In a rear-end collision, the liability often falls on the driver who rear-ended the other vehicle. This is because it is generally assumed that the driver who rear-ended the other car was following too closely and did not leave enough space between their car and the car in front of them.
There are exceptions to this rule, and liability does not always fall on the driver who rear-ends the other car.
If the rear-ended driver suddenly stopped in the middle of the road, they might be liable for the accident. It is always best to consult with an experienced Connecticut car accident lawyer to determine who may be held liable for your particular accident. Read on to learn more about rear-end collisions and liability in Connecticut.
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What is a Rear-End Collision?
A rear-end collision is one of the most common types of car accidents. It occurs when the front end of one car strikes the back end of another car.
Rear-end collisions can be caused by several factors, including distracted driving, tailgating, and poor road conditions.
Regardless of the cause, rear-end collisions often result in significant damage to both cars involved. In some cases, they can even cause injuries to the occupants of the cars.
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Establishing Fault for Rear-End Accidents
In a rear-end accident, the driver who rear-ends the lead vehicle will almost always be considered at least partially negligent. This is because all drivers are responsible for following other vehicles at a safe distance and rear-ending another vehicle breaches this duty.
There are some instances where the lead driver may be at least partially responsible for the accident. For example, if the lead driver suddenly brake checks the trailing driver, causing them to rear-end the lead vehicle, the lead driver may be held partially liable.
Similarly, if the lead driver makes an abrupt lane change without signaling and the trailing driver cannot slow down in time, the lead driver may be partially at fault for the accident.
Ultimately, it is up to the insurance companies or courts to determine which driver is more at fault for the accident.
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What If the Driver Who Rear-Ended Me Says I’m at Fault?
First and foremost, don’t argue with the other driver. It is possible they genuinely believe they are not at fault, and getting into a heated argument will only worsen the situation.
Instead, calmly exchange information and then contact your insurance company. They will likely have an adjuster contact the other driver to investigate the accident and determine who is actually at fault.
In some cases, both insurance companies may agree that both drivers are partially at fault. In that case, each company will pay for its policyholder’s damages.
If you have any questions or concerns, speak with your insurance agent to be confident about your coverage and what to expect moving forward. You could also speak to a Connecticut car accident lawyer if you have legal questions about your accident.
What About Collisions With Multiple Vehicles?
In a typical two-car rear-end collision, the driver of the car that hit the other vehicle is usually found at fault. However, things can get more complicated when there are more than two cars involved.
Sometimes, a rear-end collision occurs with multiple vehicles. Three, four, or more cars can create a pileup.
When this happens, a vehicle may leave enough stopping distance and stop in time only to be pushed into the vehicle ahead of them by the following vehicle behind them.
In that case, the driver that stopped isn’t liable for the collision. Instead, liability would fall on the driver of the car that caused the chain reaction.
A professional auto accident attorney can help determine who is liable for the damage if you’ve been involved in a multi-car rear-end collision.
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Is Brake Checking Illegal, and Is the Brake Checker at Fault?
Brake checking is a form of road rage that occurs when the lead driver in a line of traffic intentionally slams on the brakes, causing the drivers behind them to brake suddenly or swerve out of the way to avoid a collision.
Brake checking is dangerous and can lead to rear-end collisions, traffic violations, and even physical altercations between drivers.
If you’re involved in an accident where the other driver brake-checked you, they may be partially or fully liable for the accident if you can prove that they purposely braked for no reason.
However, proving intentional brake checking can be difficult, so gathering as much evidence as possible at the accident scene is essential. This may include eyewitness testimonies, dashcam footage, or damage to your vehicle that indicates that the other driver was at fault.
If you are in a situation where someone is brake-checking you, remain calm and avoid escalating the situation. Try to move away from the lead driver so that you’re not directly behind them when they brake.
Report any incidents of brake checking to the authorities so that action can be taken to prevent future accidents.
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How Do I Prove Liability in a Rear-End Collision Case?
There are many ways to prove liability in a rear-end collision case. Often, the police report will indicate which driver is at fault.
If the police were not called to the scene or if the officer did not witness the accident, they may be unable to determine who is at fault. In that case, other evidence will need to be gathered to prove fault.
This may include eyewitness testimony, dashcam footage, or damage to your vehicle that indicates the other driver was at fault.
For example, if a car has a significant dent in the front bumper and the your car has a large dent in the rear bumper, the other driver likely rear-ended you.
In some cases, both drivers may be at fault for the accident. For example, if one driver rear-ended another and fled the scene, they would be liable for any damages caused by the accident.
But if the hit-and-run victim had been tailgating the other driver before the accident, they may be found partially at fault. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to prove liability in your case.
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What Should I Do If I’ve Been Involved in a Rear-End Collision in Connecticut?
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, there are a few critical steps that you should take:
- Move your vehicle to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries and call 911 if anyone requires medical attention.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Take photos of the damage to both vehicles.
- Gather eyewitness testimony from any bystanders who saw the accident.
- Preserve any dashcam footage of the accident.
- Contact an experienced Connecticut car accident lawyer to discuss your case.
How to Avoid a Connecticut Rear-end Collision
There are a few things that you can do to avoid being involved in a rear-end collision:
- Drive defensively and be aware of the vehicles around you
- Use your turn signals when changing lanes or turning
- Don’t tailgate other vehicles
- Give yourself enough space to stop if the vehicle in front of you brakes suddenly
- Keep your car in good working condition and ensure your brakes are properly maintained
If you follow these tips, you can avoid being involved in a rear-end collision.
How Can a Connecticut Accident Lawyer Help?
After a rear-end collision, it is not always immediately clear who was at fault. At this point, you may be wondering what to do next and how to protect your health and legal rights. A Connecticut car accident attorney can help you navigate these waters.
Your attorney will begin by evaluating your situation and conducting an investigation. This will involve talking to witnesses, reviewing police reports, and examining any available video footage.
Once liability has been established, your lawyer will then assist you in bringing your claim. This may involve negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company or filing a lawsuit.
The attorney will also assist you in determining culpability if more than one person was involved in the accident. For example, if a hit-and-run driver rear-ended you, your lawyer will help you file a claim against their insurance company.
Your lawyer will also help you calculate the damages you’re entitled to recover. This may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, do not try to navigate the legal process on your own. Our Connecticut car accident lawyers have extensive experience handling rear-end collision cases, and we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
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Contact a Connecticut Car Accident Lawyer Today!
It is essential to understand that liability in a rear-end collision can be complex. The investigating officer will consider many factors when deciding who is at fault. These include the statements of witnesses, the damage to both vehicles, and the road conditions at the time of the accident.
If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, seeking legal advice as soon as possible is best to understand your rights and options moving forward.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end collision, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced Connecticut car accident lawyers are here to help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.