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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who's At-fault in Rear-end Truck Accidents in Nashville?

Rear-end collisions can be a scary and traumatic experience for all involved parties. The consequences, whether a fender-bender or a full-blown truck accident, can be devastating.

These crashes usually happen when a trailing driver hits the vehicle ahead of them. The rear driver might be responsible for the accident, but in some cases, the lead driver may share partial fault for the rear-end collision.

On top of that, the front driver in a rear-end collision can also be at fault if they fail to maintain their brake lights or engage in erratic or reckless driving behavior.

If the lead driver suddenly stops or brake checks for no reason, it can cause the following vehicle to collide with them, making both drivers potentially responsible for the accident.

Multi-vehicle accidents can also complicate determining liability for the accident. In these situations, more than one driver is accountable for the collision. A personal injury truck accident law firm is essential to help victims navigate these complex legal matters and protect their rights.

Establishing Liability in Rear-end Collisions

Establishing Liability in Rear-end Collisions

Rear-end collisions are a type of car accident in which one driver crashes into the back of another vehicle.

In most cases, the rear driver is at fault for the accident. However, establishing liability in rear-end collisions is not always straightforward and requires thorough investigation.

There are situations where the lead driver may share some of the blame. In most rear-end collisions, the rear driver is liable because they had a duty to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and failed to do so. Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for other questions like, "Who's at fault in head-on truck accidents?"

The trailing driver must adjust their vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance and avoid collisions with the other driver in front.

However, there are some situations where the lead driver's negligence could lead to a rear-end collision.

If the car in front, for example, doesn't have working brake lights, the trailing driver might be unable to track the other driver, especially in low-light conditions. In this case, the lead driver may share liability for causing the car accident.

To determine liability for the rear-end accident, investigators must assess several elements. Here are some of the factors that could impact fault in a rear-end accident:

  • Vehicle Speed

Rear-end collisions often involve the rear driver's vehicle traveling faster than the lead vehicle. The speed at which the cars were moving during the crash is essential in determining liability for the accident.

  • Adequate Space

On the other hand, the rear driver must maintain a safe stopping distance from the lead driver. If there is insufficient space, the rear driver could be at fault for rear-ending the vehicle ahead.

To prevent unintentional tailgating, the National Safety Council recommends maintaining three seconds of safe following distance from the other driver.

  • Brake Checking

One of the most dangerous things motorists do in a fit of road rage is brake checking. This is when the front driver intentionally slams the brakes, usually forcing the following vehicle to swerve out of the lane.

While the defendant may disagree with such accusations in a personal injury claim, a qualified car accident lawyer can help prove fault. An attorney can investigate the traffic camera footage and cross-check the accident report for evidence against the at-fault driver.

Brake checking is illegal in many states nationwide, with hefty fines and penalties allocated for those at fault.

This dangerous act can also cause severe injuries to the drivers in the vehicles involved in the rear-end collision. Fault proven in such an accident claim can also decrease the payout.

Common Causes of Rear-end Accidents in Nashville

Rear-end crashes are one of the most common car accidents in Nashville. They can happen anywhere, at any time, and to anyone, regardless of how skilled or experienced the driver is. There could be a multitude of reasons that lead to a rear-end accident.

The Washington Post reports over 1.7 million rear-end collisions in the US annually, making them a significant public safety concern.

While rear-end accidents can happen with any vehicle, they are more likely to involve small cars and large commercial trucks, causing serious injury to passengers.

  • Driving Negligently

Making improper lane changes, not using turn signals, failing to yield the right of way, and distracted driving are some of the most common reasons for rear-end accidents.

Negligence contributes significantly to such a crash. When motorists fail to drive responsibly and carefully, they risk themselves and others on the road.

  • External Factors

Bad road conditions, inclement weather, poor lighting, and unclear visibility can also contribute to a rear-end collision in Nashville.

  • Distracted Driving

On the other hand, driving under the influence (DUI) or even using a cell phone while operating a car can cause rear-end accidents. Following too closely and failing to maintain an adequate distance between vehicles is another factor that can lead to a fault in a rear-end collision.

  • Busy Highways

Truck accidents are a significant cause of rear-end collisions. The size of these vehicles can amplify the impact of a car accident, resulting in multiple fatalities.

Small cars with broken brake lights are usually rear-ended by large trucks on dimly lit roads. Even a slight mistake by the truck driver can lead to disastrous consequences.

Determining liability in a rear-end collision can be challenging and often requires the involvement of a personal injury lawyer.

Attorneys specializing in car accidents can help claimants navigate the claims process and help them get the compensation they deserve. Traffic camera footage and accident reports can also help determine the fault in a rear-end car accident.

The Concept of Contributory Negligence Vs. Comparative Negligence in a Rear-end Collision

In cases of rear-end collisions, determining fault is crucial in awarding compensation to the injured party. Contributory and comparative negligence are the two main frameworks for establishing liability in a rear-end crash.

Victims need to understand the differences between these two concepts, as they can greatly impact the outcome of their personal injury claim.

  1. Contributory Negligence

In states that follow the principle of contributory negligence, if driver A can show that driver B rear-ended, the plaintiff will not be able to receive any compensation.

Under this legal doctrine, even being 1% at fault bars the claimant from recovering settlement, regardless of who was more liable for the rear-end collision.

