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Who Is Liable In a Rear-End Accident?

Car accidents can happen in numerous ways. From simple fender benders following a red light to high-speed collisions, the scenarios are nearly endless. However, one of the most commonly seen accidents is a rear-end collision. The driver who ran into the front car is typically seen as the at-fault party, although this isn’t always the case. The deciding factor in a rear-end collision is determining which party or parties’ negligence led to the accident.

The Driver in the Rear

When it comes to who is responsible for a rear-end collision, it’s extremely common for the driver in the rear to be held accountable. This is because the rear driver’s negligent actions commonly lead to rear-end collisions. Some negligent actions include:

  • Driving distracted - It’s common for these accidents to occur due to things such as cellphone usage, reading, and eating. These things take the driver’s attention away from the road, resulting in the driver not being able to adapt to what’s ahead of them— which ultimately can end in a rear-end collision.

  • Aggressive behaviors - Another common reason rear-end collisions occur is the car behind is driving aggressively by doing things like speeding or tailgating.

  • Driving under the influence - Driving under the influence is something that slows reaction times and changes the driver’s perception of distance, which can lead to a rear-end collision.

  • Driving drowsy - When you’re tired, you lose concentration easily. When you are tired behind the wheel, losing concentration could lead to a serious rear-end collision.

The Diver in Front

It isn’t always the driver behind’s fault, however. There are situations in which the driver in front’s negligent actions cause the accident, including:

  • Driving distracted - If the driver in front is driving distracted they may be at fault Let’s say the driver is looking at their phone. They look up to see brake lights and have to slam on their brakes in order to avoid an accident— only to lead to them getting rear-ended. They may be held responsible for the accident.

  • Aggressive behaviors - If the driver is making constant unsafe lane changes, cutting off other drivers, and showing inconsistent speed patterns, it may cause other drivers around them to not have enough time to properly stop—leading to a rear-end collision.

  • Failure to maintain vehicle - In New York, it’s illegal to drive with your brake lights out. While you may not always get a ticket for driving with them missing, when it comes to determining who is responsible for an accident, this may be the deciding factor.

Third-Party Negligence

A third party may also be held liable for your accident. This can be any driver other than the two drivers involved in the accident. This may include:

  • Auto manufacturers - If you find yourself in an accident caused by a vehicle defect, such as defective brakes, the manufacturer may be held liable for the accident.

  • Local government - In the event that your accident was caused by unkept road conditions, such as potholes, missing street lights, or uneven payment, the government may be held liable for the accident due to failing to maintain the roads.

  • Pedestrians - A pedestrian walking across an unmarked road may cause you to slam your brakes to avoid hitting them. If this causes your accident, they can be held liable.

  • Other drivers - As seen above, other drivers’ negligent actions can cause them to be held liable for the accidents they cause.

Ahearne Can Help You Figure It Out

Following an auto accident, determining liability can be a challenge. There are many things that go into determining liability, and putting together a strong case in your defense is crucial in helping you receive the compensation you deserve.

Call The Ahearne Law Firm today (845) 763-4100 to learn more about how we can help you recover. We offer FREE consultations to ensure those who need legal guidance have the ability to do so.

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