Is the Rear Driver Always at Fault in a Rear-End Collision in Houston?
If you’ve ever been in an accident, then you know that it’s rare that one driver is 100% at fault. Usually, one driver is primarily responsible but the other driver isn’t totally innocent. This is why we have car accident lawyers in Houston. They help figure out who was at fault. They can also get you compensation for any injuries you’ve suffered. One situation when it’s pretty easy to determine fault is a rear-end collision. For the most part, the rear driver is almost always at fault in these types of accidents. Almost all drivers know this. That’s why, if someone backs into you at a parking lot, you know that they’re probably be found liable.
But there are times when the rear driver may not be at fault. Or, at least they aren’t totally at fault. While these situations are few and far between, they do happen. That’s why it’s a good idea for you to talk to a car accident lawyer. They can review your case and let you know who they think may be responsible.
Why is the Rear Driver Usually at Fault?
It may seem unfair that the rear driver is almost always at fault for a rear-end collision. When you think about it, however, it does make sense. They are the last person who can possibly prevent this kind of accident.
A lot of rear-end collisions take place when the first driver is stopped. Either they’re at a red light, stop sign or stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. When someone comes up behind them and doesn’t stop fast enough, they slam into the back of their car.
It wouldn’t make sense to hold someone liable when they were sitting idle at the time of the crash. The rear driver failed to stop for some reason. These reasons could include:
- They were texting and driving
- They were driving too fast
- Their brakes weren’t working
- They were distracted
- They were drunk driving
- They lost control of the car
Regardless of which of these reasons apply, you can’t hold the front driver responsible for the crash. That’s why the general rule is that the rear driver is usually found to be at fault in these cases.
When is the Front Driver Actually Responsible for a Rear-End Collision?
After what we said earlier, it may seem difficult to image that the rear driver wouldn’t be at fault. However, there are certain situations when the front driver may be found to have caused the accident.
Some of these situations include:
- Their brake lights weren’t working
- They slammed on their brakes
- It’s not a spot where a reasonable driver would stop their car
- They’re drunk and driving erratically
- They actually back up into the car behind them
Car accident lawyers in Houston have seen all of these situations. However, they are rare. In these situations, the court would usually find that both drivers were at fault. This is when the comparative negligence rule would come into play.
How Does Comparative Negligence Work in Texas?
Texas follows a rule called comparative negligence. This means that, if you’re found to be partly at fault, your damages will be reduced accordingly. Your judgment will be reduced by your percentage at fault.
So, imagine the situation described above, where the front driver’s brake lights aren’t working. The rear driver should have noticed that the car in front of them had stopped. However, since the brake lights weren’t working, they may have thought the car was ready to move again.
In a case like this, your Houston personal injury lawyer will argue that your brake lights had nothing to do with the crash. However, the court will disagree. You may be found to be about 20% at fault. So, if you demanded $100,000 in damages, your award would be reduced by $20,000.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston About Your Rear-End Collision
If you’re involved in a rear-end collision, you need to call an experienced car accident law firm in Houston right away. In cases like this, you want to be the first one to file a claim. The insurance company is typically going to believe the first person’s account.
Call McDonald Worley today and schedule your initial consultation. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your claim. The defendant is going to have a lawyer working for them and you should too. Let a skilled lawyer fight to get you the compensation you deserve.