  1. Comparative Negligence

On the other hand, comparative negligence is a more widely used concept. The court award is allocated according to the percentage of fault assigned to each driver in a rear-end collision under this legal doctrine.

Comparative negligence also has two other variations:

  • Pure comparative negligence

  • Modified comparative negligence

In states that follow pure comparative negligence, the fault in a rear-end crash is divided according to the liability percentage of the at-fault driver(s).

This means that if the lead driver is 30% responsible for the accident, with $10,000 in personal injury damages, they can only recover $7,000 from the settlement. The concept provides a fairer system considering each driver's fault in a rear-end collision.

On the other hand, for modified comparative negligence, the percentage of fault is divided only up to a certain limit. If a plaintiff somehow exceeds their fault in a rear-end collision, they will be barred from recovering damages entirely. Most states set the limit to 51%.

As a result, if driver A is less than 51% at fault for the accident, they can secure compensation from driver B.

Can the Lead Driver Be At-fault in a Rear-end Collision?

A rear-end collision, also known as a rear-end crash, happens when a trailing vehicle collides with the back of the car ahead of it.

When determining liability in such an accident, most assume the fault is with the rear driver. However, the lead motorist in a rear-end collision is also liable in some circumstances.

If the lead vehicle brake-checks the trailing car or suddenly stops or turns without signaling or yielding the right of way, they may be at fault for the crash. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or distracted driving while using a cell phone, are also common factors in rear-end collisions.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is often the best way to handle such cases, especially if they involve multi-vehicle accidents. They can also answer questions like, "Who's at fault in truck tire blowouts?"

When Is the Rear-driver Not Liable for the Rear-end Accident?

If the rear vehicle can prove that the crash was due to the lead driver's negligence, such as distracted driving, failing to use turn signals, or failing to yield the right of way, they may not be entirely at fault for the accident.

Other elements contributing to a rear-end collision include bad road conditions, inclement weather, and poor lighting. Jaywalking pedestrians or wild animals can also cause a driver to lose control of the steering wheel.

The Sudden-emergency Doctrine

This legal defense is used by no-fault drivers involved in a rear-end collision. Essentially, the sudden-emergency doctrine holds that the rear driver faced an unexpected hazard, such as the lead vehicle suddenly swerving, and was not liable or at fault for the crash.

To use the sudden-emergency doctrine successfully as a defense, the driver of the rear vehicle must be able to demonstrate that they acted reasonably under the circumstances.

If the lead driver suddenly swerved into their lane, the rear driver may argue that they did everything possible to avoid a collision, including swerving themselves or slamming on their brakes.

However, it's worth noting that the sudden-emergency doctrine is not a catch-all defense for all rear-end crashes. A driver following too closely, distracted by their cell phone, or ignoring the road may still be at fault for the accident.

Common Injuries in Most Rear-end Accidents

Rear-end crashes are, unfortunately, quite common on the road. Many drivers consider these types of accidents minor and falsely assume they won't cause serious injuries. However, this is not the case, as rear-end car accidents can result in many injuries.

  • Whiplash

One of the most common injuries in a rear-end car accident is whiplash. This happens when the driver's neck jerks back and forth from the impact of the collision. Whiplash can cause various issues, including shoulder pain, headaches, and difficulty moving the neck.

  • Broken Bones and Fractures

These are often the result of the high impact of the collision. Depending on the severity of the accident, a driver may suffer broken bones in their arms, legs, and rib cage.

  • Brain Injuries

If a driver's head hits the steering wheel or windshield during a rear-end accident, they may suffer from brain injury. These injuries range from mild concussions to more severe damages, leading to paralysis or death.

  • Spinal Cord Injuries

This can happen when the accident's impact compresses the spinal cord or damages the vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries can be life-altering, resulting in paralysis and other complications that require long-term medical care.

Seeking Financial Compensation for a Rear-end Collision

Seeking Financial Compensation for a Rear-end Collision

After a rear-end collision, there are a few steps that victims should take to protect their rights and secure maximum compensation.

First and foremost, plaintiffs need to seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident. Even if they don't feel hurt, they should still get checked out by a doctor to rule out hidden injuries such as sprains, fractures, or concussions.

Victims should file a police report and get traffic camera footage to document what happened and who was at fault for the crash.

Additionally, it's wise to consult with a personal injury attorney who can investigate their case, negotiate with the insurance company, and fight for their rights to fair compensation.

Most reputable lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss such cases and explain the legal options available.

By working with an attorney, plaintiffs can recover both economic damages (such as medical bills and lost wages) and non-economic damages (including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and grief) that they have suffered due to the accident.

Final Words

Rear-end collisions can cause a lot of damage and trauma, both physically and psychologically. The sudden impact can lead to sprains, broken bones, and in severe cases, even fatalities.

However, regardless of the extent of the damage, it can be challenging to determine fault in a rear-end collision. In some cases, the driver in the rear vehicle is automatically considered liable for the accident. However, this is not always true.

The lead vehicle can also be at fault for the crash, especially if the driver fails to turn signals in time.

An attorney specializing in personal injury claims can help victims navigate the legal battle and fight for their rights, particularly when dealing with large insurance companies that disagree on the extent of their losses.

With "We Go to War for You" as its catchphrase, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help victims recover the compensation they deserve for their injuries and financial losses.


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