Is It Always Your Fault If You Rear-End Someone in Texas?
Rear-end collisions are the most common kind of car accident in the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published data stating that 29% of all auto accidents that cause significant injury or death each year are rear-end collisions. If you have been in a rear-end collision, it’s likely that you, the other driver, or both of you, assumed the accident was the fault of the car in the back. It is a common assumption that legal fault for a rear-end collision belongs to the driver who hit another driver’s vehicle from behind. But is it true? Is it always your fault if you rear-end someone in Texas?
Common Rules of the Road: Myth or Law?
There are many basic rules of the road that all drivers know and accept as “good behavior:”
- Pay attention to the road.
- Don’t drive recklessly.
- Don’t follow the vehicle in front of you too closely.
These are all good rules, and we should all follow them. And, indeed, failing to follow these basic rules of the road will often cause a rear-end accident. But is it ever possible that the “front” driver is at fault in a rear-end collision?
If You Hit a Driver From Behind Are You Always at Fault?
Many believe in the basic assumption that the rear driver in a rear-end collision is at fault for the accident, but this is not necessarily true. Who is at fault in a rear-end accident isn’t always completely clear, but 100% fault for the accident does not automatically belong to the rear driver. In some cases, the driver in the front vehicle may be at fault or partially at fault for the accident. And in some cases, you may be dealing with a no-fault accident.
When Parties Share Fault for a Rear-End Accident:
In some Texas car accident cases, two drivers may share fault for a rear-end accident. In Texas, you must prove that the other party was at fault or negligent to win a claim against them. When the fault is distributed between two drivers, you cannot recover damages from the other driver unless they are assigned a higher percentage of the accident’s fault. For example, if you are determined to be more at fault (even just 51% at fault), you cannot recover damages from the other party involved in the accident – even if you are injured.
Proving the Other Driver is at Fault in a Rear-End Accident:
If you rear-end someone, it can be challenging to prove the other driver is at fault, but it’s possible. Since Texas is a “comparative negligence state,” you need to prove the other driver’s negligence – or prove the other driver behaved recklessly or carelessly. It can be difficult to prove that, as the rear driver, you were not following too closely, so work with an experienced Texas car accident attorney to improve your chances of winning your injury claim.
Situations Where the Front Car is At Fault in a Rear-End Accident:
There are many different scenarios in which the front car may be at fault in a rear-end accident. Here are a few examples:
- A vehicle pulls into traffic but misjudges the distance between oncoming traffic, so they are hit from behind. Drivers pulling into traffic from a driveway or parking lot are required to yield. Drivers already on the road have the right-of-way.
- A vehicle suddenly slams on their brakes for no reason. These cases are rare. Proving the car in the rear was not following the front vehicle too closely to provide reasonable room to stop can be difficult.
- A vehicle changes lanes suddenly and then brakes abruptly causing the car following them to hit them from behind. This situation can also be hard to prove.
If you’ve been in a Texas car accident and need to file a personal injury claim, get in touch with an experienced Dallas, Texas car accident attorney at Hudson Law Firm. We put Personal back into Personal Injury Law.