Am I Always at Fault in a Rear Accident Collision?

Am I Always at Fault in a Rear Accident Collision?

A rear-end collision is a typical motor vehicle accident. No one wants to be a part of a rear-end crash, and when you are the vehicle that strikes a car ahead, you may feel stressed thinking that all of the liability for the accident may fall on you. Rear-end crashes have a reputation for being slam dunk claims or cases where the rear driver is always to blame, but that is untrue.

There are many scenarios in which a rear driver may hit the vehicle ahead but not be at fault for the accident and liable for all the damages sustained. If you are in a rear-end collision, do not just assume you are to blame. All car accidents must undergo a thorough investigation to discover how the accident occurred and who may be to blame.

Speak with a car accident attorney who can help you determine who may be liable based on the facts surrounding the accident and how much compensation you may be eligible to receive as part of a claim.

Get A Free Consultation

Table of Contents

Rear End Collisions

The argument behind insurance companies and others who may quickly assume a rear driver is at fault for a rear-end collision is that the rear driver must not have been paying attention or did not allow sufficient space between them and the vehicle ahead when on the roadways. However, that is a faulty perspective. While in many cases of rear-end crashes a rear driver engaged in negligent behaviors, may events may cause a driver to hit the vehicle ahead.

Most often, people refer to rear-end crashes as fender benders because many of these accidents occur at lower rates of speed and in heavy traffic situations. However, rear-end collisions can also occur at higher speeds, resulting in severe injuries and, in some cases, fatalities. For example, out of the over 13,000 motor vehicle accident deaths on highways in the U.S., over 2,400 fatalities happen in rear-end collisions.

How Might Another Driver Cause a Rear End Crash?

Experienced Lawyer for Car Accident in Philadelphia

When you are driving behind a vehicle on the road, anything can happen. It can feel as though you are upon the car in front of you out of nowhere and unable to stop a crash from occurring.

When you are the vehicle that strikes the car ahead, things can turn chaotic quickly. You may not be sure how the accident happened or what led to you losing control of your vehicle. There are several instances where another driver or party may have had a hand in the events leading to the accident.

Pile up Accident

Multiple vehicle crashes or pileups can occur during heavy road traffic, such as on interstates and highways. Additionally, weather and road conditions can raise the risk of these accidents. For example, if you are in a pileup accident, another driver may have hit your vehicle from behind, leading to a crash with the vehicle ahead of you.

If another car strikes you from behind with significant force and speed, you may have little control over your vehicle, even when there is sufficient space ahead. In this case, you didn’t initiate the accident but the vehicle or vehicles behind you. A car accident lawyer can help you determine what parties are liable for the crash in these chaotic accidents and how to file an insurance claim for your damages.

Brake Checking

It can happen instantly, and you may not even see it coming. If another driver intentionally slams their brakes in the middle of the roadway as you are traveling for no reason, it may lead to you striking their vehicle. Brake checking is an intentional and malicious activity that can endanger your life and others on the roads. These types of accidents can be challenging to prove, and having a lawyer can better your chances of tracking down the evidence necessary to establish the intent and actions of the driver ahead leading to the accident.


While it is not a common type of rear-end accident, a vehicle ahead reversing into your vehicle can occur. This accident is most likely to happen when a vehicle stops at a light or traffic sign, puts the car in park, and suddenly reverses erroneously, leading to the collision. However, it may also happen intentionally on the part of the driver ahead if they are angry, frustrated, and trying to cause damage and harm to you.

These accidents are unique, and when they happen, the actions and negligence of the other driver lead to the crash. If you are a victim of this situation, a car accident attorney can help you argue your claim for damages against the insurance companies or in court.

Vehicle Malfunction

We rely that our vehicles and others on the roadways operate as expected and are free from malfunctions or defects that can contribute to an accident. For example, suppose a vehicle’s malfunction led to an accident, whether through a fault of the car itself or failure of the vehicle owner to maintain and inspect the vehicle. Another party may be liable for your damages sustained in the rear-end crash.

Examples of a car’s fault that could involve a rear-end crash are when brake lights are not working or lighting up as required or when the brakes of the vehicle you are in malfunction and do not react as expected. A rear-end accident lawyer can help you look into the crash, whether a vehicle’s component may have contributed to the crash and the damages that occur.

Common Causes of Rear End Accidents

A rear-end crash caused by another driver can happen for many reasons. Determining what ultimately causes an accident and leads you to strike a vehicle in front of you is critical. It will influence what compensation is available to you, the apportionment of fault for the accident, what insurance company you must file a claim with, and whether any claims may go against your own insurance company.

