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Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen and Who’s to Blame?

If you have ever been involved in a rear-end collision, you know how jarring it can be. One moment you are comfortably sitting in your vehicle. The next moment, without any warning, you are being thrown against your seat belt with unexpected force. It is a scary type of accident that is way too common.

But why do so many rear-end collisions occur? In the majority of cases, rear-end collisions happen because the driver in the rear is following too closely to the other driver in the accident. Because they are following too closely, they are unable to brake in time to prevent a collision.

The collision is particularly abrupt for both parties because both cars are traveling in the same direction, but the front car is traveling slower or is possibly stopped. The difference in speed effectively means that the rear car is striking a stationary object. 

Additionally, the drivers and passengers in the front car usually have no warning that they are about to be struck. Combined, this makes rear-end collisions a frightening experience for everyone involved, particularly those in the front car.

Is the Rear Car Driver Always to Blame?

Florida car accident law is relatively simple regarding a rear-end collision. Unless there are mitigating factors, the driver of the rear car is presumed to be at fault. The onus of proving innocence is on the driver of the rear vehicle if there are mitigating circumstances.

While mitigating circumstances are uncommon, they do exist. Common circumstances that may mitigate the fault of the rear car driver include:

  • Damaged rear tail lights or brake lights on the lead car
  • Reckless or illegal driving by the front car driver
  • Intentional activity by the front car driver to cause a car accident
  • Mechanical failure of the rear car

Both drivers will be assessed some portion of the blame for the collision most of the time. It is quite uncommon for a front car driver to be entirely at fault in a rear-end accident. This is usually only true when the front car driver is intentionally trying to cause an accident as part of a scam.

Rear-End Accident Scams

Because rear-end accidents include a presumption of guilt for the rear car driver, some bad actors have found ways to stage rear-end accidents to scam money out of insurance companies. 

The most common tactic is to drive so that the rear driver can’t possibly avoid an accident. Then everyone in the lead car claims a whiplash injury and demands compensation.

This behavior is illegal but common enough that drivers need to be wary about it. If you think you have been subject to this type of scam, you should speak with a car accident attorney before agreeing to any settlements.

Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents

While scams can be a problem, they aren’t the most common causes of rear-end accidents. The most common causes are:

  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Texting while driving
  • Speeding, particularly in residential areas

The common factor among these causes is that the front driver obeys traffic laws and the rear driver does not. A rear-end accident is extremely unlikely if the rear driver obeys traffic laws — even if the front driver is not. 

The best way to avoid hitting someone in a rear-end accident is to leave plenty of room while following other vehicles, avoid looking at your phone while driving, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Contact the Jacksonville Car Accident Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help

For more information, please contact the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Car Accident law firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today or give us a call at 904-396-1100.

We serve in Duval County, St, Johns County and its surrounding areas:

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256, United States

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Ponte Vedra
480 Town Plaza Ave #130,
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081, United States

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