The experienced personal injury attorneys at Phillips Law Firm have represented innocent victims in countless of auto collision cases. We have seen a host of accident scenarios and have worked hard at determining the often complicated issue of negligence. Although difficult to establish at times, negligence in rear-end car accidents is a bit easier to identify. The bottom line is that negligence will normally lie with the tailing driver.
The Law on the Matter
Washington law presumes that the tailing driver in a rear-end collision is responsible for causing the crash. The tailing driver has the right to rebut this presumption if evidence exists to convince a court that the driver was not, in fact, negligent for the accident. However, for all practical purposes, the driver in the back of a rear-end collision will likely be deemed the party responsible for causing the crash.
The reasoning for these rules is largely based upon the principles within safe driving. Safe driving tells us that drivers should be able to stop their autos safely if the driver in front of them comes to a sudden halt. Thus, if a driver cannot stop his car in time without rear-ending the vehicle in front of him, the premise is that the tailing driver was not driving safely and he should bear the liability for the accident.
Nevertheless, we should note that, at times, the tailing driver will not bear the full liability for a rear-end collision. There are situations when the leading driver in these accidents will be comparatively negligent . For example, there are times when a tailing driver will fail to safely stop, and thereby hit a vehicle in front of him, because the leading vehicle’s brake or tail lights were out. In this situation, the leading driver would incur a certain percentage of liability for the accident; and, any potential damage award won in a case would be reduced by this percentage.
Same Rules Apply for Crashes with Multiple Vehicles
Rear-end collisions are by no means isolated to accidents involving two cars. These types of collisions can involve three, four or even more vehicles. When multiple vehicles are involved, the law still presumes that the tailing driver is responsible for causing the crash. Consider, for example, an incident where one vehicle stops at a red light. A second vehicle soon pulls behind the first and slows to a safe stop. A third vehicle, however, eventually crashes into the back of the second vehicle. This causes the second vehicle to crash into the back of the first car. Here, the third vehicle is presumed to have caused the entire accident. Again though, keep in mind that the driver of the third vehicle can attempt to rebut this presumption, if evidence is available.
Rear-End Accidents Can Cause Serious Injury
These collisions seem relatively simple in nature. But, don’t let this translate into the ideas that rear-end collisions produce only minor injuries. The truth of the matter is that these accidents can produce very severe injuries, such as:
• Head trauma;
• Back and spine injuries;
• Broken bones; and even,
• Fatal injuries.
The personal injury attorneys at Phillips Law Firm know just how severe rear-end collisions can be. If you are a victim of a rear-end crash, we also understand the pain and difficulty that you are most likely experiencing. The attorneys at our firm are here to answer your questions. They are ready to review your case. In short, we are here to provide you with justice.