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Is the rear driver always to blame for a rear-end crash?

Establishing who is at fault is an important part of handling the aftermath of a car crash. Police officers responding to the report of a crash often analyze the situation. The drivers involved may have already reached their own conclusions by the time a police officer arrives.

Sometimes fault for a crash is perfectly obvious. Someone failed to stop at an intersection and caused a T-bone collision with the driver who had the right of way. Other times, the fault for the crash may be less obvious.

Those involved in rear-end collisions may worry that other people might blame them for the crash. It is quite common for people to assume that the driver in the rear vehicle must be the one to blame. That is often the case. However, the driver in the front vehicle might also be to blame for the crash. The following concerns cause most rear-end collisions.


Tailgating or driving too close to the rear end of another vehicle is one of the top causes of rear-end collisions. Traffic laws require that drivers maintain an appropriate following distance in traffic. The failure to do so might make them liable for any crash that occurs.

Distracted driving

Sometimes, the person in the rear vehicle doesn’t get too close to the front vehicle intentionally. Instead, they may have their attention focused on a mobile device or someone else in the vehicle instead of on traffic conditions. Distracted drivers can easily cause rear-end collisions that leave other people hurt.

Improper turning or merging

When the driver in the front vehicle cuts another motorist off, they might be the one to blame for the crash. If they merge into another lane of traffic without leaving adequate space or turn in front of oncoming traffic, they may be liable for the crash that occurs. Ensuring that there is adequate space to turn or merge is part of driving safely.

Improper communication

Sometimes, rear-end collisions occur because drivers cannot communicate effectively with one another. If someone does not maintain their vehicle, burned-out brake lights or turn signals might cause a crash. Even if someone is diligent about maintaining their vehicle, they may not be as diligent about using their turn signals consistently. Someone who fails to indicate their intentions in traffic could cause a rear-end collision.

Determining which driver was at fault for a rear-end collision can help people if they need to pursue compensation after a crash. The unique circumstances of a collision influence who may be liable for the damages caused.


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