Who’s at Fault in Rear-End Collisions?

Despite your experience and cautiousness, you may still be in a car accident. One common and often devastating vehicle collision that occurs is a rear-end accident. This collision involves one or more drivers hitting the car ahead of them from behind it. A rear-end collision can happen in various situations. Whether a red light or a stop sign stops you and someone hits your vehicle from behind, or a drunk driver doesn’t notice when you brake, a rear-end accident can change your life.

Proving the liable or negligent party in a rear-end accident may not be that straightforward. Some considerations can help you make your case. At Combs and Brown, LLC, we believe you need helpful information to prepare you if you’re in a rear-end collision.

Causes and Frequency of Rear-Endings

An NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) study shows that rear-endings represent about 29% of accidents involving severe injuries or fatalities. The research highlights some circumstances that can cause this type of accident, including the lead vehicle stopping suddenly, the lead driver driving slower than the approaching vehicle, or the rear driver was tailgating (keeping inadequate vehicle distance).

Fault in Rear-End Accidents

The driver that rear-ends the lead vehicle is often, at least, partially negligent. The driver has to follow other cars at a safe distance. The adequate space varies based on road conditions, vehicle speed, and other factors. CO Rev Stat § 42-4-1008 (2016) outlines the follow rules in Colorado. Following too closely can hinder the rear driver’s ability to spot changes ahead and act appropriately.

The lead driver may also be at fault in rear-end collisions. These incidents are rare, and they may involve the lead driver reversing into the rear car, driving with damaged brake lights, driving erratically because of intoxication or other impairment, stopping in the middle of the road because of a flat tire, or trying to get hit intentionally.

The lead driver’s extent of responsibility may also depend on the distance and speed of the rear vehicle. If the follow driver was driving at a safe or reasonable speed but still didn’t have the space and time to stop, they might only bear partial responsibility.

Consequences in Rear-Endings

Rear-endings can cause effects ranging from mild to severe. Rear-endings can cause various injuries, such as whiplash, back pain, cracked ribs, bruising from the steering wheel or airbag, and headaches. Drivers in rear-end collisions with minimal damages can agree on the appropriate compensation. Some complex cases may need professional legal representation.

You can recover economic and non-economic damages after being rear-ended. Economic damages may include your financial losses from the accident, such as medical bills, physiotherapy expenses, medical accessories purchases, lost wages, and property damage. You can assess them by adding your expenses and lost income. Non-economic damages may include nonfinancial suffering due to the collision, such as emotional anguish.

Some injuries or effects are noticeable days or weeks after the accident, while others can take longer. Rear-end collision victims often engage us to represent their interests and pursue compensation. We can differentiate and anticipate damages after a rear-ending, ensuring you won’t settle for less than you deserve.

Colorado uses modified comparative negligence. The state’s laws state that a plaintiff’s damages reduce based on their percentage of fault for the rear-ending. However, they get nothing if their responsibility equals or exceeds the combined liabilities of other parties.

How Our Attorneys Can Help

Our accident lawyers can help individuals in rear-end collisions. They can help them investigate the incident, file claims, gather evidence, advise them about their options, negotiate settlements, or take their case to trial. Our lawyers have the experience necessary to represent your interests well after a rear-ending in Steamboat Springs or its environs.

Contact us if you are in a rear-ending to get affordable and reliable legal counsel.