Attorney David J. King


Is the driver in front ever at fault for a rear-end crash?

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2023 | Car Accidents

With rare exceptions, most motor vehicle collisions are the fault of one of the drivers involved. Certain kinds of collisions lead to people assuming that a specific driver was at fault for the incident. For example, people tend to blame a semi-truck driver for a jackknife incident even though it may have been another vehicle’s sudden maneuver or a client’s poor trailer loading habits that caused them to lose control of their vehicle.

Crashes between two passenger vehicles also often lead to people jumping to conclusions about who is to blame. Rear-end incidents often come with an assumption that the driver in the rear vehicle is at fault. After all, if they had maintained an appropriate following distance, they probably could have stopped without hitting the other driver.

Yet, despite what people assume, rear-end crashes sometimes occur because of the actions of the person in the front vehicle. What traffic decisions in that the person in front is to blame for a rear-end crash?

They merge or turn too aggressively

Drivers have to balance the need to move quickly with the obligation to observe other vehicles in traffic. Sometimes, people are a bit too assertive and end up making bad decisions. Merging too close in front of another vehicle could mean that a rear-end crash is imminent.

Particularly when the merging vehicle does not maintain a speed higher than the vehicle they have merged in front of or passed, the vehicle in the rear may not be able to slow down in time without making contact. The driver who cut them off may then try to blame them for the wreck. Additionally, those coming around a corner, especially those making right-hand turns, often misjudge how much space they need. They pull out in front of oncoming traffic, and the approaching vehicle cannot stop without hitting them.

Either of those situations would make the front vehicle operator the one to blame for a rear-end collision. Statements from both drivers, information from witnesses and even video footage of the drivers’ behavior prior to the crash can help police officers and insurance companies determine who is actually to blame. Once an injury victim understands that they either aren’t at fault or are only partially to blame, they can seek legal guidance accordingly.