Even with the great advances in car safety technology, driving on the nation’s roads can still be quite dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently estimated that 42,915 people died in car crashes in 2021. That’s a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020.

In San Diego County in 2019, there were a total of 19,928 injuries and fatalities from car crashes. Alcohol was involved in 2,518 injuries, and speed was a factor in 4,722 injuries. 

Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen?

Rear-end crashes are the most common type of car crash. They account for nearly 29% of all car accidents. They are caused by any number of reasons, including speeding, tailgating, distracted driving, or the sudden stopping of the car in front. Negligence is most often the underlying factor.

The driver that is rear-ended is extremely vulnerable to injury, as they are often hit without any warning. The most common injuries from a rear-end accident are back injuries and whiplash. The faster the car behind is traveling, the greater the impact and the more serious the injury can be. 

The Rear Driver Is Typically At Fault

Typically the driver of the car that rear-ends the vehicle in front is assumed to be at fault. This is because the rules of the road require a driver to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of them in case the vehicle stops abruptly. However, it isn’t always the case that the rear driver is at fault.

If involved in a rear-end accident, it’s wise to consult an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can for guidance.

When the Front Driver Might Be Responsible For a Rear-End Collision

When may the driver in front be at fault if they are rear-ended? There are several scenarios in which this could be the case. Your car accident lawyer will assess the facts to see what party was most likely at fault. 

One situation where the front driver could be at fault is when they suddenly move across a lane or lanes of traffic. Say a driver is driving in the middle lane of a three-lane road. What if they suddenly change lanes into the right lane, then slow down so they can make a turn? A driver in the right lane who is going the speed limit may be unable to slow down and avoid rear-ending the car. 

Other instances where a driver who rear-ends the car in front may not be liable include:

  • When multiple cars are involved – Sometimes, several vehicles can be involved in a rear-end collision beyond the initial two cars. In these cases, the other drivers could also share fault.
  • The front driver makes an abrupt stop – A driver might suddenly stop to brush off a driver who is following too closely or could even be intentionally trying to cause a collision (brake checking). 
  • The front driver is going too slow – If driving too slow, especially in the passing lane, the front driver may be considered partially at fault in case of an accident. 
  • The front driver goes backward instead of forwards – It can happen: the front driver can put the car into reverse or hit the gas when they mean to hit the brake. Whatever the reason, if the car in front backs into the car behind them, the driver in the back may not be considered at fault. 

Call a North County San Diego Car Accident Lawyer for Help After a Rear-End Collision

Were you involved in a rear-end accident in North County, San Diego?  Whether you were in the car that was hit from behind or the car that was in the rear, our car accident attorneys will be able to help. Depending on the facts of the case, you may be entitled to compensation if you were injured in the accident. 

For more information, please contact the Vista car accident law firm of Petrov Law Firm to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in North County, CA and its surrounding areas:

Petrov Law Firm
380 S Melrose Dr Ste. 201
Vista, CA 92081
(760) 813-3313