Who Is at Fault in Rear-End Collisions?
The most common type of vehicle crash is the rear-end collision, and these can cause damage and injuries even at slower speeds. Although the Texas Dept. of Transportation (DoT) does not keep records on the numbers of rear-end collisions, nationally it is estimated that as many as 1.7 million of these accidents happen every year.
Texas law does not cover deciding who is at fault in a rear end collision. The law does state that a driver must maintain a safe following distance, so that the driver can stop a vehicle without crashing into the vehicle just ahead. Thus, it is generally held that the driver of the rear-ending car is at fault for rear-end collisions. Texas, however, is a “modified comparative negligence” state, meaning that responsibility may be shared between the two parties to a collision. The injured person may be held partly responsible for her or his injuries resulting from the collision, and still recover partial damages, as long as found to be less than 50% responsible.
Multi-car accidents are an exception to the rule, because the follower vehicle, even when it is stopped at a red light, may be pushed into the vehicle ahead by a third vehicle. In such a case, the second car is not responsible for any damage or injuries; it is the third driver’s failure to slow and stop that is at fault. In a multi-vehicle pile-up, multiple parties may be held responsible and liable for damage or injuries. In Dallas earlier this year, a spectacular 18-vehicle crash stopped rush hour traffic for miles. Such “chain-reaction” collisions are caused primarily by the force of the first collision.
When you’re stopped at a light, you can’t do much of anything to avoid being hit by a car behind you that failed to stop in time. But when you are following another car, you can help prevent rear-end collisions by continually checking your rear-view mirror. When you see a driver following you too closely, try to change lanes or get out of the way.
At Hudson Law Firm, we put PERSONAL back into Personal Injury Law. For an injury claim evaluation, call us at (972) 360-9898, or visit our website to chat with an associate. We understand and care about your injury, and look forward to helping you with your accident claim.