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Placing the blame entirely on one driver after a car crash isn’t always straight forward. However, there are situations when the facts surrounding an accident almost always determine who is at fault. One such scenario is rear ending someone. The law assumes that when you rear end a car, it is virtually almost your fault, irrespective of the reason the car in front stopped.
In essence, you are supposed to keep a clear distance between your vehicle and anything in front of you. In so doing, you can stop safely if the car ahead of you grinds to a halt. It means, therefore that you can get sued if you rear end someone. The law assumes that at the time of the accident, you were not driving cautiously as required under the circumstances. Below is a comprehensive look at rear end accidents and what you should do if you get sued.
Why is It Easy to Determine Fault in a Rear End Accident?
In rear-end crashes, the vehicle damage “can tell the tale.” If you car gets damaged on the front end and the other vehicle at the rear, it’s easy to determine what was the most probable series of events.
What If a Vehicle Other Than Yours Causes the Rear End Accident?
Picture this; you stop at a red light or stop sign promptly, but a third car hits you from behind. Consequently, you hit the car in front of you. What happens when a rear end accident involves multiple vehicles? In that kind of “chain reaction” crash, the driver of the third car is legally responsible for the collision.
Can I Still Get Sued Even When a Third Car Is Involved?
Yes, you can still get sued under the theory of Joint and Several Liability even when you’re not to blame for the accident. Under this theory, the winning plaintiff may collect the entire amount from one motorist or any and all parties involved in the crash until the judgment amount gets fully paid. In other words, if the third driver does not have enough money or assets to pay an equal share of the award, you may be compelled to pay the difference. Under the theory, the law assumes that you are jointly liable for the losses suffered by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the theory of Joint and Several Liability is not applicable in some states.
Are There Situations When I Cannot Get Sued Even After Rear-Ending Someone?
Yes. Rear end accidents are subject to the assured clear distance ahead (ACDA) rule. The law requires that you maintain an assured clear distance between your vehicle and anything in front of you. But, what if someone cuts in front of you from a side street and doesn’t leave you room to stop? Or, what if a vehicle merges into your lane abruptly without maintaining enough speed? In such situations, you can cause rear end collision, but you, the rear car, will not be held legally responsible as long as you were not speeding or violating traffic rules.
The abrupt, unanticipated entrance of another vehicle, pedestrian or object into your rightful lane provide one the most common situation when you cannot get sued for rear end collision.
Are There Situations When The Front Driver May Be at Fault?
Despite the vehicle damage in a rear accident “telling the tale”, there are scenarios when the driver of the front vehicle may be at fault for the collision. For instance, when the motorist in front of you stops at a red light or stop sign but he or she accidentally puts the car in reverse gear and hits you. If you’re ever caught up in such a situation, be sure to collect enough evidence, preferably from an eye witness because the motorist may lie and point an accusing finger at you.
How Much Is My Rear End Collision Suit Worth?
Rear end collision settlement amounts are determined by the damages the driver in front of you incurred. While there is no particular formula of reaching the settlement amount, the following facts will have a hand to play in your claim’s worth:
- Economic damages caused such as medical bills, care costs, and other definitive financial loss
- Lost and anticipated income
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering the driver in front of you sustained. These usually range from 1.5 to 5 times the amount of economic damage.
Here’s how the formula works. Assume you rear-ended Kate and her medical bills totaled to $500. She didn’t suffer serious injuries so the negotiations for non-economic damages may start with a figure between $750 and $2,500 (1.5 to 5 times of economic damages). The agreed compensation amount is then added to lost wages based on the number of days Kate missed work.
Should I Contact A Lawyer If I Get Sued for Rear Ending Someone?
If you get sued for a rear end collision, contact a car accident in your area straight away for a free consultation session. As stated, it is not always that you will be at fault for rear-ending someone, and having a lawyer on your side will be useful. Besides, the attorney will ensure that the agreed settlement amount is proportionate to the damage caused.