Getting rear-ended is one of the most common accidents, and often one of the simplest when it comes to determining who is at fault. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle that hits the vehicle in front of it is at fault. For example: you’re driving down the highway when the traffic suddenly stops moving. You slow to a stop; the driver of the SUV behind you doesn’t even realize traffic has slowed. Crunch. That is an easy case where liability is concerned. However, that scenario can become complicated quickly.
What if the driver slams into you and pushes your vehicle into the car in front of you? Now you have a three-car collision. Are you at-fault since your car hit the one in front of it? Not if the accident was a “single impact collision” – a legal term that means one vehicle’s impact caused the chain of impacts. But, if getting rear-ended surprised you into stepping on the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal, you would be partially liable for damages to the car in front of you.
And there are cases in which the driver in front slams on the brakes for no apparent reason, causing an accident. Something like that might serve to mitigate the liability of the other driver. The only good news about getting in a rear end collision is that when liability is easier to determine, your lawyer won’t have to spend time building a case to prove the other driver is at fault, which means you may get compensation that much faster.