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Q: ESTABLISHING FAULT FOR A REAR-END COLLISION Car accident ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: smcclafferty-ga
List Price: $6.00
Posted: 28 May 2006 16:43 PDT
Expires: 27 Jun 2006 16:43 PDT
Question ID: 733166
My sister was just rear-ended in the passing lane of a two lane
highway.  Her car may have possibly stalled before the accident.  If
so, is there any way she can be at fault for this accident, or is it
still the person's fault who hit her from behind, since they must have
been following too closely/not paying attention/or speeding....thanks.
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 28 May 2006 21:22 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear smcclafferty-ga; 

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. Your
question can only be answered in general terms and requires a bit of
speculation. Having been in law enforcement myself for many years I
can tell you that in most states a rear-end collision is frequently
(but not always) attributed to the ear vehicle. The typical fault
determination will largely depend on the laws of the state in which
the accident occurred, but as I said there are occasionally some
exceptions to this general rule. As for your question "is there any
way she can be at fault for this accident", the answer is yes -
sometimes. Here are some examples that, in some states, "can" have an
impact on the typical legal presumption that the rear driver is always
at fault:

For simplicity sake let?s call the vehicle in front Vehicle 1, and the
vehicle in the rear Vehicle 2:

Vehicle 1 is struck in the rear due to the reckless behavior of the
driver of Vehicle 1 (example: Vehicle 1 slams on the brakes because
someone is tailgating the court may find that both drivers are equally
at fault.)

Vehicle 1 is struck in the rear due to negligence of the driver of
Vehicle 1 (example: Vehicle 1 suddenly swerves into the lane of
Vehicle 2 without looking and Vehicle 2 cannot avoid the rear-end

Vehicle 1 is backing up. (example: What appears to be rear-end
collision was actually caused when Vehicle 1, moving in reverse,
whether under it?s own power or simply rolling, strikes the front of
vehicle 2)

Vehicle 1 and Vehicle 2 are both stationary and a third vehicle causes
the rear-end collision. (example: Vehicle 2 is struck in the rear by a
third vehicle and caused Vehicle 2 to strike the rear of Vehicle 1.)

Vehicle 1 is struck in the rear due to an error attributed to the
driver of Vehicle 1. (example: The driver of Vehicle 1 is
inexperienced or poorly skilled with a standard transmission and
missed a gear or otherwise caused the vehicle to stop or stall or
fails to signal a turn, a court ?may? determine that the driver of 
Vehicle 1 is wholly or at least partly at fault.)

Vehicle 1 is not safely operational and suddenly becomes incapacitated
thereby posing an unexpected and unavoidable traffic hazard (example:
Vehicle 1 stalls in traffic due to some mechanical problem. Especially
if no emergency lights were flashing at the time of the collision to
warn other drivers, a court ?may? determine that the driver of 
Vehicle 1 is wholly or at least partly at fault. It most states it is
a driver?s duty to make sure the vehicle is safely operational at all
times and in many cases a mechanical problem can be viewed as a
negligent contributing factor on the stricken driver?s part.)

Keep in mind that in both a criminal and civil court the fault is not
always a cut-and-dried issue. Fault can often be a shared burden and
this is especially true in civil court where a Judge or jury can
return a verdict based on percentages. While fault, in some cases, is
pretty obvious and the issue is mostly how much a person will be
expected to pay, in other cases a court can determine that driver 1
was 40% at fault and driver 2 was 60% at fault. This type of shared
fault decision may have a significant impact on the court?s decision.

You are right in that many rear-end collisions are the result of
inattentiveness on the part of the driver in the rear. However, even
in many states where the law presumes the rear-ending motorist is at
fault, there are few laws that actually directly address
?inattentiveness? statutorily speaking. In the eyes of the law this is
most commonly referred to as (or is combined with) ?failure to yield?,
?following to closely?, ?driving too fast for conditions? or ?failure
to maintain control of a motor vehicle?.  This, or course sometimes
open the door to rebuttal from the rear-ending driver that the
situation presented an unavoidable circumstance that he or she could
not avoid. For example, if a car makes an inopportune lane change or
is mechanically unsound and is struck in the rear as a direct result,
the striking vehicle may be able to overcome the presumption of fault
and escape liability.

In short, it is my experience that in most cases a rear-end collision
is indeed the fault of the rear driver. There are, however some
extenuating circumstances that a clever attorney can capitalize on
which can turn the tables in his client?s favor. In states where a
rear-end collision is presumed to be the rear driver?s fault, that
driver has the burden of proving that he or she did not cause the
accident and the issues I have outlined are the ones most commonly
claimed by rear drivers in order to achieve that end.

I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;

Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher


Rear-End Collision - Who is at Fault?

Rear-end Collision Not Always Fault Of Just One Driver



Google ://


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smcclafferty-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Very thorough and helpful...thank you.

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