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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident? What to Know

Rear-end collisions are actually the most common types of car accidents in the state and can result in a personal injury. Typically, a rear-end collision occurs when someone hits another person from behind. They could then deal with whiplash, scrapes, cuts, low-back injuries, bruises, and severe vehicle damage.


Typically, this happens when a rear driver is tailgating (following too closely), which is illegal in Tennessee. Therefore, one driver hits another from behind, causing a motor vehicle accident. In this situation, it's often the rear driver's fault. Overall, the driver in front could sue them for damages in a personal injury lawsuit, but there are exceptions here.


It's often difficult to recover damages without the help of the best car accident lawyers in Nashville. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys goes to war for Nash and can help rear-end collision victims get the compensation they deserve.


Tennessee Law and Rear-end Collisions

Tennessee Law and Rear-end Collisions


Tennessee law says that following too closely (often called tailgating) is illegal. Therefore, if the rear driver was following too closely and crashed into the victim, they are usually considered at fault.


There are many complexities in proving fault, especially if the victim didn't have uninsured motorist coverage. Overall, it's wise to speak with a Tennessee car accident personal injury lawyer to get assistance. They can also advise on who is at fault in a t-bone car accident TN.


What Does "Don't Follow Closely" Mean?


Laws against following closely must have a cutoff of what is too close. Drivers can't use measuring tapes to be sure they're exactly 5 feet away. Likewise, when people travel at low speeds, they don't need as much space to stop and can stay somewhat closer to the vehicle in front than at high speeds.


Therefore, the law just says that people cannot be closer than what is prudent and reasonable. The text of this statute indicates that drivers should factor in the speed of traffic, the car's speed, and the road conditions at the time. In a sense, the facts of each car accident case must be judged by police officers, the court system, the insurance company, and everyone else involved.


Safety experts will likely vary in their recommendations of "too close." Overall, a driver who cannot stop safely in the distance available is too close. This often leads to rear-end accidents, though it's not the only time they occur.


Tailgating Penalties


According to subsection E of the statute, tailgating, which leads to rear-end accidents, is a class C misdemeanor. Though it sounds severe, this is a common offense level for traffic violations and results in a 30-day jail sentence or a $50 fine.


Who's at Fault for a Rear-end Collision in Tennessee?


The law says it's illegal to tailgate, so crashes involving this are often the rear driver's fault. However, complex scenarios can come up, so a rear-end collision could have a different court outcome.

These include:


Other Driver Backs Up

If one driver is backing up and crashes into the victim, the victim is technically the rear driver. The court could claim that the victim had been following too closely, though these crashes often happen when that framework doesn't make sense, and the tailgating law doesn't apply.


For example, driver B is at a red light, and driver A is in front. Driver A realizes they're in the intersection, so they back up and run into driver B. Overall, driver A is responsible for the car accident that ensues.

Let's say a car pulls out of the parking space, but another vehicle is stopped in the lot. The one pulling out is at fault. Even if the other driver were moving, one who suddenly backs into them would usually be at fault because they're supposed to yield when reversing.


"Brake Check" Accidents

Drivers might stop suddenly or tap the brakes to scare rear drivers or force them into rear-end accidents. Tennessee accident law makes it illegal to recklessly or intentionally cause an auto accident.


If the car ahead is showing its brake lights erratically, the rear driver should try to avoid a collision. However, that's often impossible. Overall, it's up to the jury or judge to determine if the brake check was justifiable or intentional. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also go over who is at fault in an intersection car accident TN.


Emergency Stops

Tailgating laws exist to put space between the cars and ensure that everyone has room to stop during an emergency. If the front driver must perform a sudden stop because a child ran into the street, they need the space to do that. If the rear driver didn't give themselves enough room to stop, they might be at fault for causing the auto accident.


The rule only applies if the front driver had a good reason for stopping and was reasonable when slamming on the brakes. Reasonable justification for sudden stops can include people and animals entering the roadway, obstructions behind blind corners, and other hidden dangers.


Therefore, if the front driver decided to reduce their speed or didn't see a stop sign in time, leading to a rear-end collision, they could be held responsible.


Being Cut Off

Let's say a driver pulls out in front of another, and the space available is too small. If the victim hits them, the first driver was responsible for the rear-end collision and would likely be at fault. They didn't have enough space, which is a violation of Code 55-8-130 or 55-8-128, which requires drivers to yield as they enter the roadway. Typically, courts will side with the driver who followed the rules of the road.


Call a Reputable Law Firm After a Rear-end Accident

Call a Reputable Law Firm After a Rear-end Accident


After being rear-ended, it's often difficult to know what to do. The victim is upset and might have suffered a personal injury. Therefore, they have medical bills, lost wages, and other financial hardships to bear.


Overall, victims need legal representation from an experienced car accident attorney. These professionals understand the complexities of rear-end collisions and can gather evidence, such as the police report and medical reports. Likewise, they are familiar with the modified comparative fault rule and how it applies in rear-end collisions.


Please contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys or fill out the online form to request a free consultation today!


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