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Who is Responsible for a Rear-End Collision?

by Christopher Hoffmann on Aug. 21, 2014

Accident & Injury Car Accident Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: Rear-end collisions are among the most common accidents involving vehicles. Although determining liability in these claims is generally straightforward, there are some instances where unique factors may come into play.


In the vast majority of rear-end collisions, the driver in back is responsible for the accident. Basic traffic laws provide the reason for this. Since drivers are required to safely stop whenever the vehicle in front decelerates or stops. The same principle is used when it comes to sudden stops. When the driver at the back cannot stop safely, it is possible that the driver was not driving safely, likely following too closely or not paying attention to the road.

The damage on a vehicle offers a good amount of information about the accident in virtually all rear-end collision claims. The damage often provides evidence on the events leading to the accident. When the front portion of the vehicle and the rear portion of another vehicle are damaged, it is typically easy to determine a rear-end collision has occurred.

What about Situations Where a Vehicle was Rear-Ended Causing It to Hit the Vehicle In Front of it?

Rear-end collisions may be quite complex resulting in a higher insurance claim. This situation happens when a vehicle rear-ends another vehicle after a third vehicle rear-ends it. The driver of the third vehicle will be responsible for the rear-end collision in this situation. The third vehicle will have to deal with claims filed by the drivers of the first two vehicles against his or her liability insurance policy. In this situation, the driver in the middle is generally protected by laws on traffic and liability since the rear-end collision resulted from the middle vehicle being hit from behind by the third vehicle. The rear-ending of the vehicle in front is the result of the primary collision involving the second and third vehicle.

Similarly, a vehicle may rear-end another vehicle since the vehicle in front suddenly stopped or decelerated. The sudden stop or deceleration may have been caused by another vehicle in front, which made a sudden stop or decelerated. A third party claim may be filed by the driver who rear-ended the vehicle against the driver of the vehicle that caused the rear-ended vehicle to decelerate or stop.

Can the Driver of the Vehicle that was Rear-Ended be Liable for the Accident As Well?

There are instances when the driver of the vehicle that was rear-ended is liable for the accident as well. The carelessness of the rear-ended driver may have been the reason for the accident. It may be possible for the brake lights of the vehicle to malfunction or a tire blew causing it to stop in the middle of the road instead of moving to the side. In these situations, the contributory or comparative negligence of the driver may minimize or remove any monetary liability due to the accident.

Because each case is unique our law firm believes it is important to discuss your accident claim with one of our highly qualified St. Louis car accident lawyers. We can review your claim for free and help you determine what you legal options are moving forward. Call us today at (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free consultation.


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