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Rear-End Accidents: Who’s At Fault?

One of the most common types of car wrecks is rear-end accidents, also known as “fender benders.” If you personally have never been in a fender bender, you’ve most likely passed one on the road. The truth is, you can’t control how everyone around you drives. You can be a safe and defensive driver, only to be rear-ended by a distracted or careless driver

Because these accidents are so common, it’s important for you to know the liability laws that surround them. These laws will vary depending on the state you live in, but here are some general guidelines. 

Negligence: What It Means & How It’s Determined 

The term negligence will be thrown around a lot when discussing who’s at fault for a rear-end accident. When you drive on the road, you undertake the basic duty to drive safely and follow all traffic laws. Negligence is when one or more of the parties involved in the accident fails to follow through with that duty. If negligence is determined in an accident, the negligent party will most likely be at fault.

Determining negligence will vary based on the state you are in. Some states have contributory negligence standards, but most have comparative negligence laws in place. It’s important for you to have an experienced car accident attorney to make sure that negligence is determined lawfully for your particular case. 

Safe Driving Standards

In most states, drivers are required to always keep a reasonable distance from the car immediately in front of them. Some states set a specific distance, some don’t. It’s up to the driver to pay attention to their surroundings, the cars around them, and any other traffic conditions that may be affecting the distance between their car and the one in front of them. If a driver is neglecting to keep a safe distance or is “tailgating” the other car, and the other driver is following all traffic laws and not being negligent behind the wheel, the tailgating driver will be held liable for the accident. 

Being a safe driver also entails signaling to other cars when you are planning on making a turn. This required signaling distance, too, depends on the state you are driving in, but a safe bet is somewhere around 200 feet. If a driver fails to signal, makes a sudden stop or turn, and is then rear-ended, they will most likely be at fault in the accident. However, if the second car was following too closely behind and the first car driver failed to signal in time, both parties will be at fault for the rear-end accident. 

Rear-ended? Contact Wettermark Keith

If you recently suffered injuries as a result of a rear-end accident, call Wettermark Keith today. Your case matters to us. Our professional legal team has years of experience with car accidents and navigating the complex laws surrounding fault determination. Our results speak for themselves. Let us fight for you!

Ready to work together? Contact us today for a free consultation.


If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.