

Another word that is often used for this is “carelessness.” Comparative negligence indicates that the injured party — in this case, the Front Car that was struck from behind — was careless in some way, and shares some responsibility for the collision.

Also, if the Rear Car hit the Front Car, and the Rear Car was on the job — say, delivering pizzas, or driving a taxi — then the Rear Car driver’s employer may also be held legally responsible for the repair to the Front Car (and the injuries of the Front Car’s driver).

Of course, many accidents are not as clear-cut as the headline of “Rear Car Collides With Front Car.” Anyone working as a car accident lawyer has likely seen cases of “Rear Car Collides With Front Car, Front Car Collides With Fronter Car, Fronter Car Collides With Frontest Car, Frontest Car Collides With Side Car That Was Entering The Intersection.” *Excuse the grammar, just trying to make a clever point.

In cases like that, it could be that multiple drivers are found to be careless. And if that happens, any of those “careless” drivers may be responsible for compensation. Those multiple responsible parties may decide which one of them will reimburse the injured parties. Issues associated with insurance can also add more complexity to a case when deciding who will pay and how much. That is why you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help guide you through this process.