CURCIO BLOG

who is at fault in a rear end collision

Rear ended collisions are the most common type of car crash. They account for about a third of all auto accidents in the United States every year. Many drivers want to handle an accident claim on their own, or let the car insurance company handle it. Remember that insurance adjusters work to save the insurance company money. They want to pay out as little as possible for a rear ended collision settlement. Don’t let an insurance company take advantage of you. Enlist the help of an experienced attorney. 

Damage from rear ended collisions could result in negligible property damage and slight injuries. But they can also result in catastrophic damage and long-term injuries or death. It’s difficult to predict what a rear ended collision settlement will be because there are so many variables.

Who is at fault in a rear ended collision?

Usually the rear driver is at fault in rear ended collisions for following too closely or distracted driving. But this is not always the case. Fault is not automatic. Sometimes the lead driver or another vehicle could be at fault for a rear ended collision. 

Figuring out who is at fault in a car accident is important because it determines who is liable to pay for the other drivers’ damages. Damages means the amount of money paid to the other side during a settlement. Who was negligent and what percentage of an accident was due to the driver’s negligence determines liability. Negligence in a car accident means a driver failed to drive with care, or violated a traffic rule such as:

  • Texting while driving
  • Reversing into the rear car
  • Drunk driving
  • Intentionally trying to get hit
  • Driving with broken brake lights
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Failure to use a basic standard of care

A basic standard of care is required of all drivers. If you fail to use a basic standard of care, you are negligent. A basic standard of care includes:

  • Keeping a lookout for other vehicles, obstacles, and pedestrians
  • Properly controlling speed and movement of the vehicle

Can I file a lawsuit for a rear end collision?

If you experienced injuries you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Drivers and passengers injured in a rear ended collision can seek damages after the accident for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Car repair bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium for a spouse or partner
  • Survivor damages for wrongful death

As you can see, the front or rear driver can be at fault for a rear ended collision. It all depends on who acted with negligence or without care.

In Illinois, the drivers who cause accidents are responsible for paying for them because it uses a fault based system. In a fault based system, it is important that all serious car accidents like a rear ended collision are thoroughly investigated. Fault is not always clear. 

Illinois is a comparative negligence state. This means you can sue another party even if you were somewhat responsible for the accident as long as you were at fault for 50% or less of the crash. 

Who is at fault in a rear end collision involving 3 cars?

Fault in a rear ended collision with three cars could fall on all three drivers. Whichever driver caused the accident is liable for most of the fault. If other drivers contributed to the car crash in some way, each driver may be liable for some portion of the fault. It’s difficult to determine who was negligent in a multiple-vehicle accident when three or more cars resulted in a rear ended collision. 

The same general principle from two car rear ended collisions applies to “chain reaction” car crashes with three or more cars. The rear driver must keep a reasonable distance behind the cars ahead and be ready for changing speeds and traffic conditions. The process of determining fault in a chain reaction car crash with three or more cars depends on the findings of the police investigation, physical evidence, witness statements and the relevant statutes.

What do I do if I was rear ended by an uninsured driver?

If you carry underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, you are in luck. Depending on what type of policy you purchased, your insurance company will usually cover damages from a rear ended collision. If you don’t have underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, you could sue the at-fault driver for your expenses. 

No matter what, it’s important to follow these steps after a car accident:

  • Call the police. Regardless of whether or not the other person has insurance, it’s always a good idea to call 911. Police officers make reports that are essential to determining the fault for a rear ended collision. This report will make the claims process go smoothly.
  • Don’t accept money right away. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, they could face hefty fines and fees. They might try to offer you money to avoid legal repercussions. Initially you won’t know what your damages and injury costs will total. Even if the offer seems like a good deal, wait to speak to an attorney before accepting any offer.
  • Exchange information. Even if they don’t have insurance information to give you, get their contact and vehicle details. Get contact information from any witnesses as well. Write down any piece of information that you think could help you later on.
  • Take pictures. You’ll want photos of any damage done to your car and the other vehicle. Also get pictures of traffic signs, the surroundings, the other driver’s license plate and the direction each car was driving.

How much money is a rear ended collision settlement?

Again, it is difficult to give an estimate of a rear ended collision settlement. Each accident is different. These factors determine how much a settlement you could win:

  • Severity of your injuries
  • Severity of the accident
  • If you were wearing your seatbelt
  • Whether your injuries affected your ability to work  
  • If your injuries affected your loved ones and your daily life 
  • Whether your injuries have long term effects
  • If you need future medical treatment and care
  • Who was at fault for the accident

Initially an insurance company may try to deny your claim or keep delaying the resolution so the injured driver will give up and accept whatever settlement they offer. This is where it helps to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. Never accept the insurance company’s first offer as it is likely to be much lower than what you deserve. An experienced rear ended collision accident attorney should know the insurance companies’ tricks and how to fight back. The team of personal injury lawyers at Curcio Law Offices work hard to get you the compensation you deserve after a rear ended collision.

Do I need a lawyer if a rear end collision was not my fault?

It is difficult to deal with insurance companies after any type of car accident. Insurance companies always try to offer you less money for a settlement than you deserve. This is why it’s important to speak with an attorney with experience in personal injury cases. Regardless of whether a rear ended collision was your fault or not, it’s wise to at the very least get a free consultation with an attorney. The attorneys at Curcio Law Offices have decades of experience and success in auto accident cases. 

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