Distracted Driving

Drivers who do not pay attention behind the wheel can cause an accident instantly. The rear-end crash you are in may have started with a distracted driver that hit you from behind, setting off a chain reaction that caused you to strike the vehicle ahead. Additionally, incidents such as the driver ahead suddenly changing gears into reverse can happen when a driver is not paying attention.

Road Rage

Encountering an angry driver on the roads can be terrifying and involve a series of unpredictable behaviors and actions that you may not react to in time. Road rage is a pervasive danger.

In many instances, the victim of a road rage driver may not even know what is happening or what triggered the other driver to act against them. Dangerous actions like brake checking or intentionally ramming into a vehicle in reverse can have deadly consequences on innocent victims.


Cars and trucks going beyond the speed limit or not allowing enough space between them and your vehicle can trigger a multi-vehicle crash, particularly when traveling on heavily trafficked roads such as the highway.

Speeding is dangerous, and when combined with other hazardous road conditions, such as rain, snow, or ice, it can have catastrophic consequences. If you are the victim of a rear-end crash that then strikes another car because of the excess speed another driver was moving at you, the other party may be liable for the crash and your injuries and the damages to others involved in the accident.

Injuries You May Sustain as a Victim in a Rear-End Collision

Classifying all rear-end accidents as fender benders or minor accidents is inaccurate. Rear-end crashes can be severe, and victims of these crashes can suffer serious or life-threatening injuries. Rear-end crashes can cause the airbag to deploy if a vehicle strikes the car ahead.

When the airbags go off, a driver and other occupants are susceptible to injuries from the deployment in addition to the injuries they may sustain from the force of the accident itself. For example, suppose a multi-car pileup occurs. In that case, drivers and passengers caught in the middle of two vehicles are at high risk of serious injuries as the vehicle can become trapped or crushed depending on the force and speed of the impact from the vehicle behind.

Common rear-end accident injuries can include:

  • Injuries to the face or neck
  • Back or spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Torn or strained muscles, ligaments, or tendons
  • Loss of a limb
  • Crush injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Lacerations

Damages in a Rear End Crash

The amount of compensation you may be eligible for after a rear-end car accident varies based on several factors of your case. For example, the determination of fault, the extent of your injuries, the impact of those injuries, and the available insurance coverage will all play a part in the process of filing an insurance claim for your losses.

Calculating your total maximum damages is a first step and one you should take with the help of a lawyer. Once you understand the extent of your losses due to the car accident, you can review the other factors to determine how much you can settle for as part of a claim.

Common damages in rear-end car accidents include:

  • Loss of your income
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Repair or value of your vehicle

After a Rear End Crash, Here Is What You Can Do

The scene of a crash and the immediate aftermath as you seek help from doctors for your injuries can become a blur. It is a stressful event that may leave you with serious injuries, and you could require emergency treatment, hospitalization, or intensive care.

As you come out of the daze after an accident, you want to take action quickly to protect the rights the law provides. Even if you are in a rear-end accident where you are the vehicle’s driver behind another vehicle in the crash, you may still be eligible for compensation. Following a rear-end crash, take these steps to move your claim in the right direction.

Do Not Stop Your Medical Treatment

Recovering from car accident injuries, particularly those that leave you with lasting impacts, can sometimes feel frustrating and hopeless. However, you must stay dedicated to your medical treatment and care to reach the maximum recovery possible for your health. This is optimal for your health and well-being and beneficial to your case when filing an insurance claim for damages.

Gather Any Evidence You Can

Rear-end accidents are complex. When multiple parties or unique scenarios may place blame on the driver in front of or behind you, gathering evidence and information is vital to your claim and case. Less common situations are often met with heavy scrutiny from insurance companies. Therefore, you should gather all the evidence available to you that can help support your claim.

Call a Car Accident Attorney

Gabriel Levin Lawyer for Car Accident Cases near Philadelphia
Gabriel Levin, Car Accident Attorney in Philadelphia

There is no question that as a driver of the vehicle that strikes another vehicle from behind in a rear-end crash, the insurance companies will likely try to blame you. If you are in a situation where another party may have caused the accident and damages, you will face an uphill battle to prove your claim and right to compensation.

Hiring a personal lawyer in Philadelphia can greatly benefit your case by protecting your rights and organizing and building your claim to result in a successful resolution for you.

Get A Free Consultation Today!